A civil society organisation, the Sterling Centre For Law and Development has urged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police, to direct immediate prosecution of the suspects involved in the torture of Patrick Okachi in the appropriate court.

According to a press statement issued by the Communications Officer, Adaobi Iyiegbu on behalf of the Executive Director of the Organisation, Deji Ajare, there may already be surreptitious moves by some powerful persons to stall, stop or avoid the prosecution of the perpetrators of such dastardly act.

Ajare said that on the 3rd of November 2022, Patrick Okachi who works as a cleaner at Statement Hotel in Abuja was at work carrying out his normal duties when he was summoned by the Secretary of the hotel, Celina Okafor who accused him of stealing an undisclosed amount of money from the office of the Chairman the previous day, claiming that he was caught on CCTV camera.

It was gathered that Okachi denied this allegation and demanded to see the CCTV footage, which was not shown to him.

Ajare said: “Instead of taking the lawful route, to investigate and verify her suspicion, the hotel secretary decided to take the route of infamy, by contacting one Festus who arranged for two rogue officials of the Department of Security Service (DSS) to come into the office, pick Patrick up and torture him by beating him severely with all kinds of weapons. They went further to insert sharp objects in the penis, all in a bid to make him agree that he committed the theft. They then took Patrick to another location in Dawaki where they kept him for two days. When it was clear that Patrick was not going to confess to the crime he did not commit, the men took Patrick out and dumped him on the streets of Abuja. This brutality was reported to the Central Police Station at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja and an investigation has been launched into the matter.”

Ajare noted that while Sterling Centre For Law and Development, believed that the Central Police Division (Federal Secretariat Police Division) of the FCT Police Command has had time to investigate the matter and to charge the perpetrators before a competent court, “we are also satisfied thus far with the conduct of the station headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Abdullahi Alhassan in the investigations. However, Sterling Law Centre is concerned as we cannot rationalise the delay of the FCT Police to prosecute the perpetrators for torture, assault and acts of violence, while the police, virtually on a daily basis, arrest and charge others to court for those types of crimes, as we are convinced that Celina Okafor’s conduct alongside those of her collaborators, is a criminal one under the provisions of the Penal Code, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015.”

Ajare also said: “We suspect strongly, that there may be surreptitious moves by some powerful persons to stall, stop or avoid the prosecution of the perpetrators of such dastardly act against our client, as similar efforts have been made to intimidate, coerce and induce our client to abandon his quest for justice. Sterling Law Centre is therefore calling on the Commissioner of Police, FCT to direct immediate prosecution of the suspects in the appropriate court while also reaching out to the Director-General of the DSS to offer all necessary cooperation to the Police in order to fish out the rogue officers who carried out this dastardly act. We appeal to the Police authorities to ensure that any and all attempts at influencing the investigation and prosecution of the suspects are rejected. We also call on all relevant agencies such as the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Committee Against Torture, civil society organisation, and media amongst others to lend their voices and support in their different capacities to ensure that Patrick gets justice. The Sterling Centre For Law and Development is also notifying the general public that a suit will be filed against all concerned parties to ensure the enforcement of Patrick Okachi’s fundamental human rights.”

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