SaharaReporters gathered that they were arrested on the orders of one Sunday Uwakegho, who is Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters to Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Those arrested include Sunday Okoro, Ayomanor Tobore, Romeo Okoro, Precious Oghaje, Blessing Isaba, Eseoghene Ogheneovo and Iwarri Mosco.
One of the lawyers to the detainees, Stanley Imhanruor, told SaharaReporters that they were arrested on September 9, 2020, by 15 heavily-armed policemen, who claimed to be from the disbanded Intelligence Response Team and were moved to Edo State.
Imhanruor accused Uwakegho of using the police to dubiously harass, intimidate and lock up elders and sons of Okirighwre community in the state and in particular Okoro.
He said, “The men claimed to be acting on the instruction of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and Deputy Commission of Police, Abba Kyari, that no lawyer, doctor or family member of our clients should be granted access to them in custody and for that reason they further claimed that they were not answerable to anyone including the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, or Deputy Commissioner of Police, CID, Edo. True to their egregious declaration, the team members blatantly ignored the adjuration and appeal of the DC CID, Edo State Police Command, to allow lawyers, doctors or family members of the suspects access to them.
“From operational experiences, it is doubtful that officers in the calibre of the IGP or DCP Abba Kyari would give such unprofessional and illegal directive that is bound to paint the image of the Force in bad light before the global community. We are therefore tempted to give the IGP and DCP Abba Kyari the benefit of the doubt in the circumstances until they fail to call the overzealous team members to order by reason of this release.
“Meanwhile, it is noteworthy to state that Romeo Okoro (who is the son of the principal target – Mr. Sunday Okoro) and two others arrested and detained incommunicable along with our other clients in the unfortunate and deadly operation by the police team are juveniles who had no connection whatsoever with the purported complaint by Mr Sunday Uwakegho who is leveraging on his position as an influential Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters to the Delta State governor to intimidate and harass members of the Okirighwre community and in particulate Mr Okoro in his bid to cause the latter who is seen and rightly so by members of the Okirighwre community as the mouthpiece against injustice and oppression in that community.
“More disturbing is the fact that the members of the police team refused to give any of their names or phone numbers to the legal team and as it stands the identity of the team leader or Investigating Police Officer is unknown to the legal team and our client’s respective families.
“We are worried that the lives of our clients are in grave danger having regard to the refusal of the team members to reveal the identity of their leader or Investigative Police Officer to the legal team or grant access to our clients in their custody. In the event that our clients disappear from the radar and or are uncountable for by the police, let it be known to the whole world that our clients were arrested and detained incommunicable since the 9th day of September, 2020 by a team of policemen purportedly from the IRT acting on the directive of the IGP and DCP Abba Kyari at the instigation of Mr Sunday Uwakegho.”