EndSars ‘I have not seen my brother since his arrest in 2017’
A petitioner before the Enugu State Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Panel, Miss Uzoamaka Ugwuoke, has said she has not seen her brother, Nnaemeka Ugwuoke, since he was arrested in 2017.
Ugwuoke told the panel yesterday in Enugu that her brother was arrested by men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on January 12, 2017 and had not been seen since then.
Ugwuoke, a native of Iheaka in Igboeze South Local Government Area, said his brother was taken to the SARS office in Enugu after the arrest.
The distraught lady said her brother was arrested alongside three other persons, adding that while one person was released after two weeks, the other was released after six months.
“We made several attempts for the release of my brother to no avail. The last time we went to SARS office was in 2018. We do not know whether he is still alive,” she said.
She alleged that the officer threatened to kill her brother if they reported the matter to a lawyer.
“At some point, my life was at risk due to threats from Obi and another man simply called Alex, who was the SARS commander,” Ugwuoke said.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Kingsley Udeh (retd.), instructed Ugwuoke to furnish the secretary of the panel with details of the police officers involved so that the panel could invite them.
Also, the panel witnessed a rowdy session yesterday, following a report of alleged assault on a petitioner’s lawyer, Mr. George Enekwechi, by a police officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ehirim.
Ehirim is one of the respondents in an alleged case of kidnap and attempted murder filed by Enekwechi on behalf of his client, Mr. Kenenna Obiatuegwu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that shortly after the panel had adjourned hearing on the matter brought against Ehirim, the petitioner’s counsel, who had left with his client, ran back to the court hall, panting.
The lawyer said the assault must not be unconnected with the fact that he was the counsel to the petitioner.
He added that his client had been receiving threats to his life from strange phone numbers since the matter was brought to the panel.
“I was just passing and Ehirim attacked me on the pretext that I touched him. I did not touch him. If as a lawyer I cannot feel free for fear of being attacked, I do not know how safe my client will be,” he said.
Enekwechi urged the panel to call the police officer to order and for him to desist from threatening him and his client.
Ehirim, who was summoned by the panel, denied assaulting the lawyer.
“I was with my lawyer outside and he (Enekwechi) passed. I asked him why he pushed me while passing.
“He touched me and I said why?” Ehirim said.
The panel chairman urged the police officers and lawyers to allow the panel to do its job.
He said the panel would not tolerate any form of intimidation by anybody, no matter how highly placed.