Monday, 10 July 2017

How retired police officer was kidnapped after completing gratuity process




Nigeria - The family of a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sunday Anyasi, have demanded explanations from the National Pension Commission for the sudden disappearance of the victim.
According to PUNCH, the 58-year-old Sunday, who was ill, was called on the telephone by a woman living in the same Idumu-Ogo community, Delta State, with him, informing him that his gratuity was ready.


He was said to have gone to Abuja, where he was asked to fill some forms to enable the commission to complete the processing of the payment.
PUNCH was told that the victim, who went on the journey with his younger brother, Emmanuel, had been assured that he would receive an alert from his bank soon.
However, Sunday was reportedly abducted near Idumuje-Ugboko, in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, while the brother, Emmanuel, escaped.
It was learnt that efforts by the family to get the Divisional Police Officer, Issele-Uku Police Station, Greg Oshike, to investigate the abduction were abortive, as the police boss allegedly insisted on payment “for logistics.”
A relative of the victim, Peter Anyasi, who spoke for the family, said they suspected that the kidnap was over the gratuity, adding that the circumstances surrounding the incident and the DPO’s refusal to investigate it were sufficient proof.
He said, “My brother, Sunday, was abducted by unidentified armed men on May 31, 2017, while travelling with other passengers from Abuja to Issele-Uku, Aniocha North LGA of Delta State.
“He had been fighting ill health since his retirement from active service and had requested his younger brother, Emmanuel, to accompany him as a guide on the ill-fated trip.
“They were together at the time of the abduction near Idumuje-Ugboko.
“Emmanuel, who sat close to the door of the bus, managed to escape. Some members of the gang pursued Emmanuel, while others guarded the hijacked bus and its occupants. The pursuers gave up on chasing him and later returned to the rest of the gang.”
He noted that prior to the journey, Sunday had received a telephone call from one Nkechi Nmakwe, a housewife based in Idumu-Ogo.
He added that the woman informed Sunday that his gratuity was ready and gave him the contact of one Linda, a worker with the National Pension Commission, Abuja.
“Linda in turn gave Sunday the phone number of one Abubakar, who was said to be living in Warri, Delta State, but was claimed to be influential at the pension commission, Abuja.
“He was advised by his self-acclaimed benefactors to keep the information about his proposed trip to himself. He was also advised to travel first to Warri to meet Abubakar, who would give him all the necessary assistance with the payment of his service benefits at the pension commission, Abuja.
“Thereafter, Sunday Anyasi left his home for Warri in search of Abubakar. He only disclosed his mission to Emmanuel, who accompanied him on the journey.
“When they could not reach Abubakar on his telephone lines, they returned to Idumu-Ogo and contacted Linda. Linda then advised them to come directly to her at Abuja.
“At the National Pension Commission, Abuja, Linda led the Anyasi brothers to one of the offices where Sunday was given some forms regarding the proposed payment of his service benefits to complete. After duly completing the forms, he was assured that before long, he would receive an alert from his bank about the payment of his benefits,” Peter said.
The victim was returning when he was abducted and his whereabouts had remained unknown.
PUNCH learnt that when Nmakwe was challenged over the incident, she initially denied linking Sunday with anyone, but recanted after some pressure.
She reportedly claimed that the person whom she asked to help Sunday with the gratuity payment was based in Enugu, and not Abuja.
The victm’s younger brother, Emmanuel, was said to have reported the case at the Issele-Uku Police Station.
The family alleged that the station DPO demanded money from the family.
Peter said, “The DPO of Usele-Uku division said the family would be responsible for the accommodation and feeding of the travelling police officers during investigation. He refused to state clearly the exact amount of this so-called logistics.
“Though I strongly believe that the burden of the cost of the investigation of a crime should not be borne by the victim’s family, I was, however, willing to meet the demands of Mr. Oshike halfway. The only problem was that he continued to quibble about how much he was willing to be paid for the so-called logistics of police investigation.”
The Investigating Police Officer was also alleged to have said everyone in the station had been instructed not to do anything on the case.
After the family became frustrated, they were said to have gone to Abuja, accompanied by one Cyril Okeleke, a relative who was also a retired police officer.
Together with the victim’s only son, Victor, the family got to the pension office on June 12, 2017.
The PENCOM authorities were alleged to have threatened to arrest Okeleke for coming to make an enquiry about a missing person without a lawyer.
They were said to have later assured the family that Sunday’s gratuity would not be paid to the wrong person as it would not be ready until after one year.
Peter said, “If so, why then was Sunday given the invitation to Abuja? On whose authority did Linda invite him to Abuja and why was the victim told that he would soon receive an alert from his bank? Why was it necessary for Sunday, who had served the police for 35 years outside Abuja, to be invited to Abuja for the payment of the second part of his service benefits after he had been paid the first part in Lagos, the last location of his service?”
When contacted, the Issele-Uku Divisional Police Officer, Oshike, said the matter had already been taken over by the state command.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Aniamaka, described Oshike as an excellent officer who could not be involved in any unethical practice.
He said, “The DPO you spoke about cannot be asking the family of a colleague, even though retired (to bring money). He is an excellent officer. If Sunday Anyasi is missing, we feel the pain of the family. All we need is encouragement to look for him so that we can have a good story to tell. The command is doing everything possible to ensure that he is found unhurt.”
The Head of Media, PENCOM, Mr. Emeka Onuora, denied the involvement of the commission, adding that the retired police officer might have fallen into the hands of fraudsters.
He said, “Under the 2004 PENCOM Act, it is assumed that all those who worked for the Federal Government from whatever year to 2004, have been retired, even if some of them still have some years in service.
“If they continue to work, a year to the time of their final retirement, they will fill an enrolment form, which is not filled in PENCOM office in Abuja. We have offices in the six geo-political zones of the country and our officers are out there. The purpose of filling this form is to enable the Federal Government to know how much it owed this set of workers. The money is then added to the savings account they opened with the Pension Fund Administrator (PFA).
“The PFA handles all issues of payment and deals directly with the pensioners. Everything that has to do with gratuity is supposed to be handled by the PFAs. PENCOM has nothing to do with this case because we are only a regulator. He might have fallen into the hands of fraudsters.”
Both Nmakwe and Linda’s telephone numbers were switched off when our correspondent attempting reaching them for comments on Sunday.


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