IIP-SARS: Witness testifies how brother suddenly got missing at police station

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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 January 1, 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 been arrested and taken to the police station and when she got to the station she was informed that one John, his brother’s friend brought a complaint of insult against him, which led to his arrest and detention.

According to her when she met the officers in charge of the police station, she was asked to come back to the station the following day, which she did. She noted that she was able to pass food to her brother in detention on that fateful date.

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

According to her they quickly went back and on getting to his brother’s house, they discovered that the door was still locked and that there was no sign to show he was around. Hence, they went back to the police station to inform them that his brother was not at home as they claimed.

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 on 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 did 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 judgment 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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