Peter Onyuike, the phone repairer illegally arrested and detained allegedly on the instructions of the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, has said he will not be making any case against the public officer, who is still grappling with the backlash of the assault he recently unleashed on a security guard.
He told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that with the suffering and humiliation he passed through in the hands of security agents for one week, he would not want “any more trouble from any big man in this country”.
“Whatever happened I leave it to God who has seen me through all my troubles in the hands of that big man, (Mr Umar),” he said.
Mr Onyiuke, a phone repairer at one of the outlets at Banex Plaza, Wuse, Abuja, where Mr Umar physically attacked Clement Sargwak, the plaza’s security guard, was detained without charge from March 29 and was only released by at the Police Station in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, April 6.
Witnesses at the scene of the incident, in separate interviews with our reporter, had said Mr Onyuike was severely beaten by the security agents who reportedly acted on Mr Umar’s order before he was driven away.
Mr Umar, according to the witnesses’ account, accused Mr Onyuike of being rude in an encounter they had shortly after the CCT chairman attacked the plaza’s security guard.
Mr Onyuike had helped Mr Umar to pick up his phone that fell to the ground without him knowing, and was trying to return it to him when the CCT chairman picked a quarrel against him.
He was later picked up by security agents suspected to be State Security Service (SSS) operatives who later handed him over to the police.
The police detained him from then till last Tuesday, clearly violating constitutional provision that prohibits the detention of any person without charge for more than 48 hours.
‘I surrender him to God’
When contacted by our reporter over his efforts to get justice, Mr Onyiuke said on Monday, said with how he was beaten, his clothes torn and harsh treatment meted out to him in detention, he would not want to risk another ‘trouble’ from a Nigerian big man.
He said, “Sir, I do not want any more trouble from any big man in this country. With what I went through throughout last week in the detentions of the police and DSS (SSS), my brother, I was only saved by God. And I do not want to go back to it.
“I was beaten and my clothes were torn down to my underpants. When I was taken away to DSS custody, I was still beaten. They (SSS operatives) said I caused them body aches.
“I was put in a small cage; the same place I was urinating for more than two days before I was later taken to the police station.
“Whatever happened I leave it to God who has seen me through all my troubles in the hands of that big man, (Mr Umar).”
He added that he did not have a lawyer and his family members from whom he could have got support were not resident in Abuja.
“I don’t have a lawyer, my family are in the village and I am not sure any of them knew or was aware of my ordeals,” he said.
Speaking further about his ordeal, Mr Onyiuke, added, “He said I insulted him, but I did not.
“All I did was to help him (Mr Umar) pick up his phone that fell to the ground and which I returned to him (Mr Umar). So I leave him to God.
“I don’t want him or anyone to come back for me or any of my friends here (plaza) who have been supportive and begin to intimidate us.”
Despite the accounts of several witnesses and the victim of the involvement of SSS operatives in the arrest and detention, the agency’s spokesperson, Peter Afunaya, had denied it.
“Not true, no SSS operative did that,” he stated in a text message sent to our reporter.
Asked about Samuel Ihensekhien, the lawyer who broke the news of his from detention to our reporter, Mr Sagwak, “I don’t know any lawyer or anyone it was just God that helped me all through.”
His position not push for justice runs in contrast with that of Mr Sagwark, the plaza’s security guard, who has, Mr Ihensekhien, filed a petition against Mr Umar at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), asking for a probe into the March 29 incident.
Mr Sagwak, in the April 9 petition signed by his lawyer, Mr Ihensekhien, accused the CCT chairman of abuse of power, assault, torture, and ‘xenophobia’.
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES over Mr Onyiuke’s case on Monday, Mr Ihensekhien said, “I don’t have instructions for representation from Mr Onyuike.”
“I just had to assist out of my own benevolence to get him (Mr Onyuike) out of jail,” he said, adding that “But both Sargwak and the security company instructed me to represent them and that was why I filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission.”
“So, if he (Mr Onyuike) approaches me, as my own practice I would represent him,” the lawyer also said.
Aside from the case filed at the NHRC on behalf of Mr Sargwark, a petition was also filed by two national officers of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), at the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) seeking Mr Umar’s trial for what they described as his “unlawyerly and ungentlemanly conduct”.
This newspaper had reported how Mr Umar was caught on camera assaulting the security guard, Mr Sargwak an employee of Jul Reliable Guards Services Limited.
In the five minutes video footage that went viral, the tribunal chairman was seen slapping and kicking the 22-year-old, on March 29.
According to witnesses who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, the altercation was over the space where the CCT chairman parked his car on the premises of the mall.
Despite video evidence, the CCT chairman denied the assault allegation.
Mr Umar’s denial was faulted by witnesses who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES.
The CCT chairman, who also accused Mr Sargwak of being rude in their parking space squabble, insisted he was the one assaulted by a mob of ‘Biafran boys’, a characterisation that was widely condemned as a slur on a particular group.
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