RESIDENTS APPEAL TO ARMY FOR RELEASE OF ARRESTED GUARD
Residents of Eliminigwe Housing Estate Phase 3 Elelenwo, a Port Harcourt suburb has called on the authorities of 'Operation Jubilee' the army outfit deployed to Abia to checkmate the menace of kidnapping in the state, to release one of their night guards, Mr. Chukwuemeka Felix Esikalam, who they said was arrested while on duty.
Speaking when he stormed the Daily Sun office in Aba in company of the detained guard's wife, Grace, after claiming they were denied access to the Asa High School Army Camp, where Esikalam was being detained, the Chairman of the Estate Landlords Association, Revd Felix Dike gave insight into Esikalam's arrest and the need to release him.
'On the night of May 3, Felix, in the course of his duty received a distress call from one Mr. Fatai (whom we discovered is an in law to Stone- a dreaded kidnapper) of Estate drive, behind Refill Eatery, that armed robbers came to his house. Then Felix with another guard went to answer the call.
'As they approached the house, there was sporadic shooting, when it died down, some of us the executive members of the Estate's Association came out and saw the other security guard lying down wounded but we did not see Esikalam. It was the wounded guard who told us that some soldiers, who they were wrongly informed were armed robbers, took his colleague together with those found in Fatai's house away.'
Dike, who is the founder of Christ Love Church, Elelenwo said, with the information, they went in search of their security guard in all the police formations in Port Harcourt hoping that he was arrested and taken to the police but without success.
According to Dike, 'we were unable to locate Esikalam until we saw a publication in one of the national dailies which gave us a clue to where he was taken to and we've been making efforts to see him without success.' He said it was unfortunate that Fatai could put up distress call to the security guards claiming he was being attacked by armed-robbers when he knew soldiers really came to arrest him.
Dike said, for the fact that the residents of the estate had come out in one accord to seek the release of Esikalam alone should go a long way to prove his good character.
'We are not asking for the release of any other person, but Esikalam because we can attest to his good character.
Released, residents of the estate were ready to stand for and produce him whenever and wherever he is needed.
'We passionately appeal to the commander of the army camp at Asa high school, Abia State to send his men to the Estate where Esikalam lives and investigate his involvement in the case. Even, the double barrel gun he had on the night of his arrest was purchased and duly licensed by us to help him in his work', he stated.
Speaking on the ordeal she and her three kids have gone through, Grace the wife of the Agbaja, Ehime Mbano, Imo state- born security guard said, 'see how Fatai and his group have put my husband into trouble and made me and my kids to suffer for the past three months.
'My husband is neither a kidnapper nor an armed robber; he is an ardent Christian with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Since his arrest, I have not seen nor heard from him, as I am speaking, I don't even know if he is still alive. The army authorities should visit the place we are living to know if a kidnapper could live in such an environment.
'I am appealing to the soldiers to please hasten up their investigations and release my husband at least for the sake of our three kids who have been falling sick since their father's arrest.'
However when contacted on phone over the arrest, Brigadier General Sylvester Andrew Audu, commander of the newly established 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ohafia who equally oversees the activities of 'Operation Jubilee' said it was only investigation that can establish facts of any case including that of the security guard.
He could not say much on the incident as he said he was out of the state on an official assignment when his views were sought on the issue.