Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), has said some survivors of the brutality by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) told him of how human parts were harvested and sold at the dreaded Awkuzu station in Anambra State.
He said this in an interview published by The Punch on Sunday.
“The majority of the victims who were lucky to come out alive or their relatives alleged that Awkuzu SARS harvested and sold the body parts of some people they executed. This needs to be properly investigated to ascertain its veracity or otherwise. One notorious man ran a human ‘abbatoir’ at Awkuzu SARS where lives were willfully terminated. He denied detainees access to anybody and disregarded court orders. His activities, including his connection with politicians and notable businessmen in Anambra State should be investigated,” he said.
“It was as far back as 2005 or 2006, when I went to Anambra State to do research on the patterns and prevalence of police abuse in my advocacy for police reforms that I came about specific cases. It has maintained that notoriety (Awkuzu SARS) and that particular commander spent several years in that same unit. What you would find is that in most places, officers like that are usually kept for so long because they work not just for law enforcement but also for people in government and businessmen.
“There is one area we need to further investigate: Every single person I have interviewed who passed through Awkuzu SARS spoke about the sale of human parts. I know that this is something difficult to prove, even though they all say it. And they described a particular man called Doctor, who always came in a white robe any time somebody was shot at the back of the torture chamber. What he came to do, they did not know. So, that gave them the impression that the man was coming to harvest human parts but that needs to be investigated.”
Nwanguma also described gory torture regimes at the Awkuzu den.
“The most prominent was tying the two hands and legs of the victims behind their backs and hanging them from a ceiling fan with their victims’ chests protruding. They would leave them for hours, flog them, administer electric shock and use fire, hot objects and machetes on them.
“Sometimes, they (SARS officers) would also insert broomsticks into their genitals, for males; and for females, they would use bottles. Sometimes, also, when they wanted to execute, without shooting them, they would use a trampoline to cover their face so that they would suffocate. So, these were the usual methods that we heard from the people we interviewed,” he said.
Awkuzu SARS became popular among #EndSARS protesters after it was alleged that one James Nwafor, who was head of the Awkuzu unit, killed scores of arrested persons and dumped their bodies in Ezu river.