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Demolition: Pupil, staff testify of police brutality

04 March 2015, 12:10Wando Sombo

Abuja - The Management of the Frontliners Academy Jikwoyi in Abuja has accused the police of 'wild brutality' on its pupils and staff while supervising the demolishing of its school buildings.

A pupil and a staff member from the school made the allegation when they testified before the panel of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday.

The pupil, whose identity was shielded, said the police manhandled several pupils and staff when they supervised the demolishing their school.

The testimonies came at the hearing of petition against acclaimed illegal demolition of buildings in the North-Central zone by the commission.

The three-man panel is said to be headed by the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.

The pupil told the panel that the police came into the classrooms and flogged the pupils and chased them out.

"They did not allow us to carry our books even when I tried to enter the class to get my schoolbag, I was flogged severally,’’ the pupil said.

Hope Ernest, a teacher, said she saw the police flogging the pupils with horsewhip.

"In my attempt to protect the pupils, I was punished and asked to do a military frog jump for about 10 minutes.

"There was widespread brutality meted on the students and some of my colleagues and this sent shock to others who stood and watch their school buildings go down," Ernest testified.

Also read: Teacher hangs herself in class, found by students

In addition, Usman Ocholi, a parent, told the panel that he immediately rushed to evacuate his children when the news of police highhandedness was relayed to him.

"While at the premises of the school I overheard some of the police saying that the proprietor of the school brought the incident against the school.

"They said the management of the school had refused to pay the sum of three million naira for encroachment.

"My child was not initially found as he had run for safety," Ocholi said.

Maxwell Okpara, Counsel to the petitioners, said that the testimonies from the complainants were in line with their statement.

On his part, Mr Lough Simon, Counsel to the police, also crossed examined the witnesses.

The Head of the panel, Odinkalu instructed the counsel to file all necessary processes to enable quick dispensation of the case.

One of the witnesses was, however, disqualified for inconsistency of what she had earlier deposed to and what she swore on oath.

The case was adjourned till March 20 for further hearing.



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