Captivity Of 170 Igbo Citizens: Northern Muslim Police Chiefs In Frenzy Of Frame-ups & Detention Without Trial In Southeast Nigeria – Intersociety
The Northern Muslim Police Chiefs led by State Commissioners of Police or CPs, joined by DCPs/ACPs-OPS, DCPs/ACPs-State CIDs, Area Commanders or ACs and DPOs or Divisional Police Officers, presently working in the Southeast part of Eastern Nigeria, are indiscriminately arresting, framing and detaining hundreds of defenseless citizens of the Region without trial or wickedly and vindictively arraigning them for phantom capital offences in inappropriate courts to elongate their detention without trial; all done outside the commensuration of the real conduct crime, if any, involving the arrested and detained citizens.
These they also do with reckless abandon or utter vehemence; while turning blind eyes on the real security threats and challenges pervading the Region, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Intersociety, said today in a statement issued in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria and signed on its behalf by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies who heads Intersociety and Lawyers Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties Program and Chidinma Evangaline Udegbunam, Head of Publicity Department.
Presently, a total of 170 defenseless citizens (140 in Enugu and 30 in Anambra) of the Region, with their ages ranging from 64 to 15, including males and females, are languishing in prisons and police custodies in Anambra and Enugu States. They were arrested unarmed; framed and labeled “treasonable felons” and “IPOB terrorists”. Official statements from the Anambra State and the Enugu State Police Commands claimed that, “they were arrested for being in possession of “Biafra insignias including flags and bangles, etc; and for belonging to a proscribed and terrorist organization-IPOB”.
Among the detained without trial till date are 140 defenseless and unarmed citizens including ten women (inclusive of ageing mothers) who were going for a funeral ceremony on four chartered “608” commercial buses. They were stopped and barricaded on Wednesday, 22nd May 2019 at a joint military and police checkpoint along Ninth Mile/Nsukka-Oturkpa Federal Road, Nsukka in Enugu State, leading to their mass arrest, amidst torture, and transfer to State CID, Enugu. They were subjected to ouster jurisdiction magistrate court arraignment on Thursday, 23rd May 2019, which declined jurisdiction but turned around to order them to be detained at the Enugu State Prison till date; a period of two weeks without court trial.
Also no fewer than 30 unarmed and defenseless citizens were arrested and clamped into detention without trial by the Anambra State Police Command headed by CP, Alhaji Dandaura Mustapha, who is a Fulani-Hausa Muslim. Most of the arrested are citizens and supporters of the MASSOB-BIM, loyal to Mr. Raphael Uwazuruike. Fifteen were arrested in the evening and night of 21st May 2019 around Obodoukwu Road in Okpoko; at Ogbaru side of the Onitsha Upper Iweka and Ochanja Market area in Onitsha South LGA. Thirteen others were arrested in the morning of 22nd May 2019 along Uga-Ekwulobia Road in Aguata LGA, Anambra State.
The State Police Command had earlier in the day of same 21st May 2019 opened fire at some MASSOB-BIM supporters around Ochanja Market, killing two (Innocent Okoye and Uche Ezenwanne) and injuring scores including Clifford Nwankwo, Ndubuisi Ikpeazu and Aloysius Ibeh (all males); claiming that “its personnel were attacked with stones and catapults”, a claim most likely to be false.
The mass arrest and detention without trial for 17 days at the State CID of MASSOB-BIM supporters followed the group’s preparation to mark 19th year of its formation in year 2000, slated for later hours of same Wednesday, 22nd May 2019. Their peaceful preparatory activities included hoisting of their cultural flags and preparation meetings in their various units’ offices; during which Police violently disrupted them, arrested and labeled them “IPOB terrorists”.
There was also a case of an innocent roadside mechanic, Mr. Sunday Awoke, who is in his 30s. A married man and native of Onueke-Ekka in Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi State, Sunday Awoke was arrested in front of his mechanic workshop in the morning of Wednesday, 22nd May 2019 by some police personnel, attached to the Onitsha Area Command and accused of indulging in the “hired business of hoisting Biafra flags” including the one on top of an electric pole in front of his workshop. His arrest took place barely an hour after he emerged from his residence and opened his workshop.
Despite strongly denying knowledge of same, he was forced at gunpoint to climb the pole to remove the flag and further forced to remove two others in different locations, all along Onitsha-Owerri Road. As he was climbing the pole in front of his workshop at gunpoint, the police personnel took photos of him as “hoister of Biafra flags”. He was later released from the Onitsha Area Command same day and rearrested on Sat May 2019 and detained till next Sat evening being 1st June 2019 when he secured his bail after paying N50,000 “bail fee”.
