Two young men have been in detention for over two months at the the Anti-cultism unit of the Nigeria Police in Enugu State without the knowledge of their family members, Ifeanyi Onuorah, a Computer Science graduate of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu State, has said after regaining freedom from detention.
Ifeanyi said this while recounting his 24-hour ordeal in the cell after he was arrested in a police raid on Thursday afternoon.
According to a source, no fewer than 24 people were arrested during an operation to bust a suspected cult meeting inside East Garden at New Haven Garden area in Enugu Town.
FIJ learnt all the new detainees were granted bail around 3pm on Friday following the intervention of the Complaint Response Unit, an arm of the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja and some students union leaders of IMT.
From Ifeanyi’s account, at least 16 of them slept in one of the cells they were locked in, while others were distributed across two other cells.
“The feeding and survival in our cell was not easy. The oldest detainee gathered money from all of us that just got in to buy food for everyone. I met two young guys who told me they had been in the cell for over two months and none of their family members was aware of it,” he said.
“One of them, a short, dark man who identified himself as Emmanuel Essien from Calabar told me he was on a bus going to Lagos before he was arrested and later transferred to the cell where we eventually met on Thursday. The other one, a fair-complexioned guy whose name I cannot really remember but is from Nsukka, said he was there on a seven-count charge. One peculiar identity of the Nsukka guy is that one of his legs has been broken and he now limbs.”
Section 35 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution states that the police may not detain any suspect for longer than 48 hours without a court order.
Apart from the reported illegal detention, FIJ further gathered that the police forced all of them to back-date their statements taken around 11am on Friday so as to reflect that they were written immediately after their arrest.
DSP Owuzo Godspower, the officer in charge of the unit, claimed ignorance of the arrest.
Regarding the illegal detention of two young men, he said: “That’s a fallacy. I don’t know about that and I will not answer. If you want to know about that, you can come over yourself to confirm.”
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