By CHUKS EKE
An Onitsha-based businessman, Mr. Michael Ugwa, has sent a ‘Save Our Soul’, SOS message to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, asking him to intervene in the threat to his life by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO of Central Police Station, CPS, Onitsha, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Iburu.
In the petition by Ugwa’s lawyer, Madukaego Uzoigwe, dated August 5, 2021,but submitted and received by the office of the Commissioner on August 6, 2021, Ugwa alleged that the DPO, Iburu has not only threatened his life but also taken steps to that effect by dispatching armed and plain cloth Policemen to his shop at Old Mercedes Lorry Spare Parts Market, Nkpor, a suburb of Onitsha on different occasions.
The lawyer in the petition which was copied to the the Police Service Commission, PSC, Inspector-General of Police, IGP and, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, zone 13, Ukpo, Anambra state also alleged that there was “serious threat of arrest and detention or kidnap of Mr. Michael Ugwa by Mr. Iburu, the DPO, CPS, Onitsha, adding that the DPO had trailed his client, Ugwa with armed plain cloth Policemen and threatened to deal ruthlessly with him.
“The problem, said the legal practitioner, started when the DPO on June 18, 2021 approached his client to purchase his 1513 tipper truck through his client’s mechanic, one Chizoba at his (Chizoba)’s mechanic workshop beside Old Mercedes Spare Parts iMarket at Nkpor, where the vehicle was on display for sale”.
“After negotiation, said the legal practitioner, they agreed at the price of six million, six hundred and fifty thousand naira (N6,650,000) but not without disagreement which made Iburu to warn his client to be aware that he is the DPO of CPS, Onitsha.
Uzoigwe said Iburu paid N6.6 million in three instalments, remaining fifty thousand naira but his client refused to release the truck until the remaining N50,000 is paid by Iburu.
He however allowed Mr. Iburu to commence the plate numbering even before concluding the payment, but curiously, while driving one day, he saw a driver with the vehicle on the road and he claimed that he was testing it.
Ugwa however, told him to return the vehicle since they have not fully paid.
At this juncture Iburu called Ugwa, requesting to take the vehicle and that he would pay the balance in the next two weeks, which said he rejected.
This, said the lawyer, irritated the DPO who allegedly boasted and threatened to deal with Ugwa, who pleaded with the DPO to send his account number so that he would return his money because he does not want problem with anybody.
At about 6.30pm on Saturday, June 19, 2021, the DPO paid another six hundred thousand (N600,000) and demanded to take the vehicle which Ugwa refused because the last fifty thousand (50,000)), had not been paid.
The DPO again, said the lawyer threatened his client, then came at about 8pm with the mechanic and called his client to come and collect his remaining money but his client told them it was too late for him to come out.
After much pressure from the DPO, he went and was shocked when the DPO besieged him with armed Policemen to carry the truck by force, without completing the balance.
Shocked Ugwa raised alarm which attracted people who prevailed on him to allow the DPO take away the truck.
As Ugwa was going with pain and the DPO was driving away the truck , people persuaded him to pray and bless the vehicle, which he reluctantly did and left, while the DPO with his armed men drove away the truck.
After this incident, said the lawyer, an insurance lady came on June 21, 2021, with purchase receipt agreement of the sum of eight million naira (N8 million) for his client to sign but he refused to sign, which elicited another round of threat from the DPO. He later signed the purchase agreement of exact amount.
However, on July 30, 2021, the chairman of Old Spare Parts , Nkpor, Mr. Chukwujekwu Elobi, invited Ugwa to his office, where he met the DPO and the chairman told him that the DPO said the truck was not good.
The chairman pleaded with Ugwa to assist the DPO to fix the truck in the interest of peace, which Ugwa agreed and they left the office happily.
On Monday being August 2, 2021, said Uzoigwe, the chairman called Ugwa again and told him that the DPO wants to return the vehicle, so that he would replace the engine with Belgium one because according to the chairman his client had invoked juju on the truck just because he did not fully pay the amount.
The lawyer said his client denied doing such a thing and swore that he can never do such a thing as a Christian.
Said the lawyer: “The next day, your DPO, Mr. Iburu Ifeanyichukwu trailed Mr. Ugwa Michael with his armed plain clothed policemen threatened that he has men that will ruthlessly close him down and finish him up” He also alleged that at a stage, the DPO demanded for the refund of the N6.6 million which he paid for the purchase of the truck, after using the truck for two months.
Uzoigwe said that the DPO wanted to buy another truck from his client who refused to sell, stating that in the process of these threats, the truck DPO wanted to buy was reported stolen in the conductor’s house where it was parked in Asaba, Delta State. The conductor, said the lawyer, is of the same State origin with the DPO.
” The DPO has continued to threaten our client, Mr. Ugwa Michael including this morning which he threatened that he will kill him and dispose his body into a river for fishes to feed on.
“Sir, it is on the above backdrop that our client, who is presently psycholocally and physically traumatized has requested us to write this petition and we hereby entreat you to sagaciously call Iburu to order” said the legal practitioner.
Uzoigwe also appealed to the Commissioner of Police as vanguard for the defence of human rights to cause DPO, Mr. Iburu to enter into undertaken that nothing will happen to his client’s life before it becomes too late.