By Adenike Lucas
A UK based journalist picked up by Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS in the early morning of New Year’s day, has spoken about the impact the arrest has had on his family.
Daniel Elombah’s and six members of his family were ruthlessly surrounded and in a gestapo like action, were carted from the family compound in Edoji Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra state.
The arrest is alleged to have been because of an article that was deemed critical of the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris.
According to Daniel, the men who struck around 5 am on January 1, 2018, “climbed over the gate with their ladder and ransacked the entire house.”
“At the end of the operation, 6 adult male members of the family including myself were handcuffed, herded into a rickety bus and driven to the SARS Nnewi office where we were briefly detained,” he wrote days on Facebook.
While Daniel was released a day after his arrest, his brother Timothy regained his freedom 25-days after.
DENISAURUS News understands that the London based reporter for an online website Elombah.com, has since been charged with cyber crime, cyber bullying and cyber stalking.
This newspaper gathered that Daniel is yet to be served.
The father of two, who spoke exclusively to DENISAURUS News from Lagos, Nigeria, said his family are yet to get over the whole ordeal.
“My children are still traumatised about this,” he said: “I heard my five-year-old went to school and told the teacher that I have been kidnapped and that is why I did not come back with them.
“My eight-year-old told friends that I was arrest by Police. Living in London, they have never seen policemen with guns. It was a traumatic experience for them. I doubt they have been able to comprehend it.”
Mr Elombah and Timothy – editor of the news site, have since sued the Nigerian Police Force through their lawyer, Festus Keyamo, SAN.
The UK Government through it’s consulate in Nigeria is offering support to Daniel, a British citizen.
The House of Representatives has also launched an investigation into their unlawful arrests.
Chris Azubogu, rep member for Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Constituency, received a petition from Online Publishers Association of Nigeria of Nigeria, OPAN, which prompted him to raised the issue on the floor.
The Committee on Public Petitions, which is assigned with dealing with issues like this is yet to report back on the matter.
According to Daniel, “This case has raised several issues. The use of an area court to obtain warrant instead of a magistrate court. The use of criminal proceeding in a matter that should be treated in a civil court.”
Though, he’d like to just head home to his family in London, his ultimate prayer is that this “germane issues are dealt with properly.”