The death of Bernard Ogbu, a 43-year-old father of four has triggered a face-off between his family and the Nigerian Police Force.
The deceased was allegedly detained without trial by the now disbanded operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) after his arrest at his new Nyanya residence in Nasarawa state in 2019.
Blueprint Correspondent learnt that the police refused to charge him to court or grant him bail, despite repeated calls at the police detention facility to see him since his arrest three years ago until he breathed his last.
Consequently, the family has alleged foul play, and has demanded an investigation, justice and that Ogbu’s corpse be delivered to them for proper burial.
How it happened
Three years ago, specifically in March 3, 2019, SARS operatives led by one ASP Felix Onuoha reportedly stormed the residence of the late Bernard Ogbu at the new Nyanya in Nasarawa state, where Ogbu, a native of Igumale community in Ado LGA in Benue State was arrested alongside his belongings such as Opel Astra Car and other valuables, which were allegedly taken away by the operatives.
According to the deceased’s sister, Comfort Ogbu, attempts to access him in detention met a brick-wall. Traumatized by the development, Ogbu’s wife, it was learnt, got depressed in the process and died.
The alleged offence
According to the lawyer Barrister Napoleon Otache, the police were investigating a car theft in Abuja and after tracking it and had done some investigations; they discovered that the deceased was always calling a particular number who now turned out to be a suspect in the theft allegation.
In the course of their investigations, they came to a conclusion that the late Ogbu and the suspect in question had something in common and must have been doing something together, hence Ogbu’s arrest.
Lawyer, others’ intervention
When the family and the lawyer efforts to either get him out on bail or charge to court could not yield any positive result, they resulted to writing petitions to the police authorities.
He specifically mentioned petitions letter dated March 28, 2022, and August 25th, 2022, where he restated the need for Ogbu’s release from the detention.
Interventions by the National Assembly through Senator Abba Moro, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja, Mr. Giwa Victor-led Advocate for People’s Rights’ and Justice and the royal father of Agaba Idu, HRM Elaigwu Odogbo, Obagaji John Ochi Idoma V did not also yield any result.
And the last straw
After much pressure, the news of Ogbu’s death according to the family was eventually broken to them in the presence of their lawyer Barrister Otache on the 17th November, 2022, at the office of the CRU situated within the force headquarters premises in Abuja.
When contacted via calls and text messages, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Muyiwa Adejobi, promised to react but did not as at the time of going to the press.
As at 6:32pm, the FPRO’s phone was switched off.