For Sadiq Abubakar Ibrahim, the year 2020 will not only be remembered as the year COVID-19 pandemic put the whole world on the edge, but it will also be remembered as a year he narrowly escaped death in the hands of the Nigeria Police.
On May 18, Sadiq, a teenage son of Engr Abubakar Yaro Ibrahim, a former Sole Administrator of the National Iron Mining Company, Itakpe, was allegedly shot in the hand by an operative of the police force with Special Tactical Squad (STS) of the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
The yet-to-be-identified operative would later be quoted to have allegedly told the semi-conscious Sadiq to count himself lucky that the bullet missed him on the head where it was targeted.
In a chat with Daily Trust on Sunday, Sadiq’s father, Engr Ibrahim, said his son was lucky to be alive.
“He is getting better. But he is still in the hospital. Two surgeons – a plastic surgeon and an orthopaedic, operated on him for almost eight hours.
Engr. Ibrahim, who is currently a visiting lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, said his son, a student of School of Basic & Remedial Studies (ABU) Funtua, was shot in his right hand. “They cracked one of the bones around his wrist,” he added.
In an earlier interview he granted PRNigeria, Ibrahim, narrated the incidents leading to the shooting of his son.
He said on the day of the incident, he was preparing to join other members of his family to perform the afternoon prayer (Salatul Zuhr) at about 12.45pm, when the personnel of the STS, who he initially thought were armed robbers, stormed his house.
“I heard several gunshots, and some strange people shouting at the top of their voices at members of my family, while some other people were banging doors, trying to forcibly gain entrance into the house through other doors.
“I rushed downstairs to the main living room of the house to know exactly what was happening and to my greatest dismay I found members of my family laying down on the floor of the living room with their faces down and several armed men were standing keeping watch over them, threatening to shoot anyone that may attempt to run away.”
He said: “They did not enter my house through the main door, in spite of the fact that it was not locked. They instead jumped over the fence between my house and that of my immediate next-door neighbour.
“My son, Sadiq, was performing ablution when they entered the home by jumping over the fence between my house and that of my neighbour; this very manner of entering the house greatly frightened him.
“More so, that one of the operatives pointed a gun at him and pursued him trying to kill him. Sadiq actually assumed they were armed robbers when he saw them. The particular person that shot him had a hairstyle that is not befitting responsible people, making the boy believe they were armed robbers. None of the officers wore protective gear which they normally wear when they are on such operation.
“This cast doubt on the motive of the mission of the STS team.
“The same officer who shot Sadiq told my wife, who at that time they entered our compound was in the kitchen preparing food for children, to open the kitchen door or be shot. One of the children advised her to open for him and she did. But for that invention by the child it could have been a different story. The shock and trauma we were subjected to caused another son of mine to collapse at the interrogation venue. The STS operatives had disgraced us as a family by treating us like criminals without the slightest justification for that.”
On the reason for the raid, Eng. Ibrahim said he later found out at the STS Office at Guzape, Abuja, where they were taken for interrogation that it was connected to a case of kidnapping.
“At the venue of interrogation, we were each asked to make a statement, and it was while we were doing so, that it became evident that they were trying to link us up with a kidnap case. According to them, a Nigerian Army major and one or two other people were recently kidnapped in Kogi State, and the kidnappers demanded a huge ransom before they could be released.
“According to them, they were trying to track the kidnappers when they arrived at a spot (near my house, but on the road which passes in front of it) as the location of the kidnappers when they were last contacted.
“They claimed that the kidnappers asked them to take the ransom to that spot which they automatically assumed to be part of my house,” he said.
On whether the police, who he said abandoned Sadiq in the hospital, had made any contact with him since the incident, Ibrahim told Daily Trust on Sunday that they called one of his sons, who in the heat of the moment, told them not to bother.
He, however, said mobile phones and a laptop collected from his family members, his driver and neighbours by the police since the incident have not been returned. He said he has briefed his lawyer and they are considering a lawsuit against the police.
Efforts to get an update from a spokesman of the police, DCP Frank Mba, was unsuccessful. Several calls to his phone did not connect; however, a text message to him was marked delivered but not responded to.
In earlier correspondence with PRNigeria, the police spokesman was quoted to have said the police headquarters is investigating the incident and would make its position known shortly.
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