17th January, 2014
Two accused persons, Sanusi Alhassan and Ibrahim Idris, have told an FCT Chief Magistrates’ Court the police threatened them with gun to sign statements on an offence they never committed.
The accused are standing trial for attempting to use a fabricated master key to steal vehicles in public places, a charge they have denied.
They were first arraigned on 22 September, 2013 on a four-count charge of fabrication of master key, joint act, criminal conspiracy and attempt to commit felony.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, the accused denied the charge, describing it as a frame-up by the police.
They dismissed the written statements tendered in evidence by the prosecutor, said to have been made by them at the police station following their arrest.
“We signed these false statements under duress at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). It was not written by us, but by one officer named Azuka.
“He threatened to kill us with a gun, if we refused to sign the statement. We were not caught with any master key at the scene of the incident as alleged by the police.
“We were beaten and tortured. We had no option than to co-operate with the officer, because we had nobody to rescue us at that moment,’’ the accused said.
The Investigating Police Officer, Insp. Oboli Azuka, told the court the accused were arrested on 22 July, 2013 along Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, in Abuja before they could wreak any havoc.
Azuka said the accused were spotted by a passerby, who raised an alarm which led to their arrest.
He however said the accused made voluntary confessional statements at the station, where they admitted that the key was given to them by their gang leader.
“The police took their statements separately, while the contents were read to them before they signed voluntarily,’’ the police officer said.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Atteh Effiong, tendered the statements and the key allegedly recovered from the accused at the scene of the incident as exhibits.
The Senior Magistrate, Anna Akobi, adjourned the case till 27 February for trial within trial and ruled on the admissibility of the exhibits presented by the prosecutor.