A popular Businessman, Mr Chukwujekwu Nwokeke, has been accused of arresting Master Dim Chikezie and five other boys since 2018 without charging them to court.
A Nigerian activist, Elochukwu Ohagi, mentioned that the boys were Imprisoned despite not committing the crime which they were accused of doing in 2018.
According to him, the boys were accused of stealing Mr Nwokeke’s property which led to their arrest while they were sleeping with their parents in the midnight.
Elochukwu said, “Dim Chikezie, an inmate told me how he was sleeping in his father’s house with his mother on 16th of February 2018 and there came this bang around 2am in the night. They first thought they were armed robbers. When they couldn’t open the door, they climbed into the roof from the ceiling, got to the room and jumped in, destroying their ceiling. That was how all of them were rounded up and arrested that night in similar fashion.
Two or three days earlier, some thieves had gone to the house of Mr Chukwujekwu Nwokeke, an Onitsha based business man, and made away with his properties.
He’s also a politician. Those that knew him very well told me he is a staunch member of PDP. He constantly brags of his connections with Arthur Eze to the villagers who sings his praises. He is literally worshiped in his village. The kings and cabinets honours him. He didn’t fail to extend his philanthropy to Ikenga people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He went to the village security, who immediately brought forward names of some vulnerable boys as suspects. Ikenga, vigilant went for children of widows and orphans. Three of the boys were orphans, while the remaining three are children of widows and a single mother.
Mr Chukwujekwu used Ekwuloba SARS to get the unfortunate boys arrested. At first, in Ekwuloba, they were charged with Breaking and Entering. Statements were made and the boys denied any knowledge of the incident. But it seems their accuser is out to deal with them.
They were moved from Ekwuloba SARS to Awkuzu SARS. That was exactly where they saw hell. According to Chikezie, one of the accused, no one can survive that torture. Hanging they called it. Virtually all of them in the SARS net accepted they stole the property as the result of the grievous torture.
Chikezie even told me how he told them the entire property was packed inside their house. When SARS took him to their house and recovered nothing, he received another round of beating right in their in his late father’s house.
Chikezie who works as a Mason is now being paraded as a common thief. The popular opinion in Ikanga is that Mr Chukwujekwu allegedly went to a certain native doctor in Nsukka who said it was these boys that stole the missing properties.
Mr Chikezie Dim showed me his shoulders, how they were broken. He showed me his wrists, they were making sounds as he rotated them. A sign they were still broken. Right there in Awkuzu SARS, they were so tortured that they couldn’t walk with their legs.
Mr Chukwujekwu gave an order that anyone that came for them should be arrested. That was how one of the mothers of the inmates, a single mother was detained in SARS for one night. To evade the human Rights personnel that do visits Awkuzu SARS at intervals to make sure no one stays there past two weeks, SARS will always take the accused to other places, only to bring them back whenever the human rights personnel must have gone.
These boys stayed in Awkuzu SARS for 6 weeks before they were remanded in prison. They were forced to sign a plain sheet each as their statement.
It means that their accuser together with the SARS wrote their statements. This I was made to understand, is not new to those that have had encounter with Awkuzu SARS.
One of them that was arrested were released in Awkuzu before they were taken to prison in 2018. They said he is innocent. How they determined his innocency and found others guilty is what I can’t tell.
When Mr Chukwujekwu Nwokeke found out that the Charge of Break and Enter won’t take the boys to prison, he manoeuvred his way and smuggled in Armed Robbery charge. The only court they attended till this day was the sitting that remanded them in prison. It has been adjournment upon adjournment.
The questions begging for answers are…
How is it that these six boys have been in prison without the court hearing their case?
Who is behind the numerous adjournment being suffered in this case?
If indeed they have evidence against these boys, why are they evading court hearing using dubious adjournment?
Why are the lawyers handling this case not worried about the numerous adjournment?
Why was the charge of Break and Enter changed to Armed Robbery?
How come these so called Armed Robbers were arrested in their different homes?
How did they come to know it was these boys that stole the properties?
How come they released one of them during their days in Awkuzu SARS, and held onto these six?
How is it that the only people arrested where sons of widows, single mother and orphans? A coincidence or what?
Are the six accused not entitled to fair hearing?
Personally, I think this is purely a case of rascal intimidation. A rich man wants to intimidate people he thinks he can put away without anyone blinking an eye.
I therefore call on Human Rights lawyers, Activists, Amnesty International, Journalists and good people of the world to rise up and help these boys not just to regain their freedom, but get adequate compensation for this illegal imprisonment.”
According to the man “On 17th of July 2020 I left my base to Ekwuloba for a court case involving Mr Dim Chikezie and five other accused. I arrived the court some minutes to 10 o’clock Am. The accused ought to have sited in the court waiting for the Judge to come, but non was around, except these two inmates on blue uniform, with their hands handcuffed to each other. The court didn’t sit because the judge was absent.”
“The court was adjourned once again like they have been doing from the inception of this case since nearly three years ago.”
“I got information that Mr Chukwujekwu Nwokeke Popularly known as Okpole was in that same court a day to 16th, together with some of the lawyers in charge of the case. What he was there to do on a day Lawyers went to apply for bail application, no one knows. But the case was once again adjourned till September 25th.”
“I left the court with Mr Dim Jimeto Chinazam the brother to one of the accused and we headed to Ekwuloba Prison to see the inmates.”
“The prison looks dirty and unkempt. The prison wardens were in high spirit. I was told if we didn’t grace their palms, we can’t see the inmates. I saw them extort money from my companion. You will pay at the gate and also at the entrance to the prison. After all the ugly rituals that made Nigeria what it is, the inmates came to meet us. They appeared cheerful and in high spirits. But immediately I started talking to them, all the cheerfulness made a dash and left them.”
“What do you think made your case not to hold today in court? I asked them. They all said they don’t know, or something that sounded like that. Don’t you think something is wrong somewhere? How is it that since close to 3 years you all are held in prison, it has been adjournments upon adjournments. Is something not fishy? I probed further. Immediately, their facial outlook changed. They seemed to have taken a swift flashback and noticed same thing. It couldn’t have been a coincidence that their hearing always get postponed for more than 2 and half years now. Somebody is definitely pressing some buttons.”