June 13, 2024

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Joseph Odok: I Once Shared Same Detention Cell With Notorious Kidnapper, Evans

6 min read

Mr Joseph Odok, one of the critics of Prof Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River State who was recently granted bail on health grounds has narrated his ordeals in various detention facilities. He said in an interview with TNN that his detention experience meant so much to him.
Odok, who spent 117 days in the Afukang correctional center, Calabar, was charged with terrorism but granted bail on the 21st of January.
Speaking with our correspondent Odok said “freedom means so much to me and being in prison was my freedom because I have learnt that anyone can be in prison and God is more powerful than man.
“I was left alone with my God and I prayed he heard my prayers. So being in prison only helped to tell my story that was suppressed- from my assassination to my sack as a lecturer in UNICAL, withdrawal from my Ph.D, then to the threats.
“This is my story: My car was confiscated on the orders of Cross River State Mobile court. The state government was using the Federal Road Safety, Cross River State command to extort unsuspecting and vulnerable road users through the mobile courts set everywhere within the metropolis. On that fateful day, I had my complete documents and police extract of an affidavit of loss of my driver’s license, including my up to date vehicle particulars. But the mobile court violated my rights by ordering that my car be impounded. I quietly resorted for a legal action and was later called for an out of court settlement.
“On April 2017 surprisingly, I received two queries from the University of Calabar which I replied immediately and handed acknowledged copies of same to Mr Moses Abang who was the then Registrar of University of Calabar by hand. Shockingly, not long, I received another letter suspending me from the University on the grounds that I failed to reply the queries. I quickly wrote back to the university furnishing them with copies of the acknowledgement of my replies of the queries, yet the university refused to set aside the unwarranted suspension.
“Shortly after my assassination attack, I was recalled back on September 2017 with strict warning that I should be placed on half salary. Eventually, my appointment was later terminated on 12th November 2019. The grounds for the termination of my appointment as contained in the letter from the university was for not coming for a disciplinary committee. This was after I had furnished the university over a police report advising me not to come to Calabar. Earlier, I, wrote to the university furnishing her with the said police report and advice. I even wrote a conditional resignation as an alternative instead risking my life due to insecurity and threats to my life.
“On May 20th 2017, I was accused of inciting the public against the university and acquiring arms and ammunitions to bomb University of Calabar. The Deputy Security Officer University of Calabar invited me on a particular day to the waiting hands of men from the Nigerian Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill, Calabar, Cross River State Command. I was given a notice of search warrant and taken to my house straight for a search. As God will have it, no incriminating weapon was found. But then, the police playing the card of government and the university management detained me unlawfully for good two days.
“On the 4th of September 2017, an assassination attack was carried out against me. The Director General, Cross River State Homeland Security by name Raphael Odu and one Patience Odey were caught up at the scene of crime and were arrested by the men of DSS Cross River Command. Preliminary investigations were carried out and the suspects handed over to the CRS Police Command. The CRS Police Command compromised and killed the case and released the suspects without further investigation or prosecution. Through Barr Victor Okangbe, I petitioned the CRS Police Command and called for the transfer of the case to Abuja. The Inspector-General of Police graciously granted my request and the suspects and case file were transferred to Abuja.
“Sometime in September 2019, my wife and my eleven months son then were arrested by men from the Nigerian Police Force, Iddo Police Station Abuja. The arrest was orchestrated by a complaint from my wife’s office, spearheaded by the Chairman National Association of Academics Technology. I went to the police to rescue my wife and the baby, but I was arrested too. My wife and the baby were arrested about 9am and we were all bailed at night at about 9pm. We were told to come back and I was taken to the court on the next visit day on allegations of inciting public disturbance. Immediately I saw the charge I suspected the hands of the CRS Government and the Vice Chancellor University of Calabar. I was granted bail by the court but the police never gave me opportunity to perfect my bail and the bail was perfected the next day. While in Calabar prison, the Senior Intelligence Prison officer informed me that arrangements were in process to transfer me from Abuja Prison to Calabar prison but not for my wife’s swiftness to perfect my bail.
“The National Association of Academic Technology had conducted a productivity test and demoted my wife from Admin Officer to a Clerical Staff. This did not go well with me because according to my wife’s employment letter appointment she was deemed to have been confirmed after spending six years in service. Besides, she was interviewed before employment there was no need for demotion since interviews were carried out before employment. Also her appointment letter specified that confirmation of her appointment was to take effect after two years. I had written to inform the NAAT that I will take a legal and media step if their decision to demote my wife was not reversed in a private text. It was my text that informed my first arrest and incarceration on frivolous charge of inciting public disturbance. While in Calabar prison NAAT continued to issue quarries to my wife and I was forced to ask my wife to resign her employment with NAAT for her security.
“On the 26th of September 2019, my wife went for work and was arrested again by men from Iddo Police command. My wife called and told me and I went to rescue her to the waiting hands of men from the CRS Police Command. I was given a warrant for my arrest on charges of terrorism, treason and treasonable felony. I was taken to SARS office and suffered inhuman treatment where I slept in the same cell with the suspected kidnapper Wadume from Taraba State. The next morning, I was driven by road to Calabar.
“A killer cultist, General Iron who enjoys amnesty from the CRS Government had waylaid one Mathias Bankong alongside some women of my Ogep Osokom Community in Boki LGA CRS. He demanded for four heads Ogep Osikom youths or a five days ultimatum for full blown war with my community. There was great pandemonium in my community with many fleeing the village. I wrote an article and posted on my Facebook page calling on the Chief of Staff to call his PDP brother, General Iron to order. My article on Facebook became the basis for my charge on terrorism, my posting it on Facebook became the reason for the allegations on cybercrime that made me spend 117 days in both police station and prison custody
“I am eager to meet all suspects to my assassination in court and pay the price of a failed democracy where federal institutions are compromised to intimidate the poor. The prison only made my voice stronger and a solidarity.”

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