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EXCLUSIVE: Businessman Sick In Custody, After Detention By Nigeria’s Secret Police For Expressing Support For IPOB Online

The situation has raised concerns among his family members as his health condition is said to be worsening by the day.

Emeka Richmond Ngornadi, a businessman who has been arrested and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) since April 2021 for allegedly making comments on social media in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is critically ill in detention.


Emeka, who hails from Imo State, was arrested while travelling from Lagos to Anambra State by DSS operatives said to have been trailing him for two years.


It was gathered that Emeka was travelling from Lagos to Anambra to deliver baby items and goods he had bought for his pregnant wife who had earlier called to inform him that her Estimated Delivery Date (EED) was close.


The wife eventually gave birth in June but lost the baby, allegedly due to psychological trauma over the arrest of her husband.


The DSS accused him of being an IPOB member for openly expressing support for Biafra agitators and condemning security agents for the killing of innocent citizens in the Eastern region of the country.


SaharaReporters gathered that Emeka suddenly developed rashes and patches all over his body and had suffered a protracted illness believed to be typhoid fever and malaria. 


He was said to have been denied access to doctors or drugs by the secret police detectives and his condition has continued to deteriorate in the cell.


The situation has raised concerns among his family members as his health condition is said to be worsening by the day. 


Emeka, a father of nine and an ulcer patient, was said to have pleaded with the authorities of the service to allow him to go for medical treatment but the request was turned down.


It was also gathered that Emeka's refusal not to succumb to pressure from DSS operatives to admit that he was an IPOB member further compounded his predicament, leading to his continued detention in an underground cell without being granted access to his lawyer and family members.


He was initially detained at the DSS office in Lagos before he was taken to its headquarters in Abuja where he was tortured and asked to admit that he was an IPOB member. 


The DSS has refused to charge him to court so he has continued to languish in illegal detention in violation of his fundamental rights.


The operatives allegedly threatened to kill him if he dared make any attempt to take the matter to court or if anybody took the matter to court on his behalf.


According to a source familiar with the case, upon his transfer to DSS headquarters, the service specifically told him that if he wants to regain his freedom, he should admit to being a member of IPOB.


The source said Emeka was tortured till he partially lost his sense of hearing after one of his ears became blocked. 


The source said, "When they brought him to Abuja, he was tortured and they told him that the only thing that would save him was to admit that he was an IPOB member and that he would be set free but he insisted that he was not an IPOB member. He said the only thing he did was that he made a comment online, shared and reposted anything he knew to be true about IPOB and if that makes him an IPOB Member, then he was an online IPOB member. 


"They also said they went through his call logs and discovered that he discussed with somebody about bulletproof (jacket). But he denied the allegation and even told them to go and check the call logs of the person or go to the MTN office and verify.


"He said the person that called him was complaining about the way soldiers were killing people on a daily basis in the east and that he needed spiritual protection if he (Emeka) could assist him to get it for him and his family. Emeka said he was a Christian and could not do such."



SaharaReporters gathered that life has become miserable for Emeka's wife as the family has been unable to fend for themselves since the travail of her husband began. 


The DSS has continued to hold on to his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, baby clothes, and goods.


That operatives allegedly turned down Emeka's request that his ATM card be given to his wife to enable her to have some money to feed his family. 


According to the source, Emeka is not yet aware that his baby is dead.


Emeka is the breadwinner of his family and has 3 children in university. He imports and exports electronics and has a warehouse in Alaba International Market in Lagos.


His trouble was said to have been orchestrated by one of his business counterparts in Alaba International Market who allegedly connived with the DSS because of tendency to defend the oppressed from the leaders of the market. 

Human Rights