A human rights activist, Lookman Hassan, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, and the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 5, Dibal Yakadi, over the unlawful detention of his younger brother, Chikogwu Isaac, by officers of Delta State Criminal Investigation Unit.
In the petition filed through his counsel, M. O. Uwaila, Hassan said the police had denied Isaac access to his lawyer and family members and that his family was worried about his whereabouts.
He described the action against Isaac, who is a businessman, as a violation of his rights.
It read, "Our client is a businessman by profession for over a decade with an enviable track record but now facing a serious threat to his life by the above-named office.
"My client informed us that sometime in the month of March, 2021, his younger brother by the name, Chikogwu Isaac, was at a party when he received a call that some policemen were at his landed property, destroying his gate as his land had already been fenced.
"Our client stated that his brother immediately proceeded to the landed property and met some policemen who later informed him that they were from the Anti-Kidnapping office. They came with some boys whom the policemen alleged were kidnappers, who bore a hole in the fence and gained entrance without his notice.
"Our client informed us that the policemen were breaking the padlock on the gate and he asked them to stop so he could open it but before he knew what was happening, they pounced on him, beat him to a state of stupor, threw him into their van and drove off to Anti-Kidnapping office, Asaba and have detained him since March 2021 till date, without charging him or releasing him.
"Sir, it is disheartening to note that our client and his relations have been going to Asaba to either give him food or see the boy, all to no avail as the policemen did not allow them to see him in the cell.”
The lawyer said the family was highly apprehensive about the whereabouts of their son and therefore appealed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police to step in and order the transfer of the case from Asaba as they suspect foul play in his arrest and detention.
"Our client's family is apprehensive as to the whereabouts of their son and our client's family sent a lawyer to see the Investigation Police Officer to find out what the issue was but he was driven away from their office and all efforts made by the family for the police to charge him to court have not been successful.
"We are aware that the alleged offence if any is serious assault or at best obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty which is a bailable offence and we also know our right to file for a fundamental rights enforcement for failure on the part of the police to charge him to court if any offence is proved.
"In the above circumstances, therefore, we appeal to the AIG to urgently intervene by ensuring that this pathetic case is transferred out of this lawless office or officer to your esteemed office, where we believe that justice will be done as the police at Asaba have been compromised and culprits will be brought to justice,” Uwaila said.
Commenting further on the unlawful detention of Chiakogwu, the President, Talakawa's Parliament, Marxist Kola Edokpayi frowned on the denial of access to the client in police custody, as a suspect is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
He urged the IGP and AIG to look into the matter and ensure justice is done so the detained businessman will be granted bail or be charged to court if there is a prima facie case against him.
He added that the family of the detained Chikogwu had been having sleepless nights over his unlawful detention.
Edokpayi however expressed confidence that the IGP and AIG would do the needful with a view to redeeming the battered image of the police force.