The most ugly arguments stem from misunderstandings within the immediate family. We were contacted by Mr. Chiebuka who narrated how a disagreement between his sister and himself escalated into something much more serious when she complained to the security forces that he was threatening her.
It has all started early this year, when he found out that his sister had sold their late father’s house located in Oke-Aro area of Ogun State. Chiebuka was not happy about the decision his sister made without his consent, but, not wanting to initiate an argument, just asked for his share of money.
His sister told him to wait a little, but time passed, and he became impatient and sent her a text message demanding to deposit money to his bank account “or she will be supprised with what will happen”. He says he did not mean to threaten his sister, rather just to prompt her to make the transaction. After a while, he apologized for the aggressive text message and explained to her he needed the money to further his education in the United States.
Since he got no response from his sibling, he forgot about the issue. Later, his business client who had to deposit a certain amount of money to his account informed him that the said bank account had some problems. Thinking that the client simply did not have enough money to pay him, Chiebuka was not alerted. The problem resurfaced, however, when he ran out of cash while in Lagos and went to a bank to retrieve some.
When the ATM brought out a slip stating that his transaction was denied, he entered the bank to see and complain to the manager who asked him to wait for a while until the matter is settled. After some time, some men came into the bank, searched him, handcuffed him and whisked him away to a Shangisha Department of State Service office “like a common criminal”.
Chiebuka was refused the right to call his lawyer or speak with the Chief Security Officer and thrown “into a dark room” where he spent three weeks before he was called out to write a statement on how he threatened his sister. Then, an undertaking was brought to him which read that Chiebuka is not allowed to go near his father’s property again. Since he refused to sign, he was thrown to his confinement cell once again.
A few days later, he was called out and read another undertaking – that he will not infict harm on his sister – and was forced to sign it. Only then was he given back his phone and allowed to call his friends who said they had checked all police stations and even some earby mortuaries while looking for him. A friend came and bailed him out eventually.
His bank account is still blocked, his sight deteriorated after the confinement and he apparently lost his job. Now Chiebuka says he “pleads for justice” and asks help from human rights lawyers.
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