Relatives of Mr. Howell Ohia, an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps who was last seen in August last year, have asked his employer to explain his whereabouts, writes Adibe Emenyonu

Howell Ohia is a native of Uneme-Nekua, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State. According to information, he joined the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) about five years ago and has been with the arms unit of the operative at its state command, Benin City.

Ohia story however, turned awry when in August, 2015, he was deployed to Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State on special duties with two other colleagues who had since returned back to Benin City except him.

According to information reaching THISDAY, he had been in constant communication with the family until March 8, this year when he called his people on his mobile phone informing them that he was on a vessel on shore, carrying out a national assignment on the high sea around Port Harcourt.

“That was the last we heard from him”, said Mrs. Sandra Nwonye, elder sister to Ohia.
Unable to establish contacts with Ohia and after all efforts to get words from his employer failed, Nwonye said she was forced to write a petition to the state Commissioner of Police in Benin City, which was copied to the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.

In the petition dated May 25, 2016 and written through Temofeh-Nkemnacho and Co, a firm of solicitors, advocates, corporate consultants and human rights defenders was signed by N. Osayande Esq.
The petition titled ‘A Case of a Missing Person Named, Howell Ohia, an Officer With The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps’, said it has the firm instruction to write the petition in the utmost belief that urgent steps be taken to assist in above mentioned matter.

According to the petition, “Our client has a younger brother, whose name is Howell Ohia, a staff of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, serving in Benin City, Edo State.
“In August 2015, he was deployed (not transferred) to Port Harcourt command of the corps on special duties, and has since not been seen or heard from.
“He was last seen and heard from on the 8th March, 2016 during which he called on GSM phone, and informed that he was on vessel on shore, carrying out national assignment on the high sea in Port Harcourt.”

What worsened the situation the petition noted was that ” after Ohia was not heard from for days, his family made contact with his employer both in Benin City and Port Harcourt, but to their chagrin and utter dismay, no satisfactory explanation has been offered for his disappearance, except of course to want to impute blame on him”, adding that the purpose of this petition which will also be copied to the office of the Inspector General of Police for his information is to request the NSCDC to use its good offices to cause an investigation of this complaint.

Lamenting their ordeal, Nwonye Ohia’s elder sister and Judith Agbeye, his fiancee said that since Ohia was deployed to Port Harcourt, they have been in constant communication with him until March this year when 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 either.

In December last year he sent her 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 impute blame on him,” she said amid tears.

Agbeye said she had planned to get married with the missing NSCDC officer before the unfortunate incident.
The worried Agbeye said, “we were going to get married and he said he would 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 said some of the personal effects of Ohia including three cell phones and clothes were returned to them by an official of the NSCDC in Benin city without information about Ohia’s whereabouts.

At the NCDSC, the commandant was said to be holding a high level security meeting‎ when THISDAY visited their office. An official who claimed ignorance of the letter concerning the missing Ohia, referred THISDAY to the national headquarters of the command without explanation as to the disappearance of the 30-year-old man.