AGENE GODWIN, Benin
THE family of a civil defence personnel, Mr Howell Obia, who has been missing since last August has asked his employers, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to explain his whereabouts.
In a petition to the state Commissioner of Police in Benin City, Mrs Sandra Nwonye, his elder sister and Judith Agbaje, his fiancee, say that since Mr Obia was deployed to Port-Harcourt, the Rivers state capital in August 2015 on special duties, they have not seen him in person.
They said they were in touch with him after his arrival in Port-Harcourt up until March 8th, 2016 when he told them that he was on a vessel “onshore”, carrying out national assignment on the high sea.
They also said that calls, text messages put through to his GSM lines thereafter went unanswered, even as one of his close friends and colleague in Port-Harcourt confirmed that he has not heard from him.
Mrs Nwonye said, “he joined the civil defence five years ago and was in Benin city before the deployment in December. He sent me some money and promised to visit but he never came.
“We went to the civil defence offices in Benin City and Port-Harcourt and the authorities did not tell us anything satisfactory about his disappearance except of course to put the blame on him.”
According to Miss Agbeye, “we were going to get married and he said he will be in Benin the weekend we last heard from him. Three of them who were deployed have since returned to Benin except him.”
Meanwhile, the family says some of the personal effects of Mr Obia, including three cell phones and clothes were returned to them last week by an official of the NSCDC in Benin city without information about him.
At the NSCDC, the commandant was said to be holding a high level security meeting. An official claimed ignorance of the letter concerning the missing Mr Obia and referred our Correspondent to the national headquarters at Abuja or Port-Harcourt.