Nyesom Wike keeps shouting about the excesses of men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, in Port Harcourt, led by Akin Fakorede. Whenever he groans and screams about SARS operatives in the state, he would be scorned and pilloried. Those in the opposition would say he is merely ranting like a drowning man.
Wike has not tasted of the venom of the SARS men. But in his position as chief executive and the presumed chief security officer of the state, he his privileged to get reports on the activities of the men in black, a good number of who feel on top of the world, especially when they are with the gun.
If Wike has not been face to face with them when they desire to spill blood, Mr Daniel Nwachukwu, Mr Princewill Nwankwoala and his blood brother, Oscar Nwankwoala are living witnesses to how brutal and blood thirsty the SARS men can be. The trio had a bitter experience in the hands one of the SARS operatives, Mr Mark Gberekanu. If you call it divine intervention, you may just not be wrong. Gberekanu, according to Nwachukwu and Nwankwoala, was hungry for blood that night on May 6. His plan was to execute them like condemned criminals.
Nwankwoala narrated his experiences to TNN this way: “It all started around 5:30pm on 6th of May 2018 at Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) Etche Unit at their road block which is within their unit, opposite Better Life Market, beside Anglican Church and Community Secondary School in Ulakwo 2 Etched LGA Rivers State, when a SARS personnel by name Mark B Gberekanu stopped our car and asked us to go back. The next thing was, he came barking and shouting at us that we called him a stupid man; the next action from him was he started punching the driver(Nwachukwu) with a big stick that has a sharp end severally. As if he was not satisfied, he cocked his gun and started punching the driver again with the gun and also his car. Because I was not comfortable with the way he was using a cocked gun, so I came out. That's when he now asked the driver to come, with the threat of shooting at him, of which he fulfilled by shooting at his legs repeatedly three times, when he told him that he will show him that there's a bullet in the gun he's carrying. But the driver escaped the bullets by jumping three times. He was not satisfied with it so he started hitting the driver with a cocked gun so his magazine got bad that made him angry the more he started beating him with that same big stick he was holding. While he was beating him, his junior colleagues came in, looking intoxicated and he lied to them that the driver dragged his riffle with him on the process he broke his magazine. Immediately, they started beating him again hitting him with big sticks, without considering whether the sticks were too heavy for him. After they got tired of beating him, one of them who had human feelings that saw how his colleagues beat him up came and asked him(Nwachukwu) to tell him what transpired between them. When he started explaining to him that he(Gberekanu) shot at his legs three times without knowing that the person he is explaining to was a junior to the man (Gberekanu), he got angry again and said since he(Nwachukwu)is saying that he shot him, that he is ready to shoot him now and he asked us to encounter a dark room so that if he shoots us, it will not be in the eyes of the public. That was when we realized that he is under the influence of a substance. So Nwachukwu shouted that his wife was from Ogoni because we noticed his accent. Before then, he was trying to fix the magazine into the rifle but could not have a firm grip. Each time he did that, the magazine would fall off for three times so upon hearing that he has been beating his in-law, we started begging him; that was when asked us to come out, and then he started telling us that next time, we should not challenge a police man on the road because you wouldn't know the one that is mad that can shoot at us.
While he was talking, one of his colleagues came with a girl and he told him that he also wanted to start his own beating, but he told him not to worry, that we have suffered enough. When we went to see the SARS commander who later invited him over, he lied again, that there was a robbery incident and after that our car was the first car to pass, but he never mentioned that he gave us the beating of our life. Even his colleagues that came with him, their own statement was not consistent with his own. After that, the commander referred us to the OC intelligence, Auta Yakubu.”
Nwachukwu has already reported the torture to the state commissioner of police. In a letter which his lawyer, N.O Akporuvweku, Nwachukwu sent to the police boss, he said the plan of the SARS operative was to execute him.
He said in part: “We have been consulted and our services retained by Mr Daniel Nwachukwu of (Veliz integrated services ) No 60 Prince Ogele Street, Rumunduru, Rivers State Port Harcourt (Herein referred to as our client) and on whose firm instruction we now write and complain to you as follows:
* That our client on the 6th of May 2018 was on his way from work with two other of his colleagues, one Mr Princewill Nwankwoala and Mr Oscar Nwankwoala in our client's Toyota Camrey car with registration no KE 732-EKY Lagos, and were stopped along the Etche road by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (herein referred to as SARS) on a supposedly routine stop and search check point.
* That our client told us and we verily believe him, that he was asked to pull over by the SARS men (with particular reference to Mr Mark Gberekanu), which our client did with all sense of responsibility and condor which every law abiding citizen is expected to portray at such occasion however unlawful.
* That our client was approached by the said Mr Mark Gberekanu and without any atom of provocation, instructed our client and his colleague to disembark from the vehicle as he thinks that he was being insulted by occupants in the car. Immediately, Mr Mark Gberekanu in the clear view of other members of his squad started using the butt of his gun to hit our client and his colleagues so severely, with all intention to cause serious bodily harm on all of them. Our client and his colleagues continued to beg for their lives from the trigger happy SARS operative who refused to listen.
* That our client informed us, that the storm did not calm down, as the overzealous and trigger happy SARS operative Mr Mark Gberekanu activated his AK47 assault rifle and fired missed shot at the feet of our client with clear intention to cripple his two legs, which our client managed to dodge by the grace of God.
* You may wish to be informed sir, that the event took a different turn when Mr Mark Gberekanu in the presence of other men (who were obviously in consent) in the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) led our client and his colleagues to a dark room somewhere around the check point on the ground that he is going to have them executed in a firing squad as he thinks the lives of our client and his colleagues has no meaning to him.
* Our brief reveals that, true to his intention to execute our client and his colleagues, Mr Mark Gberekanu pointed his Ak47 assault rifle at our client who now saw death steering at him, as he could see his end. Fortunately, our client managed again to take cover behind one of the SARS operative who was witnessing these illegality being perpetrated by Mr Mark Gberekanu.
* Like birds of the same feathers, the said SARS operative (who can also be identified) pushed our client away, like the proverbial illustration that says 'to your tent oh Israel'. Our client in his final words that probably halted the execution, was when he shouted on noticing that the SARS operative is an Ogoni man, “I am married to an Ogoni Woman ooooo, my wife is Ogoni oooo”.
* You are invited to note sir, that our client suffered great inhuman treatment in the hands of these SARs operatives which is against his fundamental human right as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended. This goes to corroborate some of the illegal activities orchestrated by some members of the Special Anti Robbery Squad.
We hereby on behalf of our client implore you to use your good office to carry out a thorough investigation of this petition and bring justice to our client. We have confidence in your professionalism and impartiality towards meeting the objective good governance.”
TNN learnt that investigations have already commenced, just as the victims keep thanking God for the shocking escape. To them, it was a return from the land of the death. They are waiting to see how the police will handle the case.