Family members of Alhaji Azeez Maruf Akintunde, a businessman in Oyo town who was allegedly arrested by military personnel have cried out over his whereabouts, demanding his release.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akintunde was allegedly arrested by some Operation Burst personnel at his Alhaja Sara Street, Cele resident, Oyo town at about 6 am and whisked away to an unknown destination.
Operation Burst security outfit, inaugurated by the Oyo State Government, comprises personnel of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to tackle crime in the state.
Speaking with NAN on Tuesday in Ibadan, Akbar Azeez, one of Akintunde’s sons, said that his father was allegedly taken away on Thursday by the Operation Burst personnel in Army uniform with some of them in mufti.
“My father was strapped in a towel when the Operation Burst personnel came to arrest him in his house at about 6:15 am, on Thursday, and we the family (members) had to beg them before they allowed him to put on his cloth.
“Some of the personnel that came wore Army uniform while some were in mufti. My father challenged them to produce (his) arrest warrant but they were unable to produce it.
“They later took him away without telling us his offence. If at all he committed any offence, they should let us know and tell us his whereabouts.
“He was first taken to Operation Burst Office in Oyo town. A few minutes later, he was blindfolded and taken to an unknown location. Since then, we had not heard of his whereabouts and offence,” Akbar said.
He expressed worries about his father’s health, saying he was hypertensive and his condition might deteriorate if not allowed to take his drugs regularly or eat the prescribed food.
On the efforts made so far by the family to trace the man out, Akbar said that they went to 2 Division, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Ibadan; Mokola Police Station; and other police stations in the state but they were told that he was not in their custody.
Akbar’s brother, Azeez, said that the team of Army personnel that effected his father’s arrest came in a Gulf car and three military vehicles bearing the inscription of ‘Operation Burst.’
He said that the armed personnel, numbering about 50, led by Maj. Idris Moses from the Ibadan office, came back around 11 pm, on Thursday, with their father to pick up his phone.
“We had been to the Operation Burst office in Oyo town. What they told us was that they didn’t know his whereabouts and that they only received a signal from Abuja to provide logistics for the arrest.
“We appeal to the men of Operation Burst to tell us the whereabouts of our father. We don’t know the allegation or his whereabouts since his arrest. They should please release him,” he said.
An official of Operation Burst in Oyo State, who preferred not to be named, said Akintunde was not in their custody and he was not aware of the arrest.
The source said that if truly Akintunde was arrested by the Operation Burst personnel in Oyo town, he would have been transferred to the Ibadan office.
When NAN contacted the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 2 Division Nigerian Army, Maj. I. O. Iweha, said that he was still making clarifications about the arrest and promised to get back to NAN
“I am still making clarifications about it. I will get back to you,” he said.
However, he has yet to get back to NAN as of the time of filing this report.