406 people sign petition seeking release of Bernard Ogbu, detained since 2019
About 406 people have signed a petition urging the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali, to release Bernard Ogbu, a widower, who has been in police detention since March 3, 2019, for an undisclosed offence and his family is uncertain of whether he is dead or alive.
The petition initiated by Solomon Odeniyi, is seeking 500 signatories to compel the Inspector General of Police to either immediately release the Benue State widower or try him in the court of law.
Ogbu, a Benue State indigene has been languishing in the custody of policemen of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for over three years without trial.
According to Ogbu’s sister, Comfort, the operatives led by ASP Felix Onoja, stormed Bernard’s residence in the New Nyanya area of Nasarawa State on March 3, 2019, and arrested him.
Thereafter, the policemen reportedly took Ogbu to the SARS detention facility in Abuja, where his family members visited the following day to inquire the reason for his arrest.
Comfort also disclosed that her brother’s plasma television set, home theatre electronics, set of chairs, boxes, clothes, Opel Astra car and other personal property were also taken away by the policemen.
After, Comfort visited her 43-year-old brother at the detention facility where he wept profusely over the torture meted on him by the SARS operatives.
When Ogbu’s sister asked Onoja about the offence his brother committed, he said Ogbu committed a serious offence and allegedly demanded N5 million from them to secure his release, but they were unable to come up with that amount of money.
She said: “We have not been allowed to see him since March 4, 2019. Whenever we visited the detention facility to ask for him, the policemen usually chased us away. When the SARS was disbanded due to the nationwide protest, we made several attempts to see my brother but to no avail. His wife died of depression caused by his continued detention. She left four young children behind.”
At this time the family is uncertain about whether Ogbu is alive or dead.
Also, the victim’s lawyer, Napoleon Otache, confirmed that the police detained Ogbu without any allegation.
He has also confirmed that efforts to make Onoja admit the widower to bail or charge him to court proved abortive.