The family of a 28-year-old man, Chijioke Iloanya, has lamented his disappearance after policemen attached to the Anambra State Command allegedly abducted him during a child dedication eight years ago.
The victim’s sister, Obianuju, narrated that the Officer in Charge of the state command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, James Nwafor, claimed that Chijioke had been shot dead by the police.
She said the police, however, failed to produce the corpse, adding that the family was hopeful that he was still alive based on information available to it.
It was gathered that Chijioke, who was 20-year-old at the time, was seeking admission into a university when he was taken away during the child dedication of one of his friends on November 29, 2012, in the Ajali area of the state.
His family members, who visited the Ajali Police Station in search of him, were reportedly informed that he had been transferred to the SARS headquarters.
Upon getting to the SARS office, the officer in charge reportedly denied that his men arrested the victim.
Obianuju stated that the family was devastated upon hearing this and decided to look for him elsewhere.
She said, “As my parents stepped out of the officer’s office, they saw the police bringing in some suspects and my mum saw my brother and told the SARS commander that she had found her son, but the commander ordered my parents out of the compound and instructed his men to ensure that they did not stay on the premises.
“My parents went back the following day and the commander told them point-blank that he had killed my brother and there was nothing they could do about it. My mum fainted upon hearing this and the commander ordered that they should be thrown out. My dad had to take my mum to hospital for treatment.
“Some people, who had encounters with the SARS before, advised my dad to go back that the OC might be bluffing and that he might not have killed my brother or maybe he wanted money as they had been going without money; so, my dad went back with money, but the man told him that there was nothing he could do regarding my brother as he was dead. He later told my dad that the money he brought was small and that he should add to it.”
Obianuju alleged that her father had to put up his land for sale to raise N3m and when he took it to the O/C, he declined to collect the money, saying it was a chicken change.
“My parents decided to approach the then state Commissioner of Police, Bala Nasarawa, and when they explained things to him, he called Nwafor to make an enquiry, but the officer told him that his men had a shootout with some armed robbers, who were killed. The commissioner told my parents that he could not do anything since the officer said he did not arrest my brother alive.
“Sometime in 2014/2015, someone accessed my brother’s Facebook account and chatted with another of my brother and I, saying he was suffering where he was and I kept asking where he was, but he didn’t answer and after some months, the display picture was changed to that of a family, but anytime I chatted him up, he never replied. We don’t know who has access to the account.
“Mr James (Nwafor) made my dad to swim in a river, where some corpses were dumped, to look for my brother if he was among them. My dad had to turn the corpses over to check if my brother was among them. I don’t know what my brother did that made him to be taken away for eight years. We don’t even know if to believe Mr James that my brother is dead or the other officers, who said Nwafor was lying. We don’t know anymore. We want to know so that we can have some form of closure.”
Reacting to the allegations, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, urged the family to write a formal petition to the command so that investigation could commence into the matter.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no formal petition written to the state Commissioner of Police in respect of the matter. So, kindly advise the complainants to write officially and wait for the outcome of such a petition in order not to pre-empt investigation please,” Mohammed told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Complaint Response Unit, through its Twitter handle, @PoliceNG_CRU, stated that investigation had been initiated into the matter.
It tweeted, “Your complaint is hereby acknowledged and investigation has been initiated. Your tracking number is #CRU119078. Thank you for contacting NPF-CRU.” – Punch.