Woman threatens suicide if police fail to produce missing son

Mrs. Wuche Ajuru, the mother of a 23-year-old man, Mr. Happiness Ajuru, who disappeared from police custody in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has threatened to commit suicide with her husband if the police failed to produce her son.

Happiness, who hails from Ndele community in Emohua Local Government Area, was arrested on September 28, 2016 by a team of policemen. But after five days in detention at the Rumoji Police State cell, he went missing. No reason was given for the young man’s arrest, even as the sum of N49,000 and a mobile phone was allegedly taken away from him.

Ajuru told journalists in Port Harcourt on Friday that she was afraid and could go insane as it dawned on her that her son might have been killed by the police as an extrajudicial execution.

The 38-year-old woman was in tears as she told one of our correspondents that she and her husband would hang themselves if the police refused to explain what happened to their son.

She accused one Sampson Agbaru, an elder in the community, of unduly meddling in the matter.

The woman stated that although she was aware that about four persons were arrested after the NationReformer.com publication on January 20, 2018 in connection with the matter, these persons, including one Okechukwu Eleonu, who she gave N60,000 to bail her innocent son, had since been released.

Ajuru, a garri (cassava flour) vendor, said that the police were plotting to sweep the matter under the carpet because she was a poor woman, who would not be able to afford to pursue the matter further.

She said, “I know that I am a poor woman, but I am ready to commit suicide if the police refuse to tell me where they kept my Happiness. Agbaru is not a policeman; he should not meddle in this matter. If he continues to meddle in this matter, my husband and I will commit suicide in his compound.

“They are treating me this way because I am a poor woman. I don’t have money, but I have God, who is greater than Agbaru, Eleonu and the police. I want the matter to go to court because I don’t trust the police again. I will continue to fight for my son till I die.

“Why did they collect N3,000 from me? I also gave N5,000 to fuel police car. What happened to the N60,000 which was collected from me and was supposed to be given to the Divisional Police Officer to release my son. If they continue to lie, I will go to court. Let the police tell me where my child is. My son is innocent; he is not a cult member.”

Her lawyer, Mr. Ransome Worgu, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to look into the matter and unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his client’s son from police cell in Rumuji, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Worgu alleged that Eleonu had jumped bail in 2013 after he was arrested by the police in connection with a case related to attempted murder and was granted bail in the matter concerning the disappearance of Happiness from police cell.

Mrs. Ajuru’s lawyer also alleged that a policeman had threatened his client that she would be killed the way her son was killed if she continued to seek Happiness’ whereabouts.

“I don’t know the motive behind the quick release of those allegedly involved in my client’s son’s disappearance from police cell. My client was invited to Abuja but she had no money to embark on such a journey. We will continue to pursue this matter because we want this to be the last time the police will kill innocent persons in their custody,” Worgu said.

When NationReformer.com reached out to Agbaru, he, however, denied any knowledge about the disappearance of Happiness from police custody.

He said that he only bailed Eleonu when he was held at the police station sometime ago. Agbaru, who is a former Secretary to the State Government, accused Ajuru of planning to kill him, adding that she (Ajuru) had been trying to tarnish his image.

“If she says she would commit suicide in my compound, she may be surprised to hear that I may be the first to die in her compound. I know nothing about the boy they are talking about. I only went to bail Eleonu when I learnt he was arrested by the police. The woman, who is accusing me, is about my daughter’s age. I am 84 years old and she should be held responsible if anything happens to me,” Agbaru said.

The DPO at the station where Happiness went missing is now the Edo State Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The commander, Mr. Idachaba, denied receiving the said amount from Happiness’s mother. He explained that he had been accosted by a woman, who claimed to have sent the sum of N60,000 to him, through a youth leader, to release a suspect who might have been arrested during an operation against suspected cult members and militants.

He said, “I want to bring it to your notice that sometime in June, 2016, I was transferred to that place (Rumuji Police Station) because the station was attacked by cult members and militants. The DPO then was removed and I was brought in. Shortly after I got to the place, I was equally attacked by this same group of miscreants but they could not gain entry into the station.

“That same night, we had reinforcements and we pursued the cult members into a nearby community where we were able to kill two and recover one of their guns.

“The woman (Ajuru) met me and said that a youth leader from her community collected money in my name, as a DPO. She said the man was coming to give me the money for me to release somebody that I might have arrested. When the woman met me, I told her to go and ask the man.

“The woman came back and admitted that the man did not give me the money to release anybody and I told her that I do not have the record of the person she was talking about in my station. When we invited the person she gave the money to, we called her to come and substantiate her allegation, but she did not come.”

Idachaba also denied knowing Happiness during his stay as a DPO in the area.

He said he was transferred out of the station in December, 2016.

“The disappearance of the man (Happiness) in 2017 is something I do not know about. I do not know him,” he said.

However, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said that the matter was still under investigation.

“The last time I checked, I noticed that the matter (disappearance of Happiness Ajuru from police cell) was being investigated by the State Criminal Investigation Department,” he said.