Tony Osauzo, Benin
A former Commissioner for Education in the defunct Bendel State, Dr Nosa Omoregie, aged 79, reportedly collapsed and was rushed to hospital on Wednesday in Benin City, following a visit from a team of policemen from the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at his house on Aigbokhian street, Oghoghobi, off Sapele road.
Mrs Julie Omoregie, the wife of the former commissioner, who raised the alarm over the state of health of her husband as a result of the alleged incessant harassment by the police on the family, told reporters that the police have visited them up to four times, asking the family to release one John Mayaki for arrest.
‘They came and pasted an invitation letter on our gate. They said we should produce one John Mayaki and we told them the man was no longer here because he has sold the property to us. But they insisted that we are hiding him in the house,’ Mrs Omoregie said.
‘Then they said they wanted to search our house and I asked where is the warrant paper because it is difficult to know if they are true police, so I asked for their warrant paper.
‘But before I returned back to the house, my husband who is hypertensive had already collapsed and I had to rush him to the hospital. His blood pressure had shot up and doctors have to battle to bring it down.
The wife of the former commissioner threatened to hold the police responsible if anything should happen to her husband.
Daily Sun learnt that the police in a letter posted on the gate of Dr Omoregie’s premises said they are ‘inviting John Mayaki to its headquarters on allegation of defamatory publication and conduct likely to cause breach of the peace.’
Reacting to the complaints of the Omoregie’s family, Edo State Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the CID, Yusuf Usman, explained that ‘there was a petition from Governor Godwin Obaseki personally signed by him and another one from his lawyer since January 10 this year.
‘It was based on that petition that we invited Mayaki. It was a petition bordering on defamation and libel,’ he explained.
He, however, said the police is not aware that Mayaki had sold the house to the former commissioner, adding that ‘we have even traced him to Igarra. The police have to do its job and that is what we are doing, otherwise, we may be seen as taking side if we did not act on the petition.’
He said that his men visited Dr Omoregie’s residence on Wednesday for the first time, stressing that he was not aware of any previous visits.
But a statement in Benin City by the Moses Oisakede Leadership Foundation, entitled “Reign of terror in Edo State: Leave John Mayaki alone” said:
‘We do not understand what concerns the Nigeria Police with a case of defamation. The case of defamation is a civil matter and cannot be criminalised. We can state without any fear that the addendum by the police on “conduct likely to cause breach of the peace” is an invention intended for an evil agenda.
‘It is included to create a basis for the arrest of John Mayaki by the Police, Edo State Command, as has been designed by their paymaster. We state that it is illogical and betrays the intentions of the police on this matter,’ the statement read, signed by Kennedy Ifeh, the Exective Secretary of the Foundation.