By Francis Efe – Warri
Mrs Ese Abugewa, a petitioner to the Delta Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and Extra-judicial Killings has called for the release of her husband who has been remanded at the Ogwashi-Ukwu Prison.
Abugewa made the call in her petition to the panel sitting in Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday, alleging that her husband was wrongfully accused of murder.
According to Mrs. Abugewa, her husband was arrested in Warri on the 14 of August 2020 by a policeman on mufti and taken to an unknown destination.
She said that it took her over a month before she could locate where her husband was taken to. She alleged that her husband was been transferred from one police station to the other until he was finally detained at Police Force headquarters in Asaba.
She said the operatives initially alleged that her husband was a kidnapper but was later told that he was a murderer.
She said that after several attempts to see her husband since he was arrested, the operatives took her to a nearby plaza and demanded 20 thousand naira from her to see her husband, a fee she later paid three times.
She said that she engaged the services of a lawyer to secure the release of her husband but the operatives refused to allow even the lawyers to see her husband.
She alleged that on Tuesday police called her to bring the sum of one million naira to secure the release of her husband.
She said a few hours after the call, she got a phone call from her husband telling her that he has been remanded in Ogwashi-Ukwu Prison.
Abugewa pleaded with the panel to order the police to release her husband from prison, saying that her husband was neither a kidnapper nor a murderer.
The Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Celestina Ogisi said the panel would adjourn the case till 4 December to enable the police to prepare their defence.
Speaking to Vanguard on the sideline, Counsel to Mr. Abugewa said: “Our only fear is that the panel’s recommendations will be worth the time and whether the government will do anything about their recommendations. Until the end of the whole thing, we will not know whether our fear would be allied.
“Now he has been remanded and the process in Nigeria is so funny that if a lawyer does not push to sign a bail application and push them here and there, they may leave him there for the next three years and nothing happens.
“One of the problems we have with the new Administration of criminal justice law is that if somebody is remanded unless there are special circumstances that are very tight, you cannot even file a bail application until after one year of being kept in detention. This is a challenge.”