Abducted Anambra LP candidate's wife writes prisons, demands probe of suspects' VIP treatment

Abducted Anambra LP candidate’s wife writes prisons, demands probe of suspects’ VIP treatment

Eucharia Agbasimalo, wife of the abducted Labour Party governorship candidate during the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Obiora Agbasimalo, has written an open letter to the correctional centre in Anambra State, seeking a probe into “VIP treatments” allegedly given to the two suspects in custody arrested in connection with the abduction.

She said the suspects allegedly behind her husband’s “mysterious disappearance” were now being given “Very Important Persons” treatment and are “visibly living large, even in custody”.

In her open letter to the Controller of Correctional Services, Anambra State, she alleged that the two suspects – Chukwudi Odimegwu and Maxwell Nwokolo – were always online on the social media, boasting to her and members of her family that “nothing will come out of their trial in court”.

The open letter, dated April 9, 2024, with the family letter heading, was signed by her and on behalf of the Agbasimalo family and also copied to the Comptroller-General,

Nigerian Correctional Services

Headquarters, Abuja, Department of State Services, Awka, Anambra State, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Anambra State Attorney General, Chairman, Anambra Truth, Justice and Peace Commission.

A copy was also sent to journalists in Awka, on Monday.

Agbasimalo, therefore called on the prisons authorities to look into the matter and ensure justice is served as the family members have been depressed since the abduction of her husband in 2021, while the suspects “continue to leave large”.

The letter with the caption, ‘Petition/Alarm over undue VIP treatment given to two suspects in custody at the Correctional Centre, Nnewi, Anambra State’, is coming barely a month after the counsels to the suspects had sought for their bail at the Nnewi High Court.

The letter read in part, “My name is Eucharia Agbasimalo, the wife of Mr Obiorah Agbasimalo, the kidnapped Labour Party governorship candidate during the 2021 Anambra State governorship election in Anambra State. 

“This is to bring to your attention the case of two suspects – Chukwudi Odimegwu and Maxwell Nwokolo – that were arrested in connection with the kidnap of my husband, Mr Obiorah Agbasimalo, and are presently detained at the Nnewi Correctional Centre while the matter is in court. 

“My husband, Agbasimalo, was kidnapped on September 18, 2021, during his governorship campaign days at Lilu in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State. He was on his way to Azia community in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, to honour an invitation for a ceremony. Since his kidnap, his whereabouts have remained unknown till date.

“The two persons who were members of my husband’s campaign team as of the time he was kidnapped, were fingered as principal suspects in the kidnap saga and consequently arrested, charged to court on two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and kidnap, and were remanded at the Nnewi Correctional Centre in Anambra State from where they are currently standing trial at Ihiala High Court sitting at Nnewi. 

“While I was testifying before the court as 1st Prosecution Witness, PW1, I observed that the two suspects were always boasting that they had the backing of ‘powers that be’ and that they would be released without any hassle.

“I want to bring to your attention that the duo of Chukwudi Odimegwu and Maxwell Nwokolo, as inmates of the Correctional Centre at Nnewi do not come to the court in the uniform worn by those awaiting trial just like other suspects do. They are allowed to walk about the court premises freely with no handcuffs. My lawyer from the DPP has called the attention of the prison warders to this anomaly, but nothing changed.

“The two suspects do not also come to the court on handcuffs like other suspects do and considering the magnitude of the case, they are supposed to be at the court on handcuffs. 

“My investigations and findings have shown that the two principal suspects might have compromised some officials of Nnewi Correctional Centre, where they are currently being remanded to the extent that they are released to go to their respective homes after court session.

“The suspects only return to the correctional centre a day when they are to appear before the court, just to create an impression that they are in custody.

“Investigations further revealed that the suspects had an understanding with officials of the Correctional Centre, where they are giving a VIP treatment.

“They were usually brought to the court on mufti and in luxury vehicle without the normal Black Maria that would normally convey suspects to court.

“There is no sign to suggest that the two suspects are in prison custody. This is noticed from their outward appearance whenever they come to court.

“Findings also showed that the two suspects have sponsors providing all their needs at their disposal so far throughout their trial period, an indication that they are enjoying all the ransom amounts they extorted from our family members.

“The two suspects are always online on the social media, but it is believed that they should not have access to such privileges being suspects in a kidnap case.

“The latest now is that they have hired lawyers at all costs to canvass for their bail in a kidnap case that is not a bailable offence.

“I am therefore pleading with you to use your good offices by taking necessary actions to avoid creating a general impression that criminal suspects who are remanded in prison custody for various non bailable offences are usually given VIP treatments if they and their sponsors can dance to the bid of prison officials.”

She, however, urged the prison authorities to investigate to ensure that the suspects are at the custody and are also stripped of these privileges that they have been allowed to have access to.

When contacted on the telephone, the Controller, Anambra Correctional Services, Usifo Joseph, acknowledged the receipt of the letter, saying he was still going through the content and would act appropriately.

Joseph, however did not respond to further enquiries by our correspondent.

“It is not something to be discussed over the telephone…my friend, if you claim you are journalist, come to my office, let’s talk about it,” he added and then dropped the call.

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