Adamawa policemen tortured my son to death over missing iPhone – Father

The pain of losing a child cannot only be indescribable but also shocking and traumatising. For Dr. Tukur Abba, the father of the late Abdullahi Abba, a schoolboy who was tortured to death in Yola, Adamawa State, the death of his son in the hands of those who are paid with taxpayers’ money to protect lives and property is what he is yet to come to terms with.

With a stammered and murmured voice, Abba said, “My brother, how could you describe this kind of thing? When the police came to my house and demanded to take Abdullahi to their station for questioning over an allegation of phone theft, my first son resisted, but I calmed him down and asked him to allow them to go with him with the understanding that nothing would happen to him.

“I was wrong to have entrusted my son in the hands of people who would eventually torture him to death. I was thinking that as law enforcement officers, they would be professional in their conduct, but I was wrong, not knowing that my son was on a journey of no return,” Abba stammered and coughed as he managed to speak.

Abdullahi, according to his father who is the immediate past Librarian of Modibo Adama University, Yola, was sitting for the third term examination in Senior Secondary II at Shabir Rashat Secondary School Yola, before his dream of becoming an Army officer in the future was cut short by men of the Operation Farauta.

In an emotion-laden voice, Abba said, “They killed my son- a promising young boy full of life and a bright future, but as a Muslim, I believe that Allah knows better why Abdullahi has to go now.

“My wife is a strong woman and a strong believer in Allah. We have left everything in the hands of God, but we want justice to be done. I want to thank Amnesty International, the Commissioner of Police and federal lawmakers in our constituency who have reached out to me and the family.

“I want to thank the PUNCH Newspaper for keeping tabs on this development and civil society organisations that have shown special interest in ensuring that justice is done in the case. We will not relent until justice is done.”

While calling on the authorities concerned to ensure that those behind the murder of his son are brought to justice, Abba called on Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to relocate Operation Farauta to areas where kidnapping and other forms of crimes are taking place as their continuous stay in Yola town is becoming a problem to residents who are being harassed daily by men of the team.

“They should be relocated to areas where kidnapping, banditry and cattle rustling are taking place daily. Residents of Shagari estate where they are staying have been complaining of their daily harassment and that they don’t even attend to distressed calls when they are called to do so.

“The atrocities allegedly being committed by Operation Farauta need to be investigated. I want to call on the government to set up a commission of inquiry into the activities of that security task force since its establishment. I want to believe that several people have been affected by the actions of Operation Farauta but are afraid to come out and speak. A lot of revelations will come out if a commission of inquiry is constituted,” he said.

The distraught father recalled that Abdullahi who has no criminal record in the past was accused of stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to a neighbour and was handed over to the police for interrogation only for the police to torture him to death as if he was a condemned criminal.

Abba narrated that his son was accused of stealing a phone (iPhone 7) by their neighbour; Shuaibu Zumo, a staff member of the Adamawa State Scholarship Board and was taken from their home by police personnel questioning him.

“He was later brought back crying, with handcuffs on and thoroughly beaten. He told us that he falsely confessed to having taken the phone to save his life because of the way he was being tortured.

“The personnel of Operation Farauta later came into the house and searched for the phone but couldn’t find it. While the search was still going on, Abdallah became unconscious and we rushed him to Modibo Adama University Teaching Hospital where he remained unconscious for four days and later died,” he added.

A lawyer to the family, Abubakar Diram, told our correspondent that he was confident that justice would be served in the case. “I don’t have any doubt that the family will get justice. The governor is interested in the case and he has directed that a full investigation be conducted into the matter.

“The police are also doing their best in that regard. Already, civilian and police suspects in the matter have been arrested, while the military personnel involved have also been detained by their respective units. I do not have any doubt that justice will be served in the case,” Diram said.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, SP. Suleiman Ngurore, on his part, told our correspondent on the phone that the investigation into the criminal leg of the case had been concluded, but the investigation into the disciplinary conduct was ongoing.

Ngurore said, “We don’t have anything to hide. Investigation through the criminal leg of the case has been concluded, but the investigation into the disciplinary conduct is ongoing.

“Usually, in a case of this nature involving personnel, we normally have to follow our internal disciplinary measures and that is what is going on now as we await the return of the case file from the office of the DPP.

“If the personnel involved are found wanting, after the orderly room trial, they will either be dismissed and charged to court or given disciplinary punishment by the demotion of rank or any other punishment that will be deemed fit.

“The Commissioner of Police, Adamawa State Command, CP, Afolabi Babatola, will not condone any act of indiscipline by shielding any officer found wanting in the line of duty. Police are to protect lives and property and are not supposed to take the lives of citizens they have been trained to protect. So, I want to assure the family and the public that justice will be served in the case.”

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