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  • News - South South - Rivers
  • Updated: May 26, 2024

Mechanic arrested for kidnapping dies in Police custody

Mechanic arrested for kidnapping dies in Police custody

Nigerian Police force

 A motor mechanic, Chukwudi Okereke Abraham, at the Spare Parts Market in Ikoku on the Mile 2 axis of Port Harcourt arrested for kidnapping and cultism has died in Police custody.

The Rivers State Police Command and the family of Abraham are on a collision course over the cause of his death while in detention at the Octopus Strike Force Unit of the Police.

While the family alleged that Chukwudi was tortured while in detention at the Police Unit following his arrest, the police debunked the claim of torture.

Spokesperson of the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said in a statement in Port Harcourt on Saturday that the deceased was implicated in a case of kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism.

Iringe-Koko disclosed that the late Chukwudi was involved in the abduction of a businesswoman in the Diobu area of the metropolis on September 7, 2023, saying the victim was held captive for one week and was released after her family paid a ransom of N3.5m.

She said the police held a meeting with the parents and spouse of the deceased, who were accompanied by two of their family legal representatives, and they agreed that the family would participate in the autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

The statement read, “The Rivers State Police Command is aware of a press conference held on May 23, 2024, by a member of the Civil Society Organisations regarding the death of one Okereke Abraham Chukwudi, who was a suspect in police custody.

“The police would like to inform the public that the deceased was implicated in a case involving kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism. This relates to the kidnapping of a female business tycoon (name withheld) in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt on September 7, 2023.

“I went back to the Octopus again, but they chased me. I contacted Human Rights Watch to inform them. So after three days, the police brought my son to his shop and searched everywhere, but they didn’t see anything. They took him back.

“When I went back to the Octopus, they didn’t even allow me to enter the place again. So I went back to human rights, who promised to follow it up before I heard that they had killed my son.

Continuing, he said, “One of the policemen saw me on the road, stopped me, and asked if I was Chukwudi’s father. I said yes. I asked how he knew me because he wore a uniform, so I thought they wanted to kill me like they killed my son. He now said I will not see my son again because I don’t have a long leg to reach where he is.”

While fighting back tears, he said, “I want the government of Nigeria and Rivers State to come and help. Even the governor should assist me because, like the policeman said, I don’t have anybody. It is by the grace of God and the help of civil society that I saw my son’s corpse where the police hid it from me.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the State Civil Society Organisation, Enefaa Georgewill, faulted the police over its handling of the case.

Georgewill expressed sadness that even after the mechanic’s arrest on whatever allegations, the police didn’t make any effort to contact his wife or any family member, adding that even when they found out, they were denied access to him.

He explained that from January until about three weeks ago, when the family got wind of his detention at the Octopus Unit, they started visiting the facility, but that they neither allowed them nor their lawyers to see Chukwudi.

 

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