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I lost my wife due to unlawful detention by police, widower tells Edo panel

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By Francis Ogbuagu, Benin City

A widower, Mr. Osazee Agbontaen, 33, on Monday appeared before the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses to appeal for compensation over the death of his wife, Mrs Agbontaen.

Mr. Agbontaen, a farmer and electrical Engineer at Ekowe Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state, said he was arrested unlawfully based on a petition written against him and was detained for two weeks and subsequently taken to prison.

“When I was at home, around 2 am, some policemen invaded my house and started banging on my door and because I didn’t open for them on time, they pounced on me and started beating me up.

“They asked me if I did not know that they were police officers. They beat me up, dragged me on the floor before throwing me into their van.

“They took me to their station mainwhile, I was already having a pregnant woman as a wife at home. She was with an eight months old pregnancy.

“So they took me to their station where I spent almost two weeks in their custody before they remanded me to prison”, he said.

The widower said why he decided to approach the panel for compensation was that, if he were around, he would have been able to assist his late wife and perhaps, she would have not died.

“It was when I was in the prison that my family members came to tell me that my wife has put to bed through Cesearal Section, (CS) and 10 days later, they also came to inform me in the prison that she has died and that she couldn’t make it.

“I was confused when I heard the news of the death of my wife”, he said.

He complained that he has lost everything he had and that while in the prison besides lossing his wife, his farm was overgrown with weeds just as he said that the left over parts of his farm were later destroyed by fire.

He noted that upon thorough investigations, the Department of Public Prosecutions, (DPP) and his Investigating Police Officer, (IPO) came up to say he has no case to answer.

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