How Imo Man Spent 10 Months in DSS Custody For Preventing 2 Angry Neighbours From Fighting
Francis Ibeh, a resident of Okigwe in Imo State, has narrated how his brother, Vincent Ibeh Maduabuchi, has been held in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for 10 months over his involvement in diffusing a brewing combat between two neighbours.
He told THE PRESS that his family had been unable to establish contact with his brother since his transfer to the DSS and had been in agony as a result.
According to Ibeh, Maduabuchi’s transfer to the DSS came after his initial arrest by the infamous Ebubeagu group in Okigwe.
The arrest occurred on November 28, 2022, when Maduabuchi intervened in a dispute between two neighboring individuals.
Ibeh explained that on that evening, two quarreling neighbors were on the verge of engaging in a combat when Maduabuchi stepped in to deescalate the situation.
He recounted, “The two individuals involved in the altercation eventually parted ways. However, unbeknownst to my brother, one of the disputing neighbors conspired with his girlfriend to involve the Ebubeagu group after the matter had been resolved by the tenants in accordance with their community regulations.”
Upon receiving the news of his arrest, Ibeh’s family attempted to contact Maduabuchi but were instructed to return on November 29. When they complied with the directive, the Ebubeagu group informed them that Maduabuchi had been transferred to the custody of the DSS along with Ogechukwu Orjiakor, one of his friends who had been arrested alongside him.
“This news came as a shock to us, as it was perplexing that a man who had intervened to prevent a fight was now being unfairly targeted and detained by the DSS,” he said.
“Since his arrest and subsequent transfer to the DSS, my brother, a civil servant, husband, father and responsible individual, has neither been located nor heard from. It has been a period of 10 months,” said Ibeh.
“I am certain that he is still in the DSS custody in Owerri. Individuals who were held there and subsequently released have informed us that he is there. The man arrested same time as him has since been released, but he’s still there.”
THE PRESS sought to obtain comments from Peter Afunnaya of the DSS regarding this matter but he stated that he was not aware of the situation.
THE PRESS also attempted to contact the Ebubeagu group, but very limited information is available about the organisation online, with reports of human rights abuses being the most visible.