Deborah Kwatri, now a single mother of four children will spend the rest of her life as a traumatised widow after losing the family’s bread winner in police custody.

In what she described as a black Friday, Deborah, tearfully told Saharareporters that she strongly believe her husband was tortured to death while in police custody.

As gathered, her husband, late Kwatri was arrested on Friday 18, after one Nuhu Musa Garta, lodged a complaint against him at Shagari divisional police station in the Yola South Local Government Area.

The widow informed that her late husband was managing an alcoholic beverage shop for Mr. Garta, who is an Area Court judge.

Narrating how it all happened, a neighbour of the widow, Usman Gorko told Saharareporters that the community strongly suspects foul play in the circumstances that led to the death of Kwatri.

“My name is Usman Gorko, a neighbour of late James Kwatri, popularly called Baban Friday. Actually on Friday 18th November, Mrs. Deborah Kwatri came to inform me that her husband was arrested by the police following a complaint against him by Nuhu Musa Garta, an Area court judge.

“I enquired to know what was the issue, she explained that her husband manages alcoholic beverage shop for the judge; I advised her to be patient, we’ll intervene when it becomes necessary.

“On Tuesday, the 22nd of November, I returned from work only to see a gloomy neighborhood; and I was told that some police officers, a woman police and a male colleague, one Inspector Isa, brought the dead body of Baban Friday on a commercial tricycle.

“As according to his widow, when they came and lay his remains on the ground they instructed her to sprinkle water on him; pretending that he merely fainted.

“I insisted to know what happened, because she (the deceased person’s wife) had informed me that she was asked to pay N16,000 bail money, which she sold a bag of rice to raise the money and gave to an officer identified as Inspector Isa.

“So seeing the remains of a man arrested just few days ago, the youths were provoked to the point of taking the laws into their own hands; but we were able to persuade them.

“His widow told us that her late husband’s boss, Nuhu Musa Garta (Area Court judge) whom he was managing his alcoholic shop reported him to the police because he failed to solve a N10,000 problem for him.

“So when the police from Shagari divisional police station picked him on the ill-fated Friday on the orders of Garta, they locked him.

“On Saturday, Deborah went to the police station and was allowed to see him, but that was the last time she spent with him.

“She was back there on Sunday, by Monday she was told that her husband was no longer in police custody that he had been moved to a correctional center facility, but no further details were provided.

“When the police brought back his corps and dumped it in his house, the immediate neighbour of the deceased, an immigration officer, raised an alarm. Shortly after which some vigilante guys came with a police van from Shagari police station and took the remains of Kwatri to the Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital morgue,” he said.

As things stand, the widow, her children and the entire community of Sabon Pegi, along Yola bypass, are alleging that James Kwatri may have been tortured to death, according to their lawyer, Barr Chris Cromwell.

Speaking to Saharareporters, Cromwell said, “we have written to the Commissioner of police on the instruction of our client, the widow, asking the CP to take necessary measures, because we’re claiming that her husband was killed while in police custody.

“We’re alleging torture and breach of fundamental right to life and we’re are calling him (CP) to carryout discreet investigation to find out those culpable.

“As far as we are concerned, he was unlawfully detained, therefore we’re pursuing his right to liberty and the cause of his death. Surprisingly we’ve yet to get any reply from the commissioner of police,” he said.

Spokesperson for the police, Suleiman Nguroje said, “the matter is being investigated.”

[Sahara Reporters]