We Found Victim’s Name On Mortuary’s List But Did Not See His Corpse, Witness Tells NHRC Panel

A lawyer and rights activist, Maxwell Opara, on Wednesday, told the independent investigative panel on violations of rights by the defunct SARS and other police units that when he and others conducted a search at the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, they did not find the remains of alleged police extrajudicial killing victim though his name was found in the mortuary’s entry.

 

Opara, who was issued with a witness summons by the panel having been mentioned by a petitioner, Mercy Patrick, he accompanied her to the hospital to search for the remains of her husband.

 

Mrs Patrick had in her petition, filed on behalf of her husband, Patrick Oche, with the number, 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/146, alleged extrajudicial killing of her husband, against IPO defunct SARS, FCT; OC SARS, FCT, Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of Police.

 

Testifying before the panel Opara informed that he was in company with two other lawyers and the petitioner went to the mortuary with a view to searching for Oche’s corpse, adding that they were unable to see the corpse through the deceased name was found in the mortuary’s entry.



In his words, “We did not see the corpse but we saw the victim’s name in the mortuary’s entry. The man we met at the mortuary asked us to go and find out from the hospital management.”

 

Led in evidence by a counsel for the panel, Kwandundu Okoh, Opara informed that his organisation had no documentation of cases as of the time Oche’s matter was reported to it, adding that the organisation had handled over 20 similar cases.

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The summoned witness further told the panel that when they asked the police about the case that they (police) were investigating it.

 

When cross-examined by the lead counsel for the police, James Idachaba, Opara said they went to the hospital without any policemen, adding that he could not report it to the police as the allegation was against them.

 

“I went to the Gwagwalada Hospital with the complainant without a policeman. The allegation is against the police and they cannot be a judge in their own matter.

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“What we did was to verify the allegation she (petitioner) made. The police wanted to kill the matter. We first wanted to identify the corpse of her husband where she said his remains were taken to,” the witness told the panel.



Mrs Patrick had earlier told the panel that on November 20, 2012, her husband, Patrick Oche, told her that he was going to his village for a marriage ceremony and would call her late, adding that she later received a call that her husband was murdered in his car at Masaka, Nasarawa State, by some people.

 

She added that his body was deposited at the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital she was not allowed to see the body when she got it.

 

The petitioner told the panel that when they got there, in the hospital entry list of November 20 to 22, 2012, the husband’s name was there but they were told that his body was not there.

 

Patrick told the panel that her husband’s car was parked at the SARS’s office at Garki in Abuja and she did not have access to it, lamenting that she and her children were suffering.

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