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SARS probe: How my brother got missing at Kuje police station 11yrs ago

A witness at the IIP-SARS, Mrs. Kate Okwor, on Wednesday narrated before the panel how her senior brother, Jude Onunze got missing at Kuje police station in Abuja after his brother’s friend reported him to the police station on 1st of January, 2009.

Kate who testified in support of the petitioner, family of Jude Onunze, told the panel that Jude called her on the phone when he was arrested and taken to the police station and that on reaching there; she was informed that one John, his brother’s friend brought a complaint of insult against him, which led to his arrest and detention.

Continuing, she stated that when she eventually met the officers in charge of the police station, he told her to come the next day over her brother’s detention.

She said that on the 2nd of January, 2009, she came back to the police station with food and that he was able to pass the same to his brother on the counter after tasting both the food and the water as requested by the police.

The witnesses said that she together with her husband and Chairman of Igbo community in Kuje, Akpata Justice went to the police station on the 4th of January, 2009 where the 5th respondent, Peter Ageh (IPO), Kuje police station said that my brother has been taken home in a patrol vehicle.

Upon hearing this, she said that they quickly went back and on getting to his brother’s house, he discovered that the door was locked and that there was no sign to show he was around.

According to the witness, she and some members of her family went back to the police station to inform them that his brother was not at home and that nothing came out of the visit to date.

She said that she has gone to court and the National Assembly over the alleged enforced disappearance of his brother before coming to the National Human Rights Commission over the same matter.

During cross-examination by counsel to the Nigerian police, James Idachaba, the police pointed out that the matter for which the witness is before the panel was earlier taken to the court and that a decision was reached.

Besides, Idachaba informed the panel that an appeal is pending before the Court of Appeal over the same matter.

On the other hand, counsel to the complainant, Chukwudi Igwe told the panel that Jude Onunze is presumably dead and that he was not aware that the same matter is pending before the Court of Appeal.

The panel, therefore, adjourned the matter sine die to enable the parties to ascertain the status of the matter at the FCT High Court and Court of Appeal and report back to the panel.

In another case of alleged intimidation and confiscation of properties and disobedience of court order by the police, Ayo Omoluope Esq. testified before the panel that he was unlawfully arrested and detained by the police in Maitama, Abuja and in Lagos when he accompanied his client, Hon. Ngozika Ihuoma to Union Bank in Abuja for payment of his legal fees.

The witness told the panel that he was in the bank premises in Maitama, Abuja when the Manager of the bank, Mrs Miriam Atawode ordered policemen to arrest him and his client. “We were subsequently taken to Maitama police station”, he added.

Later on, he said police made efforts to fly them to Lagos immediately but they do not succeed when they wanted him to use another person’s boarding pass to fly, and that when he refused they brought them back to Maitama police station.

He said that the next day they were flown to Lagos and that he was subsequently granted bail and he approached the court for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

He said judgement was later given in his favour and that the police was yet to comply with the judgment.

Earlier, Hon. Ihuoma said that his car is still with the Union bank and that when he made efforts to collect it they were told that the panel is not a court that can order for the release of such properties.

He also alleged that the bank connived with the EFCC to accuse him of stealing before a high court.

The matter was adjourned for defence on May 3, 2021.




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