Despite arresting, detaining and illegally denying them access to their family members for over one month, the Akwa Ibom Police Command says it does not have information about Uduak Dickson Akpan and Lawrence Saviour Akpan, two brothers handed over to the Command by the military on suspicion of being members of the outlawed Independent Preople of Biafra (IPOB).
Family members denied that the Akpan brothers were IPOB members and accused the Military and the Police of arbitrarily arresting and detaining them at the Ikot Akpan Abia Police Headquarters without proper investigation.
Uduak, a father of three whose wife birthed her third child five days ago, was arrested by the military and handed to the Police at Nto Edino Village in Obot Akara Local Government Area when he was conveying a woman and her sick child to a traditional healer with his motorcycle.
Lawrence, a father of two children who is also a barber and commercial motorcycle operator, was arrested by the military at Essien Udim Local Government Area and transferred to the Police.
“Uduak is my friend,” Idara Okure told FIJ.
“He rides bike to support his family. He is not an IPOB member. The woman he was taking for treatment ran away with her child when the military stopped them. I wish I could help him get out of there but I don’t have anything. I can only pray.”
FIJ was told that Uduak’s wife, who just gave birth to a child, has not stopped crying since her husband was detained by policemen who would not allow her see him.
“Although the police confirmed that he was with them at Ikot Akpan Abia, they denied me access and I could not talk to him,” Paulinus Isong, Lawrence’s cousin, said.
“I had to summon courage to go and look for him there because we heard that those who go to look for their loved ones there are arrested. I don’t believe him to be an IPOB member.
“At that time, soldiers were arresting anyone they saw at Essien Udim and no one would know that you were arrested and then they label you IPOB member.”
FIJ gathered from policemen that only the Inspector General of Police could order their release.
FIJ had reported how the police in the Southeast and Southsouth label innocent persons as IPOB members and violate their rights. They are tortured and detained in black cells were they are starved, suffer from extreme heat and threatened with execution.
Odiko Ogbeche Macdon, the public relations officer of the Akwa Ibom Police Command, evaded questions from FIJ when contacted about the detention of the Akpan brothers.
“I don’t have that information at my disposal,” Macdon said and dropped the call.
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