Mrs Rita Okungbowa, who appeared before the Edo Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses, has told the panel how she had not seen her husband for eight years, since he was arrested by the disbanded operatives.
She said that SARs operatives had invaded their house and whisked her husband away and his whereabouts had remained unknown till date.
According to her, “On the 12 day of Sept., 2012, the SARS came to my own house and picked my husband. They alleged him to be a kidnapper. My mother-in-law and I went to the State Criminal Investigation Department, and immediately I mentioned the name of my husband, they drove us away. They did not allow us to see him.
“The next day, we also came, they did not allow us to see him. So, one of the police officers then told us that they had taken him to court and, thereafter, to the prison.
“So, I asked which of the prisons, they said the white house (that is the maximum Correctional Centre at Sapele Road). We went there; we did not see him; we went back to the station, but they later referred us to Oko Correctional Centre and, still, we did not see him there.
“So, I decided to take a lawyer. When we got to the station, the OC then asked, who was in charge of the matter. He was told it was one Sgt. Esezobo who was said to be in the canteen. We went to the canteen and immediately he saw us, he ran away. I have been going to the police station to search for him (my husband) and I have not set my eyes on him for the past eight years.
“Because of that, I decided to approach the panel so that they can help me ask the disbanded SARS where they kept my husband. It is now eight years and some months.”
She told the panel that her husband, a Bini movie director, Prince Osayande Okungbowa, was tagged a kidnapper and since he was taken away by SARS operatives, all efforts to locate where he was kept had proved abortive.
Okungbowa noted that even when she displayed his photograph before inmates at the correctional centre, they all denied seeing a person like him.
She told the panel that, having waited this long, she had concluded that he may have been killed by the men of the disbanded SARS.
Okungbowa asked the panel for N20 million compensation for the alleged death of her husband in the hands of disbanded SARS to enable her provide her children with a better life. “The panel should help me to tell them to provide my husband if he is still alive, and if he is no more the panel should compel them to come and settle me.
“They should pay me N20million because I have been passing through hard times. Look at my two kids, they have not been going to school for a very long time. In fact, even house rent, I can’t pay. I sleep in the church – Celestial Church of Christ – that is where I normally stay because there is no money to rent a house.
“I don’t have anything doing, I go out to wash people’s clothes just to survive. Is that not painful? They should settle me with N20million so that I can start a good business and to also take my children back to a good school,” she said. (NAN)