Apostle Kassy was first arrested by the Nigeria Police Force on 5th May, 2022 in Benin and released the following day on Saturday, 7th May, 2022.
Human rights lawyer, Mr Inibehe Effiong, has condemned the illegal detention of Apostle Kassy Chukwu, the founder of Peniel of God’s Power International Ministries, Benin, Edo State by the Nigeria Police Force, describing it as unlawful.
Effiong in a press statement made available to SaharaReporters on Monday, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Baba Usman to direct the immediate release of Apostle Kassy and ensure the matter is thoroughly investigated. He also called for the investigation of abuse of police powers in the case.
In the statement titled: "illegal detention of Apostle Kassy Chukwu by the police on the instigation of Prophet Jeremiah Fufeyin," he regretted that the Nigeria Police Force from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), established to curtail serious international crimes, "has been thoroughly abused in Nigeria and is being deployed by every Tom, Dick and Harry to settle personal scores."
The human rights lawyer said it was shameful that despite persistent demands by Nigerians for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force, the culture of rot, human rights abuses and endemic lawlessness in the Force has continued to worsen by the day.
The statement partly read, "My attention has been drawn to the arrest and continued detention of one Apostle Kassy Chukwu, the founder of Peniel of God’s Power International Ministries situated in Benin, Edo State by the Nigeria Police Force on the instigation of one Prophet Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin, the founder of Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministry, Warri, Delta State.
"Apostle Kassy was first arrested by the Nigeria Police Force on 5th May, 2022 in Benin and released the following day on Saturday, 7th May, 2022.
"On 6th July, 2022, he was rearrested by officers of the Nigeria Police Force from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and remains in the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) in Abuja where he was taken to from Benin."
He added, "The arrest and detention of Apostle Kassy is based on a complaint by Prophet Jeremiah to the police. He claims that he was defamed by Apostle Kassy in comments he purportedly made on Facebook.
"Irrespective of the allegations made against Apostle Kassy, it is unacceptable that the Nigeria Police Force has once again allowed itself to be used as a tool of oppression and attainment of personal vendetta by an influential member of the society who represents himself as “a man of God”.
"On Sunday, 10th July, 2022, the Presidential Candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, went to the FCIID in Abuja and sought to see Apostle Kassy but was flagrantly denied access to him. He was also not allowed to give him the food that he bought for him."
Effiong reminded the police that under Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, every suspect is presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty. "Therefore every suspect in custody has a right to visitation" he said.
"The continued detention of Apostle Kassy is a blatant violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as enshrined in Section 35 of the Constitution. The police should know that there is a price to pay for impunity and violation of the rights of citizens.
"It is scandalous that INTERPOL, a body which is established to curtail serious international crimes, has been thoroughly abused in Nigeria and is being deployed by every Tom, Dick and Harry to settle personal scores. This is reprehensible and condemnable.
"No court in Nigeria to the best of my knowledge has issued a warrant for the arrest and detention of Apostle Kassy."
He, however, queried why Prophet Jeremiah has not filed a civil suit against Apsotle Kassy for defamation in a competent court of law, but preferred to use the instrumentality of the police to witch hunt him.
"I call on the Inspector General of Police to direct the immediate release of Apostle Kassy and cause investigation to be carried out into the abuse of police powers in this case. We cannot continue to condone the vicious weaponization of the Nigeria Police Force for sinister purposes by individuals who feel they have money to throw around.
"Nigerians have had enough of this impunity and lawlessness."
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore on Sunday went to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) to see the detained pastor but he was denied access to him.
SaharaReporters gathered the pastor was arrested in Benin City, Edo State after being accused of intervening in the case of a missing child.
The child allegedly went missing at Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministries.
The cleric was said to be detained on the order of Fufeyin, who accused Pastor Chukwu of daring to demand justice for the parents of the child who went missing in the church.
The AAC presidential candidate was told that he could not see the detained cleric and that it was based on “an order from above”.
The policemen were seen making phone calls, believably to their superior officers upon sighting the activist on their premises.
The activist condemned the arrest of the cleric and his subsequent detention at FCID without any charge preferred against him.
Sowore on Sunday said, "We are at the FCID. We came here to check on Pastor Kassy Chukwu who was detained here. Apparently, he is being detained here on the order of another pastor.
"This is the problem with the police, they have turned the police into a joke. Somebody can just call the Deputy Inspector General of Police or Commissioner of Police and get somebody detained.
"We came here to look for him to ensure that his rights are not violated but when we got here the moment they saw me, they started making calls, and that we cannot see him.
"We even went and bought food so that we can give it to him but they said we can't give him the food after they made all their contacts. We just want to report back that we were unable to see him.
"When this case was brought to my attention, I was told that it was politically motivated and that is why I was asking for the details but when I got here, I discovered that it was one of those despicable cases where people are just thrown in the detention because they have connection.”
“He was brought from Benin (City); no charges were brought against him up till now," Sowore had added.