Monday, 6 November 2017

Pastor: I was detained five days, tortured for my brother’s crime

Pastor Stephen Ubaechu, has narrated how some policemen, attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command, detained him for five days and ordered other detainees to torture him.

Stephen, a pastor with one of the Pentecostal churches in Abia State, said three officers of SARS from Lagos came to Aba, Abia State, to arrest and dragged him to Lagos over a $5000 debt.

According to him, the police had refused to tell his crime until they got to the police command in Lagos. It was after they got to Lagos, they told him that his elder brother, Robert Ubaechu, owed Mr. Ken Chibueze, the sum of $5000.

Incidentally, SARS operatives are not supposed to get involved in cases that are not related to robbery. There’s also a controversy over the money involved in the business deal between Ken and Robert.
While Ken insisted that he gave Robert, $25,000 dollar, Stephen maintained that his brother received just only $5000 from Ken.

The pastor said: “I was intimidated and threatened by Inspector Emmanuel Onuh, and Sergeant Sunny. They detained me for five days without taking me to court. They also wouldn’t allow me to write statement. They ordered detainees in the cell to beat me mercilessly. Till date, I’m still feeling body pains. I was arrested for an offence I knew nothing about. The business deal, which apparently didn’t work out satisfactory was between my elder brother, Robert, Chigozie Ohanaka and Mr. Ken Chibueze.

“I was not part of the transaction, but Ken led policemen from Lagos to Aba, to arrest me.  I got to know Ken only after I was arrested. I have never had any business dealings with him.”

Stephen, who was still peeved at the ill-treatment he received while in detention, said that he was going to sue the Nigeria Police and Ken for unlawful detention and torture. He stressed that his fundamental rights were breached.

He recounted that in 2012, Robert and Ken went into a business deal. The deal was that Ken gave some money to Robert, who resides overseas to send his a car.

Police sources said that Robert allegedly didn’t honour the deal and refused to refund Ken his money.  Stephen said that one day Ken called and introduced himself as an ex-police man.

Stephen said: “He told me that my brother sent a vehicle to him through me. I was surprised; I called Robert and told him what Ken said.  Robert said I shouldn’t mind him. I left the matter until Ken called another day. I told him to leave me out of their business dealings. After that, I found out that he just wanted to get me involved in their dealings because something went wrong. He told me that since he started doing business with my brother,   it had not been fruitful. He was angry with my brother. He said that the kind of cars my brother sent, were not the kinds he requested for.”

Stephen said that he thought Ken complained to him because he wanted him to speak with Robert. He said that soon, Ken started threatening him. Ken also allegedly threatened another of their brother, Hillary Ubaechu, residing in South Africa.

Stephen said: “I called Robert and advised him to resolve his issue with Ken. I quarreled with Robert; he stopped calling me. Ken called again; I advised him to resolve any issue he had with Robert and leave members of my family out of it. He said Robert should send a car to him or refund his money.”

One day, he was at home, when policemen stormed into his apartment and arrested him. They handcuffed him.

He recalled: “When we got to Lagos, they took my handset and wouldn’t allow me to reach my people. A policeman later entered the cell to ask what my offence was. I narrated everything to him. He allowed me to contact my family. I called my people and later I was granted bail.”

Ken, however, explained that he made series of efforts to reach Stephen and Hillary, to alert them about what their brother did to him, because they were aware of his business dealings with Robert.

He said that Stephen lied when he claimed he had never seen or met him until his arrest by SARS men. Ken disclosed that he sent $25,000 to Robert for a particular vehicle since 2011 and till date, the man was yet to send it.  

He said: “When I complained to Stephen and Hillary, they promised to speak with Robert. I waited until 2015, which was when I called them again. I asked for Robert’s phone number after I discovered he was no longer using his former number. Stephen and Hillary refused to give me Robert’s new phone number. Sometimes, when I called Stephen he would pick, promised to call me back, but wouldn’t. They were all playing me.
“I last time I travelled to Aba, in order to go and meet them, I had an accident. The accident caused me my teeth. Since then, all I get to hear from them are promises, that Robert will settle, but the promises were never fulfilled.”

Ken claimed that in the process of trying to recover his $25,000, he further over $5000, including his teeth.

“I lost my house at Satellite Town and couldn’t pay my children’s school fees. Bank took over my   house because I was not able to meet up with my loan payment. It was when all efforts to recover my money or get the car failed, that I reported to the police,” said Ken.
 He revealed that it was after Stephen was arrested that Robert finally called, promising to refund his money by March next year.

Ken said: “Robert even told the police that he will pay me N4million because he had owed me since 2011.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO),
ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole said that he was not aware of the case, but promised to find out. As at press time, he was yet to contact our correspondent.

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