Mrs Chidimma Edozieuno, a middle-aged woman whose husband died in the detention of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria has asked that the body of her late husband be released to her for proper burial.
Edozieuno who on Thursday testified before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) sitting in Awka, the capital of Anambra pleaded with Justice Veronica Umeh, Chairman of the panel to prevail on the Nigerian Police to release the body of her husband, late Johnson Edozieuno still in their custody to her.
She also asked the panel to make the Police return her property and pay reasonable compensation to her and her family who were left behind by her late husband.
She told the panel that her husband who was based in Cotonou, Republic of Benin was arrested in 2017 by some men she later found out to be SARS operatives over an allegation of being a kidnapper.
Justice Veronica Umeh, Chairman of the panel, assured that the claims in the petition submitted by the widow would be investigated while recommendations would be made.
Edozieuno who spoke to journalists after appearing before the panel, disclosed that she and her husband had lived in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin before the deceased relocated them to Nigeria while still living there.
Now, living in Okpanam Delta State, South-South Nigeria, she said her late husband was from Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.
She recalled during one of her husband’s visits after she gave birth in 2017, some unknown Police operatives later identified as officers of disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested him in the early hours of August 1, 2017.
Edozieuno said the policemen who stormed their Ichida Street residence in Awka that morning were in mufti.
She said her property including a fridge and fan were also carted away to an unknown destination by the policemen who did not disclose their base or where they were taking her husband to.
But the only thing they told her was that her husband was a kidnapper and that she would not see him again.
“They said my husband was a kidnapper and I will not see him again. So, I should go and marry another husband and truly, that was the last time I saw him,” she said.
The widow said after searching in the police stations around Awka without success, information got to her that her husband was being tortured and detained at the disbanded SARS facility, Awkuzu.
She said a legal process commenced at the State High Court, Awka to secure his release and that in the process also in 2017, the legal department of SARS informed the court that her husband had died.
The matter was struck out of the court because of the death of Johnson Edozieuno, she added.
A total of 33 petitions were filed at the Anambra JPI while only five petitions were heard on Thursday.
The chairman said the panel would write to the Police Command to ensure that personnel from the Legal Department were made available to participate in the sittings.