Elo Edremoda, Warri
A lawyer, Albert Agbense, has told the Delta Judicial Panel of Inquiry sitting in Warri, that the Police are demanding N1 million to release the husband of his client, Ese Abugewa, arrested for alleged kidnapping and murder.
According to the petition which was heard on Wednesday, the husband, Jeffrey Abugewa, was arrested August 14, 2020, and had been in Police custody, until Tuesday, November 24, when he was remanded to the Nigeria Correctional Centre, Ogwashi-Uku by a Magistrate court.
Agbense (Esq.) noted that the Police refused to obey an earlier order to bring the accused before a Magistrate court in Asaba.
He revealed that a day to when the case was to be heard by the panel, the Police called the wife and told her to pay N1 million for her husband’s release, a sum she could not raise.
But a few hours later, they (the counsel and wife) learnt that Jeffrey had been remanded at the Correctional Centre, Ogwashi-Uku.
Speaking to newsmen, Agbense said “the petitioner’s husband was arrested on August 14. In fact, they were moving him from one station to the other. Nobody knew where he was, until over a month.
“We discovered he was kept at the anti-kidnapping office by one Azuka Egede, who is a member of one of these response teams of the IGP.
“Only for us to discover that they were using his phone to transfer money from the boy’s account into their own account. They shot at his ears and they kept him there.
“We actually got a Magistrate court order to bring him before the court at Asaba. They refused to obey the order until we came to this panel. This panel had its first sitting on Monday and adjourned our matter to Wednesday.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), they called the wife and said, ‘OK, we will release your husband now, but give us N1 million. When the woman said ‘where am I going to get N1 million from?’
“They put off the phone and in about an hour or two hours’ time, we discovered that they had gone to a magistrate court in Igbuzor and they remanded the young man. He is present now in Ogwashi-Uku prison. This boy ordinarily, lives in Warri, nothing happened in Asaba.”
READ ALSO: Delta panel: Businessman seeks enforcement of judgement against CSP
The petitioner, Mrs. Abugewa, while expressing confidence in the judicial panel, called for the release of her husband, insisting that he is innocent of the allegations.
She stated that she was made to pay N20, 000 each of the three times she was allowed to see him, outside the station.
“I want them to release my husband because he is innocent. The first time they said he is a kidnapper. I said, “who did my husband kidnap? He is not a kidnapper, he is a community boy.
“Then when I went again they said it is a murder case. I asked, ‘who did he kill’. My husband was arrested on August 14. I spoke to my husband on October 16. Before he called me yesterday with one strange number, ‘I’m in Ogwashi-Uku prison’.
“The Police will not talk to me. If my lawyer goes there, they will not answer him. They will take me to one plaza near the Asaba station (when she visits the anti-kidnapping office), tell me to stand there, and use one Camry car to bring my husband.
“If I want to talk with him, they will refuse and say, just see him and go. Each seeing, I pay N20, 000 to that Azuka Egede.”