Anxiety has gripped family members and friends of the Edo State Deputy Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Usman Mogaji, whose whereabouts are still unknown while they allege being harassed by soldiers.
His family members also alleged that soldiers from the Nigerian Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Auchi, arrested the party chief’s son, cousin, cook and security man and have held them incommunicado since Sunday.
Counsel to Mogaji, Hilary Oshomah, who was in Benin City on Monday, to formally report the incident at the state Police Command, told newsmen that the soldiers were allegedly acting on instructions from their Commandant and a top politician, who came with soldiers to supervise the “disruption of the election”.
According to him, Mogaji’s offence was that he mobilised voters to resist the attempt by the suspected politician, who he identified as Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Oshomah alleged that Dokpesi was behind the travails of his client, adding “He came with soldiers and Brigadier General Odidi, Commandant of the Nigerian Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (NASEME), Auchi”.
He alleged further that “incidentally, he (Odidi) is a kinsman of Raymond Dokpesi. When they went to Mogaji’s house, fortunately for him, he got wind of it and hid in the rooftop of his building, where he watched as they (soldiers) brutalised members of his (Mogaji) family.
“The security man was mercilessly beaten, while they insisted that he must disclose where his boss was, but, they left with the promise that they were coming back and, actually, on Sunday, they returned in the early hours of the morning and, with the development of the previous day, Mogaji did not sleep at home.
“They returned with 40 fully armed soldiers, broke into the house as they shot the door down to gain entry, vandalised the property, smashed doors and windows, the pellets are there, and at the end of the day, they, forcibly, took away members of his (Mogaji) family, including the security man, son, who just returned from Sweden, the cook and cousin.
“They took them to their barracks, where they subjected them to marathon beating and torture and at the end of the day, threw them into the guard room, where they are still being held, for no offence, other than that they should produce their father.He alleged further that the soldiers claimed that they “have instruction from above to get him (Mogaji) dead or alive.The latest information is that they have even sent a message to the Otaru of Auchi, that they were aware that Mogaji was taking refuge in the palace and that he should give himself up and as today, over 40 soldiers still occupy his house.”
He demanded that “the rights and privileges should be respected, they should vacate his property and his wards and children being detained should be released, unconditionally”.