Mr. Joachim Chinakwe, the 41-year-old trader arrested and detained at the Sango Ota Police Station, Ogun State, on August 13, 2016, for naming his dog Buhari, has said his life is no longer safe.
Speaking with The Punch correspondent on Friday minutes before he was again locked behind bars at the State Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, the capital, after initially being released last Tuesday, the father of one who hails from Delta State, said he feared for his life because he does not know what could happen to him next.
“I had to leave for Eleweran very early on Friday after receiving a letter on Thursday evening inviting me to the Command. I thought I was being called over for a peace talk, I never knew it was for the purpose of detaining me again.
“I am a law-abiding citizen of this country, I have never deliberately committed any offence before, I don’t know why I am being treated like this. I only called the dog that name for the love I have for President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria, I didn’t mean to taunt or hurt anybody with it. I don’t know what next could follow this, I am afraid for my life, I am in danger, please help me,” Chinakwe said before the telephone line went off.
The latest twist to the matter has caused relatives and friends who have been running round to free the trader serious distress
Obinna Obasi, a relation to the detained man who also spoke to our correspondent during the visit to the family house in a remote part of Sango Ota on Friday, said the case apart from taking its toll on their energies and time, had also drained their pockets.
He said relatives and friends of Chinakwe have even had to borrow money from a micro finance bank to hire lawyers to fight his case – one of whom he said even duped them in the process.
“This matter has really drained us financially,” Obasi revealed. “The little that we even have has been exhausted. We have spent everything on us to get a lawyer and also run around trying to find a solution to this problem. In fact, a few days ago, we had to borrow some money from a micro finance bank because we didn’t want him to remain and die in police cell. The first lawyer we paid to handle the case for us disappeared with our money. We had to go beyond our power to raise money to hire another lawyer. To be honest, I cannot estimate the amount of money we have spent so far on this case in trying to get Joe released,” he said.
An officer at the Sango Police Station who did not disclose his name but is privy to details of the matter, told our correspondent that the accused was arrested because his action was intended at causing public unrest in the community which has a large Igbo and Hausa presence.
According to him, Chinakwe not only named his dog Buhari but also inscribed it on its body and usually walked with it into the midst of the Hausas, a claim the 41-year-old and his relatives denied vehemently.
Acting spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, revealed on Friday that the accused would be arraigned at the Sango Magistrate Court on Monday.
“The man is here with us at Eleweran, he is being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department. The charge will be prepared and he will be arraigned at Sango Magistrate Court on Monday. What he did was highly provocative, it can cause ethnic and religious crisis,” he said.