Five operatives of SARS have been found guilty with a High Court for the killing of two young undergraduates in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
A high Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has found a five-man patrol team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, also known as SARS, guilty of extrajudicial killing of two friends.
The SARS operatives were led by one Samuel Chigbu while the victims of extrajudicial killing were Michael Akor and Michael Igwe in Oyigbo Municipality Area of the State.
Michael Akor (28) and his friend, Michael Igwe, were thought to have been arrested while going about their businesses on June 22, 2009 by the security agents, who eventually killed them in a bush in Oyigbo the next day.
Aside from finding the SARS operatives guilty, the court ordered the Nigeria Police to pay a N50 million compensation to the families of the victims.
The judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, gave the order within an enforcement of fundamental human rights suit that was brought prior to the court, even while he asserted that ASP Chigbu and his men intentionally killed the two men.
Justice Enebeli noted that no investigation or trial was completed by the security agents before shooting and killing the two young graduates, adding that their action was contrary to some sections of the Constitution.
Explaining that the alibi that the deceased were hit by bullets during a crossfire between the police and several hoodlums weren’t substantiated, the judge insisted that it had been not a coincidence that both victims were shot at the same part of their bodies.
The judge added that victims of extrajudicial killing died at Briathwaite Memorial Hospital and buried at the same place and at a similar time.
He specifically said that SARS in the state had acquired the notoriety of extra-judicial killings, adding that this was destroying the image of the State Police Command.
It will be recalled that Chigbu and four other erring SARS operatives had since been dismissed from the authorities Force following the incident.
The five SARS operatives are also standing trial for murder and extra-judicial execution before Justice Margaret Opara of the State High Court in Port Harcourt.
Speaking following the judgement, the counsel for the late victims, Mr. Johnson Ejekwu, maintained a death sentenced for the offending SARS operatives could have been much better than a N50 million compensation.
Ejekwu, but thanked the court for the ruling, even as he suggested that relevant authorities should intervene and help stop the extrajudicial killings by men of SARS in Rivers State.
However the mother of 1 of the deceased, Mrs. Catherine Akor, lamented that no amount of compensation would recreate her son.
She added that the murder of her son had also caused her spouse memory loss, adding that her husband was currently experiencing a terrible health as a result of SARS operatives’ action.