By Augustine Aminu
Worried over the case of one Ekenechukwu Uwakwe, a motorcycle spare parts dealer at Ebute Meta, Lagos, who it says has been detained by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) since January 4 2014The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN Foundation) has petitioned the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Cornelius Kayode Aderanti. In a letter entitled ‘Indefinite Detention, Extortion And Gross Abuse Of Human Rights Of Ekenechukwu Uwakwe and others by Operatives Of SARS, Ikeja: NOPRIN Calls For Investigation and Actions’ and dated October 14, 2014, Okechukwu Nwanguma, the groups National Coordinator said that Uwakwe was arrested after he presented himself to SARS operatives on invitation.
The petition reads in part: “We are informed that Ekenechukwu travelled in December to his home town in Imo State for his traditional marriage. While still in his home town, he received information that he was wanted by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja in connection with allegations of armed ‘robbery’, ‘kidnapping’ and ‘419’.
“In his absence, the SARS operatives arrested his elder sister Nkechi Uwakwe and two others including Nkechi’s Church Pastor and detained them at SARS pending the time Ekenechukwu would show up.
“On January 4, 2014, after he was done with his traditional marriage, Ekenechukwu returned to Lagos and immediately presented himself at SARS. The police officers demanded and received the total sum of one hundred and seventy five thousand naira (N175, 000) before granting bail to Nkechi and her Pastor. Ever since that day, Ekenechukwu has remained in detention without charge. Ekenechukwu’s family and at least three different lawyers have visited SARS to see him and to find out the details and particulars of the allegations levelled against him, but have not been allowed to see him or to know who the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) is.
“On Thursday, October 9, 2014 after NOPRIN received information concerning this case, one of our officials called the O/C SARS Mr. Abba Kyari and inquired about the case. The O/C SARS promised that ‘…he would be going to Court latest Tuesday…’ By Monday, we made calls again to confirm from the O/C SARS the Court the police plan to charge him to and the time, but he did not respond. Up to this morning, he has not answered any further calls or responded to several SMSs