The family of a police sergeant, Dul Kate Maxwell, who allegedly died mysteriously in custody in 2019 may get justice if moves taken by the #EndSARS panel investigating cases of police brutality in Abuja is anything to go by.
The panel asked the police legal team to produce police officers named in connection to the death of their own colleague, Maxwell.
The officers of interest, according to the panel, include the Divisional Police Officer of Denton Police Division, Lagos State, the officer in charge of the defunct Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos State, and the second in command of the Lagos State SARS.
The Suleiman Galadima-led #EndSARS panel in Abuja ordered that the legal team should either produce the officers on December 1 or provide relevant information about the “mysterious death” of the deceased.
Maxwell died in February 2019. According to Mr. Maxwell’s uncle, Ndam Tokbe, who testified before the panel on Thursday, he received a call from a station officer of ABJ Railway police station, Ebute Metta, telling him that his brother had been arrested and taken to Denton Police station in Ebute Metta, Lagos State.
“I took permission from work and hurried to ABJ Railway police station. On getting there, the officers there told me my brother had been arrested the previous day,” Mr. Tokbe said.
He said he was told by Mr. Maxwell’s colleagues at ABJ Railway police station that his nephew worked overnight and was on his way home in the morning when a motorcyclist hit him. An altercation, Mr. Tokbe said, ensued, with Mr. Maxwell threatening to arrest the motorcyclist for allegedly riding on the wrong lane.
During the altercation, the motorcyclist raised the alarm and called Mr. Maxwell an armed robber, the witness said, adding that the noise got the attention of the passers-by.
According to Mr. Tokbe, his nephew denied the armed robbery allegation and identified himself as a police officer to the crowd of passers-by, to no avail.
He was arrested and then taken to Denton Police Division, the witness said.
“I later went to Denton Police Division with a friend and officers from ABJ Railway station to secure Sergeant Maxwell’s bail. We discovered that Sergeant Maxwell has been transferred to the SARS office in Ikeja.
“On getting to SARS office in Ikeja, my friend and I were denied access to Sergeant Maxwell. But his colleagues from ABJ Railway police station were allowed to see him,” Mr. Tokbe added.
Mr. Tokbe said the police officers from ABJ Railway police division told him afterward that Mr. Maxwell had been tortured and was not in a good condition. He added that all their appeals for his release on bail for treatment were rejected.
“We retired home that day to come back the next day as it was already getting late,” Mr. Tokbe said.
He said when they got to the SARS office the following day, they were told that Mr. Maxwell was dead and that his body had been deposited at the mortuary in Yaba Mainland hospital.