Pharmacy students of University of Benin (UNIBEN) have started a ‘Free-Uche’ campaign to protest the continued detention of their colleague over what they termed unfair treatment of his case.
Uche Rickson Esegine, a 300 level Pharmacy undergraduate of UNIBEN with matric number PHA1300114, was involved in an incident that led to his arrest on Sunday, July 2, 2017. He was returning from an all-night retreat held the previous day in company of his church members from the Redeem Christian Church of God, Embassy of God parish (Edo State province 5) when their bus almost collided with an onrushing trailer.
In a bid to avert the near-collision, the driver made a quick swerve to the right during which Uche bent to pick up a phone that had fallen on the floor of the bus. As he tried handing the phone to the presumed owner (a fellow church member and passenger in the vehicle), he noticed blood stains on the phone and further discovered that his fellow passenger bled from both mouth and head. He immediately alerted the driver.
The bleeding passenger was momentarily rushed to the central hospital which was not far away. Unfortunately, they were redirected to University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) without being attended to. At UBTH, the injured passenger was admitted and placed on oxygen as he had already gone into a critical stage.
All efforts to save him proved abortive and the young man eventually died. The shock of his death jolted everybody especially the parents of the deceased who after being notified of his condition were in the hospital to witness his last moment.
While all manners of effort were deployed by the Redeemed Church to comfort the family, it proved futile as the family made a volte face the next morning (Monday). Backed by a team of heavily armed policemen attached to BDPA Police Station, Uche, their bus driver, a church elder and the church pastor whisked away.
According to information gathered by Pharmanews, they were allegedly detained without any warrant of arrest over what the family suspected to be a foul play that culminated in the death of their son. While Uche was moved from the police station to Aideyan Avenue Airport, the remaining four were transferred from the BDPA Police Station to the State CID. Since then, the pharmacy student has remained in police custody despite several entreaties made to the family of the deceased, they remained convinced the boy’s death was beyond the accident.
On the other hand, application for the suspects bail too has been refused on a number of occasions. No autopsy too had been carried out. Although UNIBEN authorities have been informed about the incident, the school is reluctant to get fully involved.
It is now 10 days since Uche’s has been remanded in custody.
“This is why we are reaching out to the pharmacy circle, Pharmanews, PSN and the PCN to help bail out Uche and allow things follow due process,” a fellow pharmacy student berated.