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September 20, 2020

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A 20-year-old lady, Bilikisu Isa, a resident of Aso Mararaba, in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, has died from complications she sustained after she was allegedly tortured by the police, her family said.

Bilikisu Isa, 20, allegedly died of complications from police torture (Credit: James Aparshe)

She was arrested penultimate Monday, August 31, alongside her friend, Rukayya Muhammed, who said Bilkisu was forced to remove her hijab (head covering) and repeatedly beaten with wire.

“The inspector slapped, flogged and hid Bilikisu, but he gave me his number that he likes me and spared me from torture. She fainted in the station. He poured water on her,” Ms Muhammed said.

Ms Muhammed added that her friend was arrested and tortured in connection with an alleged theft carried out by a man simply identified as “Abdul,” said to be the deceased ex-lover.

Rukayya Muhammed, Bilikisu's friend (Credit: James Aparshe)

“The police OC even went ahead and started calling Bilikisu names like ashawo, prostitute, accusing her of visiting the suspect in the hotel without evidence,” she said.

“She was no longer in any relationship with the suspect since last year, still the police picked and harassed her publicly.”

Family members who spoke with this reporter said both ladies were granted bail around 9 p.m. of the same Monday of arrest, but when Bilikisu arrived home, she began to bleed and vomit, and died last Sunday.

Bilikisu Isa being buried last Sunday after she died from alleged police torture (Credit: James Aparshe)

When visited, Bilikisu’s mother, Hadiza Isa, said her daughter was sick before she was arrested.

“We begged the police to leave my daughter alone due to her illness but they ignored our pleas. They rather detained and tortured her for hours that caused her death,” Mrs Isa said in an interview with this reporter.

Malama Hadiza Isa, Bilikisu's mum wants justice for the death of her daughter (Credit: James Aparshe)

“I am appealing for support from the general public for those that led to the death of my daughter to be brought to justice,” she said amidst sobs.

The elder brother of the deceased, Zakariya Isa, also noted that while Bilikisu was ill when she was arrested, after she was released “we never noticed on time that the torture left her with internal injury that claimed her life.”

Police reaction

When this reporter visited the police outpost located along Calvary Road, Maraba, where Bilikisu was allegedly tortured, the officer-in-charge, who declined to give his name but was identified by truecaller as Alpha Lamurde, denied all allegations.

Police outstation where Bilikisu was said to have been tortured (Credit: James Aparshe)

Subsequent calls placed to his line for further reaction were futile as his line was not reachable.

ASP Alpha Lamurde alleged to have tortured Bilikisu Isa (Credit: James Aparshe)

The spokesman of the Nasarawa police command, Ramhan Nansel, also denied the allegations. He said Bilikisu was released “unconditionally” and was “not tortured.”

“The incident happened in a car dealership center in Maitama, Abuja. The Abdul in question took the ATM card of his boss who reported him to the police,” Mr Nansel said on Sunday.

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While Mr Nansel said that Bilikisu was arrested because she was seen “at the crime scene,” Bilikisu’s mother said her daughter was arrested in their Karu residence.

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Asked if Bilikisu’s parent’s house was what he meant by the “crime scene,” Mr Nansel said that the information he got was that she was arrested in Abdul’s house.

“The lady in question (Bilikisu) was also in the house when the police stormed the house,” he added, saying investigation was still ongoing on the whereabouts of Abdul.

Mr Nansel maintained that she was not tortured, denying allegations of torture witnessed by Bilikisu’s friend.

“No one can be interrogated without a lawyer,” he said.

But why was Bilikisu “released unconditionally” without interrogation since she had no lawyer, he was asked.

To that, he maintained that she was not tortured, rather she had been sick before the arrest.

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