The Punch

Pastor placed us on seven-day fast, prayer to make police free my brother –Sister of A’ibom motorcycli­st detained since March

Mrs Blessing Isong is the younger sister of a commercial motorcycli­st in Akwa Ibom State, Lawrence Saviour, who has been in police detention since March without being taken to court. She tells GODFREY GEORGE about the family’s struggle to secure Saviour’s

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WHat is your name?

My name is Mrs Blessing Isong and I am the younger sister of lawrence Saviour, who was arrested by soldiers and dumped in police custody in March.

What really happened before he was arrested?

He is over 30 years old. He is married with three children. My brother did not break any law. He is just a poor motorcycle rider, trying to make ends meet. On the day they arrested him, he was on his way to go repair his bike around Essien udim Road, where a fight had just erupted between some hoodlums and policemen.

What did the people who arrested him say he did?

They said people fought in the area and he was part of them. But I tell you the truth, he was not. you know how the police behave; when they are looking for someone and cannot get that person, they arrest anybody around the area as the suspect. It is their habit.

Have you gone to the police station to see him?

Yes, we have gone. They said they don’t need money for bail or anything. We have cried and begged for them to release him, because he is innocent, but they have refused to release him or take him to court.

police station is he being

In what detained?

It is the Police Force Headquarte­rs at Ikot Akpan Abia. We saw him. He had lost weight. He looked so malnourish­ed. Only God knows the kind of treatment he is being subjected to there on a daily basis. They didn’t allow us to stay there for long, because I had noticed some marks of whips on his back and had inquired from him what happened. Before he could talk, they pushed him inside and sent us away. They didn’t allow us to even drop the food we wanted to give him. They said we should bring an elder or a chief.

Did you get a chief to follow you?

yes. We went there with a chief from our community, but they said they didn’t need money and that an order must come from Abuja for them to release the people in their custody. My brother went to repair his bike which he works with to provide for his wife and children. This is really sad.

How long has he been in police custody? He has been there since March. It has been over three months now and we have not seen him.

How is the family coping?

His wife has packed up the remaining things in the house and left with the children. She gave birth months ago. We haven’t seen her. I woke up weeks after his arrest to find the door open. When I checked, it was like robbers attacked the house. Everything valuable was gone. We have not seen her since then. Everybody is looking for her in the village and we are distraught.

My brother is not one to look for trouble. He cannot even kill a snake. We used to mock him with that a lot of times. It is surprising how they‘d say he went to Essien udim Road to fight with police officers and killed many. With what? The bike he went to repair or his bare hands? Is he Goliath?

is the family’s next line of

What action?

Well, we are praying to God for His interventi­on since all human efforts have failed. Today (july 11, 2021), I was in church. The pastor gave us seven days of dry fast so God can soften the hearts of his captors. It is a tough one because I am breastfeed­ing, but I will do it, because I want my brother back home so he can join hands to look for his children. My mother’s younger brother, uduak, who was also arrested, has been released. He told me what they did to him while in police custody and I am more afraid for my brother. They paid heavily before he (uduak) was released. I know that God who did that one will do it for us too. There is hope for us.

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