Police detain Delta newspaper vendor in anti-kidnapping cell for one week

The Delta State Police Command has held a popular newspaper vendor, Mr Patrick Onwuaha, popularly known as Ocha, incommunicado for six days now.

It was gathered that the vendor, who had been selling newspapers for over 15 years, was arrested while plying his trade on the streets of Asaba.

His wife, Ngozi, said that on Wednesday that she had not seen her husband for the past six days.

She said, “My husband has been missing since Thursday, May 13, 2021. I got home around 6pm last Thursday and found out that my husband was not home yet. I was worried because he normally gets home around 2pm as a result of his health status.

“I waited till around 9pm and I didn’t see him; I started making calls to some of his colleague newspaper vendors to find out if they saw him.

“Most of them said they saw him in the morning. Then, on Friday morning, we went to make a report at the ‘A’ Division Police Station, but when the police saw his photo, they shouted and said he is a popular vendor in Asaba.

“They asked me to go and check other police stations and hospitals in Asaba. We visited virtually all the police stations in Asaba, even at the ‘B’ Division, where the police said he used to supply them newspapers.”

Ngozi added, “We also went to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. It was when we got to the General Hospital, Okwe, that a call came to my phone and disconnected immediately; so, I called the number back and it was my husband’s voice I heard and he said I should come to the command headquarters.

“We quickly ran to the police headquarters, but we were not allowed to enter. I called the number again and the owner said we should wait outside that the policemen went for an operation. We waited till 1pm and we did not see him.

“When I called the man again, he asked how many people were with me and I told him that I came with only one person; he ended the call and he later told us to come back on Saturday.

“On Saturday, we went back. The police said they searched every cell in the command and didn’t see my husband. They told me to go and search all the police stations in Asaba.

“On Monday, May 17, the number called me again and when I picked, the man ended the call; then, I called back and he asked if I had seen my husband. I said no. He said I should come to the headquarters immediately with food. So, I went to the command headquarters.

“When I went there, I called the man and he took me inside and they were asking if I knew one madam Flozy and I said yes, that she usually gives newspapers to vendors to sell.

“They said I should lead them to madam Flozy’s house, but I told them that she is a popular newspaper vendor in Asaba and if they go to the newspaper distributors’ centre, they would see her there.”

Ngozi called on the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ali, and other influential persons to assist her to find her husband and for the police to state his offence.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bright Edafe, said, “I don’t know anything about the issue beyond the fact that the vendor is in the custody of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit.”

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