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January 28, 2021

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UPDATED: Pharmacist detained for nine months ‘for threatening Buhari’

5 min read

Solomon Akuma, the father of Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist, who has reportedly been detained by the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja for about nine months, has narrated to PREMIUM TIMES how the police ‘deceived’ him to get his son arrested.

The father, who is a senior pastor at the Truevine Evangelical Mission based in Delta State, said his son, a pharmacist intern with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), was arrested on April 2, 2020, in Aba, Abia State.

The 29 years old Emmanuel was arrested for tweeting that he would “pay a Russian sniper to eliminate Buhari and Kyari”, apparently referring to President Muhammadu Buhari and his then Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who later died of complications attributable to COVID-19 later in the year.

Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist
Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist

The tweet was in response to a Twitter post asking respondents what their next move would be if they got $1 million.

The father said he thereafter received a call from a person ”who disguised to be a person seeking to reward him for praying for him in the past.”

“It was me they used as bait to get to my son. They used me as their link. Someone must have dug up my profile and they found out that I was a pastor,” he said.

The cleric added, “Someone called me that I had prayed for him at a place. He said he wanted to honour me and that he and others would be coming on a particular date.

“They also said that they would visit me and give me an honorarium. I said I was not really aware of what they were talking about.

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“They said I should not bother that they knew me as a pastor. I said, okay, no problem. They said I had once ministered in their church.

“I was not around at the time because I went for burial in my hometown. So I lodged in my in-law’s place.

“I said no problem, but something ministered to me that those guys were not what they said they were and as it turned out to be, they were policemen.”

He said he reluctantly agreed to meet with them and took them to his in-law’s place, where they “arrested everybody and collected all our phones at gunpoint, and marched us into a red jeep they parked outside.”

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He said the policemen later used his phone number to call his son “telling him that his father lost the phone”.

“In fact, because of all the weapons they had I couldn’t react because I could not ascertain who they were,” he said.

Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist and father
Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist and father

The cleric said when his son arrived at the scene, the men immediately arrested him.

“So, at that point, they gave us back our phones, and they took him to the police station, down to Umuahia, to Enugu and the next day, they went to Abuja,” he said.

Detained

He said he initially took them for kidnappers until after two days when his son called to inform him that he had been detained at the FCID at Area 10 in Abuja.

He said he had to defy the COVID-19 lockdown that was in place at the time to travel to Abuja the following day.

The pharmacist was reportedly detained at the FCID in Abuja forabout three months before they eventually charged him with terrorism, sedition, criminal intimidation, and threat to the life of the President and arraigned him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

His father told PREMIUM TIMES that he had yet to come to terms with how his son, a 2018 graduate of Pharmacy from the University of Port Harcourt, could be accused of such offences.

He said it had been hard to cope with the absence of Emmanuel, his only son among three siblings, for nine months.

He said the trial was being delayed by the police, ”who continued to keep his son in custody since April 2020”.

He said his son had posted the tweet for which he was arrested out of frustration about the circumstances of his mother’s death in 2017.

Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist
Emmanuel Akuma, a pharmacist

He said, “I would say that it was his annoyance against the Federal Governments that made him write what he wrote, because the government had been owing the mother since her retrenchment from the federal service.

“She worked at the Nigeria Airways and the workers had been retired since 2002, and they didn’t pay them until my wife fell sick for four years.

“We spent everything in our hands until she died in 2017. So, it pained my son so much.”

PREMIUM TIMES’ efforts to contact the Force Public Relation Officer, Frank Mba, on Tuesday were unsuccessful as repeated calls to his telephone line failed to connect and a message sent to him was not replied.

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