A trader and native of Umueleri Ogwu in the Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Frank Agbakwuruibe, has petitioned the state governor, Emeka Ihedioha, to intervene so that his brother, Uzochi, can be unconditional released by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
According to Frank, his brother was brutalised with machete, unlawfully arrested and detained for the past 20 days by the Enyiogugu, Mbaise zonal command of the NDLEA under the command of one Mrs Kemi Rufai.
The petitioner said Uzochi was arrested by the NDLEA officers on Friday, October 18, 2019, for allegedly having in his possession 150 grams of Indian hemp.
He said the officers the officers inflicted machete cuts on sensitive parts of Uzochi’s body.
The petition to Ihedioha stated in part, “As the chief law officer of the state, we are fully aware that based on the provisions of sections 31, 35 and 41 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, my brother is entitled to bail for the alleged simple offence.
“It is unfortunate, howbeit inexplicable that in spite of the fact that these officers were armed and greatly outnumbered my brother, he ended up with deep machete cuts all over his body. It made the arrest appear more like a case of attempted murder rather than a mere arrest. It was expected that as experienced superior officer, Mrs Kemi Rufai an d her officers should be aware that the rules of engagement do not permit the use of arms and/or unreasonable force on an unarmed suspect.”
Frank added that when the family’s lawyer approached Rufai to bail Uzochi so that he could receive adequate medical attention, she allegedly said that the governor gave her a standing order to deal with criminals and drug dealers in the area.
“Although we do not deny the fact that you may have given such an order with the good intention of fighting crime, yet we do not believe you can permit the barbaric practice of butchering of suspects with machetes and other hard objects,” Frank added.
When contacted on the telephone, Rufai told Southern City News that the suspect was arrested legally and legitimately, adding that surveillance was carried out on him and he was found to be dealing in cannabis.
She said “No machete was used during the arrest. The injuries on him were sustained during his resistance in the course of arrest. The suspect used his hands to break the front and back windscreens of the vehicle conveying him after the arrest.
“The suspect, his brothers and youths from the community launched a mob attack on the NDLEA officers. He also bit the officers. We have the evidence. I did not stop the bail by the lawyer but I only told him that he should write an application for an administrative bail. Bail is a fundamental right of every suspect as provided by the law provides.”
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