A witness, Okwunmo Nwabufo, 34, Wednesday told a Lagos High Court, Igbosere that he was tortured to make statements during investigation on the murder of Miss Cynthia Osokogu.
Nwabufo who is also the first defendant in the case, revealed in court while testifying at the trial within trial of four persons charged with the murder of Osokogu.
The accused, Nwabufo; Olisaeloka Ezike, 24; Osita Orji, 33, and Nonso Ezike, 25, were charged to court by the Lagos State government.
They allegedly chained and strangled 25-year-old Osokogu at Cosmilla Hotel in FESTAC Town, Lagos on July 22, 2012.
Nwabufo, while being led-in-evidence by his counsel, Mr Victor Okpara, told the court at the last hearing that he made statements under torture.
At the resumed hearing, Okpara told the court that the case was adjourned for a trial-within-trial to determine how statements were obtained during investigation.
Nwabufo, after being placed on oath, told the court how he was tortured by the policemen that came to arrest him.
He said: “On the day I was arrested, up to 20 policemen broke into my apartment and asked for my name after which they called me a murderer and started beating me.
“I was later blindfolded while I was wearing only pant and taken into their vehicle; then we drove to the police station.”
“When we got to the police station, l was taken to the Area Commander, Mr Dan Okoro, who showed me a lady’s picture and asked if I knew her.
“I said yes, she is my friend and he immediately called me a murderer and pinched the upper part of my left eye with pliers.”
“I was then taken to a room where I was chained and tortured to accept whatever they (the police) told us concerning the murder.”
Nwabufo explained that it was during the torture that the police brought out a suspect and shot him in the leg to show that they would shoot us if we don’t comply.
“One of the policemen released tear gas into my left eye and I have not been able to see with it since then.”
He told the court that it was the torture that led to the statement which was being dictated to him at different times.
Counsel to the second defendant, Mr Michael Ajayi also called out a witness, to give evidence on how statements were obtained from them.
Okpara the counsel to the first defendant, then told the court that he had three other witnesses for the trial-within-trial.
On his part, Ezike told the court that he was also tortured and that statements were dictated to him.
He said that he also witnessed how a suspect was shot and that he had no choice than to succumb to the request of the police to accept the murder of Osokogu.
The two counsel, however, closed their defence in the trial-within-trial and asked the court for an adjournment.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade, after listening to the counsel, adjourned the case till Jan. 13, and Feb. 27 for continuation of the trial. [Vanguard]