trader arrested and detained at the Sango Ota Police Station, Ogun
State, on August 13, 2016, for naming his dog Buhari, has said his life
is no longer safe.
Friday minutes before he was again locked behind bars at the State
Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, the capital, after initially
being released last Tuesday, the father of one who hails from Delta
State, said he feared for his life because he does not know what could
happen to him next.
on Friday after receiving a letter on Thursday evening inviting me to
the Command. I thought I was being called over for a peace talk, I never
knew it was for the purpose of detaining me again.
country, I have never deliberately committed any offence before, I don’t
know why I am being treated like this. I only called the dog that name
for the love I have for President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria, I didn’t
mean to taunt or hurt anybody with it. I don’t know what next could
follow this, I am afraid for my life, I am in danger, please help me,”
Chinakwe said before the telephone line went off.
caused relatives and friends who have been running round to free the
trader serious distress. His 26-year-old wife, Ifeoma, and 18-month-old
daughter, Temi, has also been badly affected by the situation.
her body weight, the woman whined in pain as she made her way from the
bathroom at the back of the small compound into one of the two small
rooms she and her family shares. With eyes still swollen from days of
crying and her bulging stomach putting an extra burden on her shoulders
and weak legs, it is one of the most agonising periods in the life of
the young mother who is almost due for the delivery of her second child.
Since her husband was first arrested on the orders of one Kalilu, a
public toilet operator in their Omikunle neighbourhood who accused him
of deliberately naming his dog Buhari, after his father just to taunt
him and members of the Hausa community, life has not been the same for
development has affected her health and that of Temi terribly. Apart
from now struggling to survive without their breadwinner and
‘protector’, Ifeoma says the two of them have been on medication since
her husband’s travails began.
Ifeoma and her daughter
the heartbroken woman said fighting back tears. “Since I met and
married my husband three years ago, I have never felt this bad or
suffered this much. But since this problem started, I and my daughter
have been badly affected,” she continued. “When I went to the police
station last Sunday morning to see him, the officers instead of allowing
me in, started abusing me. They told me that they would make sure I
give birth behind my husband’s cell. Even though I was crying and
pleading with them to allow me see him, they kept abusing me, not
minding my present condition.
eat well. Also, I and Temi have been very sick and we have been on
medications. On several occasions she would wake me up at night, crying
and asking after her father. I don’t know what to tell her, so I would
alone, so in the evenings, I go to my aunty’s house at Ojuore to stay
till morning before returning home. I am just praying that all the
stress that I have been through and tears that I have shed the past few
days don’t affect the baby or even make me to lose the child because
already, I am not as healthy as I was before this problem started. I
won’t lie to you; life has not been the same for me and my daughter
without him around,” the heavily-pregnant mother said before finally
succumbing to her emotions.
her sorrowful voice rent the entire room – it was the sight of an
injured woman pouring out her heart.
man who also spoke to our correspondent during the visit to the family
house in a remote part of Sango Ota on Friday, said the case apart from
taking its toll on their energies and time, had also drained their
Chinakwe have even had to borrow money from a micro finance bank to hire
lawyers to fight his case – one of whom he said even duped them in the
financially,” Obasi revealed. “The little that we even have has been
exhausted. We have spent everything on us to get a lawyer and also run
around trying to find a solution to this problem. In fact, a few days
ago, we had to borrow some money from a micro finance bank because we
didn’t want him to remain and die in police cell. The first lawyer we
paid to handle the case for us disappeared with our money. We had to go
beyond our power to raise money to hire another lawyer. To be honest, I
cannot estimate the amount of money we have spent so far on this case in
trying to get Joe released,” he said.
Obasi, who said he was with the detained man at the time of his first
arrest last Saturday, explained that all efforts to get the matter
resolved has been frustrated by the accuser and his backers who have
only been pretending to be on the side of peace.
was the name of his father and that Joe deliberately gave his dog that
name to taunt him and the rest of the Hausa residents in the area. But
we are still wondering if it is now an offence to give your pet animal
the name of your choice. Even if you say it is an offence, at least we
have all sat together to resolve the whole issue and the man himself has
shown some sense of responsibility by saying he was sorry if his action
offended anybody. So, why is he still being harassed till now? This is
not fair. His persecution is affecting his pregnant wife and little
daughter who have both been very sick as a result of the problem,” he
public toilet Kalilu operates which is just a few yards away from
Omikunle Street where the 41-year-old detained trader lives with his
family, the accuser was said to have also gone to the police command at
the state capital. The men at the place refused to speak on the matter,
asking our correspondent to come back later in the evening. They also
refused to supply the mobile phone number of their kinsman.
who did not disclose his name but is privy to details of the matter,
told our correspondent that the accused was arrested because his action
was intended at causing public unrest in the community which has a large
Igbo and Hausa presence.
named his dog Buhari but also inscribed it on its body and usually
walked with it into the midst of the Hausas, a claim the 41-year-old and
his relatives denied vehemently.
Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police,
revealed on Friday that the accused would be arraigned at the Sango
Magistrate Court on Monday.
is being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department. The charge
will be prepared and he will be arraigned at Sango Magistrate Court on
Monday. What he did was highly provocative, it can cause ethnic and
religious crisis,” he said.
particular case is novel as far as law was concerned in Nigeria to the
best of his knowledge, he said the police cannot arrest and detain a
person except they are able to prove that the individual’s action is
indeed capable of causing breach of public peace.
would name a dog after his neighbour’s father as alleged because
according to him it could be a bit offensive even though it was not a