By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
For Chief Clement Garuba, 70, and the fifth ranking in the cabinet of His Royal Highness, Oba Abiodun Agbaje of Ekpesa Community, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, life is a living hell since he allegedly lost his sight to police teargas during the recent#EndSARS protest, just as the petitions received by the state judicial panel of inquiry has reached 157.
Chief Garuba, who spoke to newsmen shortly after he and his fellow chiefs appeared before the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses, said the police came in commando style teargassed them when they were in a meeting discussing the way forward for the community, adding that since that day, he has remained blind.
“When we were discussing village matter, with the youth, the elders, suddenly, police just came into the meeting, shot teargas into my eyes.
“The police did not only teargassed me, he took me and my fellow chiefs to the station and detained us for three days”, he said.
He said he has lost everything including his farm and that he is finding it difficult to cope with life.
“Before the incidents, I was seeing with my two eyes, going to the farm and taking care of my nine children and my wife but now, I can’t. I am suffering deeply.
“The farm I cultivated before the police blinded my eyes with their teargas, I couldn’t harvest them, they were left at the mercies of thieves”, he narrated.
He said he decided to approach the panel for compensation and for it to invite the said police officers who detained him and his fellow chiefs, made him go blind to come face the full wrath of the law.
Meantime, the Edo State judicial panel of inquiry, has disclosed that it has received a total of 157 petitions from different petitioners across the state.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), revealed the figure while speaking with newsmen in Benin City
She promised petitioners that the panel will do justice to all the cases brought before it.