The 10th December is the International Human Rights Day 2014, and the campaign to End Torture. Sadly, even as this is happening, many victims and families are suffering from wicked acts of torture; one of these is Femi Bello’s family.
The following account, details the story of the extra-judicial murder of Femi Bello by the Nigerian Police.
Femi Bello is a 300 level student of Economics in Kaduna State University. Femi Bello had just finished his 2nd Semester exams with the hope of proceeding to his final year and graduating. Femi Bello looked forward to supporting his mum, who had just lost her husband some months earlier, after a protracted illness.
An enterprising young man, Femi Bello had secured a contract 2 customize some T-Shirts 4 a party being organized in his school. Femi Bello travelled to Abuja on Thursday 4th December 2014 to carry out the job at the popular UTC shopping complex
Femi went home 2 inform his mum of the contract and 2 notify her that he’d be going to Area 10 where UTC complex is located. Femi’s mum was not home so he left a message 4 her with a chicken he bought 4 her and a pair of shoes for his younger brother. Femi Bello went 2 UTC shopping complex 2 deliver the Tee-Shirts to Jerry the printer and decided to visit a friend at Mararaba.
While sitting outside the friend’s house in Mararaba at about 4 pm, about 8 armed policemen came and took them to police station.
Femi Bello’s mum and siblings waited for him the whole day, unaware of his arrest, worried that his phone was switched off.
Femi Bello’s family eventually got some information on the evening of Sunday 7th December, of his arrest and detention. Femi Bello’s brother went to the Police station to confirm Femi’s arrest story and the Police officers confirmed his arrest. The officers advised him 2 come back the next day before 10 am as Femi’s case was being transferred to the State CID at Lafia.
He requested to see Femi but this request was turned down…he saw shoes and other effects he knew belonged to his brother. The next day, he went in company of a lawyer, to the station with the hope of securing Femi’s release or getting more info. When the lawyer got 2 the counter as is the practice, and asked to see Femi, he was first told that Femi was not in the cell.
He was referred to the crime office, where he met one Adamu who directed him to see the DPO, one SP John Omege. The DPO in a very dramatic manner, informed Barr. Napon that Femi was dead in the most nonchalant vernacular “him don die”
Biodun, Femi’s brother unable to bear the news broke down in uncontrollable tears. her informed the lawyer that Femi Bello had confessed to owning a gun kept somewhere in Bwari. According to the DPO while they were taking Femi Bello to locate the gun, Femi jumped out of the moving van with handcuffs on. The DPO said Femi was immediately rushed to a private hospital, where he was confirmed dead.
When the news was broken 2 his family, they found it hard to believe because #Femi was generally regarded as a gentle soul. No one believed Femi Bello could hurt a fly and saw no reason why Femi would have a gun. Femi was also described as a very studious person who was hoping to come out with a minimum of Second Class Upper at the end.
The next day the Lawyer in company of members of the family went back to the Police seeking to see the body for identification. DPO said it was beyond his powers the case was being transferred 2 the State CID & advised them to direct their request there.
DPO showed a picture of the corpse which family members confirmed bore a resemblance of Femi but still expressed some doubts. The family immediately wrote to the state COMPOL requesting a report of the circumstances leading to the death of Femi. On arrival at Lafia, they sought to see the OC of the State CID, ACP Tarfa, but his aides would not let them. They were directed to the OC SARS one Cletus who pointedly told them they could neither see nor secure the release of the body. Contrary to the DPO’s story, Cletus informed them that Femi was killed during a gun battle between the robbers and police.
Femi’s mum has been informed of the death of her son, leaving her broken and devastated. Femi’s family believes that he was arrested on suspicions and was tortured to death while trying to secure a confession.
Femi Bello’s family fears are based on the contradictions in the stories of his death as told by the DPO and the OC SARS. They are also suspicious that the determined and persistent refusal of the Police to permit the family to sight the corpse is suggestive of a grand design to cover up the extra-judicial killing of Femi Bello
The family is distraught, helpless and seeking justice for their son who they believe was cut in his prime by the Police
The family of Femi Bello wants everyone to join them in ensuring that those behind his killing are identified.