Posted By: Nwanosike Onu, Awka
APRIL 27, 2015 is a day Chief Ifeanyichukwu Nwokoye would not forget in a hurry. It was the day men of the Department of State Service (DSS) brutalised him in front of his wife for refusing to dance to their tune. The chairman of President Mohammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign team in Anambra State during the 2007 electioneering campaigns is a high chief of Ide Anambra, Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra State.
The humiliation of the Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC ) in Anambra State by officials of the DSS had angered the then state director of DSS, Mr Alex Okeiyi, who apparently was not in the know of his men’s mission on that day. The fully armed errant DSS officials, made up of two men and woman, had stormed May Roses Hotel in Anambra to demand the list of some expatriate medical doctors Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, had invited into the country.
The red eyed officials of DSS allegedly accused Nwokoye, the owner of the hotel, of not according recognition their office situated in Amawbia by paying the necessary royalties. But for divine intervention and the decision to flow the APC leader abroad for thorough medical attention, Nwokoye would most probably have been dead or at least become a blind man as a result of the battering he received from the DSS officials. Although he has returned from his medical trip abroad, his right shoulder is still in need of additional operation while his eyes require further surgery.
How he was brutalised
Recalling the ugly experience in a chat with The Nation, Nwokoye said: “I was in the hotel on that fateful day when a Toyota Camry car occupied by three people drove in and walked straight to the reception to make inquiries.
“As their voices became loud in altercation with the secretary, I opened the door to my office to ask what was going on. My secretary said she told the female one among the visitors not to sit on the chair handle and they became furious.
“I supported my secretary and told the lady to sit properly, but she said the leather seat was dirty. I then ushered them into my office.
“But rather than come in, they started taking positions. One of them blocked the entrance, another took a seat while the female one stood close to me. I asked who they were and they said they were DSS officials.
“Suspecting that the names they gave me were fake, I demanded for their identity cards. One of them flashed it and immediately returned it into his pocket. I protested that I did not see it and insisted on seeing their identity cards.
“Since they refused to show me their ID cards, I told them to leave my office if they were not ready to do so or I would leave for them because of the spate of kidnappings and armed robbery cases in the land.
“When I saw that they were not willing to cooperate, I stood up to leave for them, but the huge one among them stood up and ordered me to sit down or they would kill me immediately.
“The shouting in my office became unbearable and my wife, Jessie, came in to ask what was going on. But they shouted at her and unbuttoned their suits for us to see their guns.
“At that point, I jumped out of the room and called the Divisional Police officer (DPO), telling him about the situation.
“When they saw me making a call, one of them came out and also put a call across to somebody. I did not know that they were calling their office for reinforcement.
“Within 10 minutes, a white Toyota Hilux filled with fully armed people arrived at the hotel in a commando style. They dragged me out with my wife and started hitting us in the presence of our employees.
“They bundled us into the Toyota Hilux vehicle and drove us to the DSS office at Amawbia, dragging us out like common criminals.
“They removed my trouser, shirt and undies and left me stark naked, with their officials, male and female, watching me and my wife.
“They pushed us into their cell with nothing to cover my body while they kept hitting my wife with gun butt and kicking me.
“We were in the cell when one of them came and dragged me out, hitting me in the eyes and below the belt until I fainted.
“Before I fainted, one of the officers would hit and kick me and told me to say, ‘Thank you sir,’ which I continued to say. It was a real humiliation of my person.
“When I came out stark naked, I saw one fair-complexioned young man and I was told he was the Director, Mr Alex Okeiyi, who ordered them to give me my trousers and shirt to cover my body.
“That was exactly what happened. I heard the man saying that they should take me to their clinic before I die. From there on, I stopped remembering any other thing.
“When I regained consciousness, I saw one Uche Onyiliofor who contested the House of Representatives election under APGA, and he brought me home in his vehicle.”
Since the incident, top politicians in the state have been calling and visiting the APC man. They include Senator Andy Uba, Senator Chris Ngige, Former Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Chief Simon Okeke, among others.
Although he has returned to Nigeria from medical trip abroad, Nwokoye, told The Nation that within the next few weeks, he would travel out again for further operations on his eyes and shoulders.
Members of the APC both in Anambra and at the national level have called on President Mohammadu Buhari to set up a committee to investigate the incident and find out why Nwokoye was battered and humiliated by the DSS men with a view to punishing the culprits.
According to the victim, “I have never witnessed something like this all my life. I was treated like a common criminal by the DSS. What pained me the most was that they were hitting me and were telling me to say ‘thank you sir’ each time they hit me.
“Already, I am working on taking them to court so that they can tell the world what I did to to warrant such beating and humiliation.”
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