Home Human Rights 5 Years After Disappearance, Badagry Prison Official Claims Afamefuna Has Been Moved To Another Prison
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5 Years After Disappearance, Badagry Prison Official Claims Afamefuna Has Been Moved To Another Prison

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Afamefuna

The family of Afamefuna Innocent Ozoemena, a 34-year-old man born in May 1990, are enduring an agonising ordeal and demanding his whereabouts following his arrest by the Nigerian police in May 2019 and his mysterious disappearance subsequently.

Nigerian Police officers apprehended Afamefuna at a trade fair market in Lagos State on charges unbeknownst to his family, who were informed of his arrest by concerned friends.

Afamefuna, originally from Achalla in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, had relocated to Lagos in early 2019 to be with his aunt and elder sister.

However, his sudden disappearance in May of that year sparked a frantic search by his worried family.

Witnesses claimed he was forcefully taken away after being beaten from the trade fair market in a Hilux vehicle adorned with a police logo, according to a family member who spoke to West Africa Weekly.

His elder brother, tasked with uncovering the reason for Afamefuna’s arrest and securing his release, was directed to a senior officer named Inspector Toba at Agboju Police Station. However, after the police denied that he was not there, though his name, written as “Alfamefuna,” was in their May 19, 2019 register, Inspector Toba disclosed that Afamefuna had been transferred to the task force office in Oshodi.

When he reached the Oshodi task force office, he discovered that there were lawyers there who sentenced people to prison when nobody came for them. Regardless, they did not provide information on Afamefuna’s whereabouts.

Subsequently, he searched at Ikoyi, Kiri Kiri, and Badagry prisons without success.

Despite their relentless efforts, including visits to numerous prisons and police stations, the family remained clueless about Afamefuna’s location, leading them to believe he might have died.

“We had given up on him and even concluded he must have died going by what we were told,” the family said.

However, their hope was rekindled when a fellow detainee, a man from their town recently released from Badagry prison, informed them of Afamefuna’s presence there. Desperate for answers, Afamefuna’s aunt rushed to the prison, only to be told otherwise by the authorities.

“My aunt rushed down to Badagry prison with food, fruit, and drinks to look for him, but when she got there, the officer in charge told her there was no such person there and told her to leave,” a family member told WAW.

“She broke down crying and was about to leave when another officer asked her to show him my uncle’s picture. He did not remember him at first, but my aunt called our town man who gave us the information and gave the officer the phone.

“After he explained my uncle (Afamefuna) to him, the officer said he remembered that he was there until March, but he had been moved and couldn’t tell which prison they took him to. He told my aunt to check at Kiri Kiri that they moved some prisoners there due to overpopulation. The next day, my aunt went to Kiri Kiri but didn’t find him,” she said.

According to the family member, all attempts to obtain information from law enforcement officials have been met with hostility, thereby exacerbating the family’s distress as they appeal to the public for any information that may lead to his whereabouts because up until this moment, it is unknown to the family.

This story also brings to light the challenges faced by families of missing persons in Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

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