Unlawful Incarceration of Chukwu Anugo Offor, Esq. Secretary, NBA Aguata Branch By Police
Information reached the National Secretariat of the Nigerian Bar Association few days ago confirmed that, the Secretary of Aguata branch of the NBA, Chukwu Anugo Offor Esq. was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Police Force (Homicide Dept.) on the 18th day of December, 2019 and has since been in unlawful detention at the FIIB, Abuja, Abuja over a matter in which he only acted in his professional capacity as a legal practitioner.
We are informed that Mr. Offor’s client was one late Chief Ambrose Ezeagu. He was aged 70 years. Mr. Offor managed some of his client’s properties. Mr. Echezona Ezeagu, the 4th son of Mr. Offor’s client, also works in the law firm of Mr. Offor. Mr. Offor’s client had not been in good terms with his first son, it was alleged that the 1st son had assaulted him several times and there was a pending dispute between Mr. Offor’s client and his said 1st son.
Information further revealed that there is a case of assault and threat to life between the deceased and his 1st son. Mr. Offor’s client (the deceased) instructed him to apply for a fiat to prosecute the case against the said 1st son. This created a misunderstanding between Mr. Offor and the said first son of his client and caused a rift in their relationship that led to Mr. Offor being harrassed many times by the police at the instance of the said 1st son of his client.
Mr. Offor and his client (the deceased) thereafter filed a joint fundamental right action: suit N0.HID/MSC./55/19, against the 1st son and the Nigerian Police Force. The High Court granted a restraining order against the police from arresting Mr. Offor and Echezona Ezeagu Esq.
The NBA is further informed that on the 11th day of November, 2019 and inspite of the restraining order of the High Court, the said 1st son of Mr. Offor’s client, used the police to arrest his client’s driver and Personal Assistant. It is alleged that on the 12th day of November 2019, the 1st son, again, and one of his uncles, in company of some 2 Policemen took the driver of Mr. Offor’s client to his factory site and carted away properties of the deceased. Mr. Offor’s client tried to stop them but could not; and he died the following day allegedly as a result of sudden complications.
The deceased’s 4th son, who works in the law firm of Mr. Offor lodged a report with the Nigerian Police Force that his father was murdered. The said 1st son was arrested by the Police and transferred to the Anambra State Police, Criminal Investigation Department, Awka. The case took a sudden twist when the said 1st son wrote a petition to the AIG, Zone 9 Umuahia, alleging that Mr. Offor and Echezona Ezeagu Esq.,the deceased’s 4th son, killed the deceased and carried away his estate documents. They were subsequently arrested and taken to Zone 9. They were also subsequently released by the DC, Zone 9.
The said 1st son, again, petitioned the office of the Inspector General of Police, Abuja. A letter of invite from the Homocide Dept, Force Headquarters, Abuja was sent to the law firm of Mr. Offor inviting all the lawyers in the firm to the Homicide Department office, Abuja. Mr. Offor and the deceased’s 4th son voluntarily heeded the letter of invite on the 18th day of December, 2019. They were detained on arrival and have been in detention since.
Information revealed also that the widow of the deceased who was among the people with the deceased the day he died, came to the Homicide Department office, Abuja and told the CP, Homicide that the detainees did not kill her husband. The CP still refused to release the detainees on bail.
The NBA was also made to understand that the Complainant (said 1st son) later requested the CP to release the detainees on bail to enable them to go back home to settle the matter. This request, we were informed, infuriated the CP, Homicide and he threatened to arrest and detain the complainant for giving false information.
The name of the Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Homicide Department is one Mr. Felix Vwamhi.
Presently the 1st Vice President of the NBA, *Mr. Stanley Imo* and the General Secretary, *Jonathan Taidi* are on the case, to ensure that our colleagues are released immediately. Visitations have been made to the Homicide Dept to engage the appropriate officers. This engagement will continue.
While the NBA refrains from commenting on the merit of the substantive case, it behoves on us, the NBA and all lawyers, to ensure that the fundamental rights of every Nigerian remains sacrosant and must be respected. This, the NBA will stand on.
National Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association
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