Mrs. Ngozi Odunze, an Onitsha based widow, newspaper vendor and mother of children selling major national dailies along Obodoukwu Road in Okpoko, near Onitsha was arrested on 22nd May 2019 by personnel of the Onitsha Area Command. Her arresters claimed that “she was caught selling Biafra papers and belonging to IPOB terrorist organization”. She was detained without trial or release for ten days.
It took the intervention of the Onitsha Vendors Association and threats of media war from the Onitsha Newspaper Correspondents Chapel, for the Onitsha Area Commander to hurriedly transfer her and Mr. Sunday Awoke on Friday, 31st May 2019 to the Commissioner of Police for “interview”, leading to their release on bail on Sat, 1st June 2019 and asked to report today, 6th June 2019, at the Onitsha Area Command. While the journalists that worked for her release scuttled the N30, 000 she was conditioned to pay as “bail fee”, Mr. Sunday Awoke was “unlucky” as he paid N50, 000 to the “IPO” through his family and associates to secure his own release on the said date. The above instances are just to mention but few.
Despite the fact that cultural symbols including ethnic and religious symbols such as flags, bangles, chaplets, banners, T-shirts, Faze caps and other wearable items, etc do not constitute terrorist or treasonable instruments or acts of same, the Nigeria Police and the Nigerian Army particularly their senior officers of Northern Muslim background and their southern puppet officers have ferociously used them to frame-up and unlawfully arrest and detain hundreds of innocent citizens in Southeast Nigeria including those attending or returning from funerals.
This is more so when several high courts have discharged and acquitted hundreds of defenseless citizens arrested by police and army and taken to court on the grounds that “they were terrorists or treasonable felons found bearing Biafra flags, banners, bangles, chaplets and other insignias”. As a matter of fact, neither the Nigeria’s Federal Government through the Office of AGF nor the SSS or Police had secured a single court conviction since it launched its fierce and bloody state persecution against the Igbo citizens hiding under the cover of “IPOB terrorism” since August 2015.
Yet the same senior police officers in the Southeast, majorly composed of senior Northern Muslim officers, are watching or standing by on daily basis doing little or nothing while the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen go on rampage and lay siege on the People of the Region and their properties, lands and communities. It has been independently reported that the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen are not only being protected and aided, directly or indirectly, by the Police and the Military formations in the Southeast, but also that such official securitization protection and aiding have given them undue and dangerous access to no fewer than 125 major communal bushes and forests in the Southeast Region, which they now turn into Jihad, rape, abduction and armed robbery enclaves.
Another rampant case or stock in trade of the said Northern Muslim Police Chiefs in the Southeast is the unchecked case of official highway or roadway armed robbery operation,commonly called “Police Roadblock Extortion”. Through a chronic culture of “Police Returns”, this immoral conduct has remained their first stock in trade, followed by “mission to crush IPOB members” (unarmed and defenseless Igbo citizens using “IPOB” as a cover) and “protection and aiding of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen”. In other words, the named security chiefs and their bosses in Abuja are not for provision of genuine public security but for hate violence and criminal enrichment in Southeast Nigeria.
That is to say that the named senior Muslim Police Chiefs by their conduct atrocities have gravely undermined the salient provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the African Rights Charter Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004. Specifically, Section 36 (8) and (12) of the Constitution, under right to fair hearing, prohibits criminal labeling and trial by ordealincluding frame-ups, stigmatization, tribal profiling, retroactive criminal punishment and prosecutorial vindictiveness.
Also Section 35 of the Constitution, under right to personal liberty, totally prohibits arrest and detention of citizens without trial including vindictively and wickedly arraigning them for phantom capital offences in inappropriate courts to elongate their detention without trial; all done outside the commensuration of the real conduct crime, if any, involving the arrested and detained citizens.
The Constitutional Section 36 further prohibits the arrested and detained citizens from being presumed guilty by their captors and investigators without completing the constitutional or legal laid down processes of: credible suspicion of commission of crime, lawful arrest, lawful detention and lawful custodial treatments; diligent investigation and credible investigative indictment, fair court trial (not arraignment), fair hearing, conviction and sentencing or discharge and acquittal of the tried with corresponding compensations or remedies. Conversely and sadly, these constitutional provisions and processes have been observed in grave breach by the named police chiefs in the Southeast.
Several research findings by our Organization have since revealed that the present Nigerian Government’s security including police and military formations in the Southeast Region are mostly or lopsidedly manned by senior Muslims officers particularly those from Northern Nigeria. Presently, the Commissioners of Police for Anambra (Alhaji Dandaura Mustapha), Imo (Alhaji Rabiu Ladodo) and Enugu (Alhaji Suleiman Balarabe) are all Northern Muslims while that of Ebonyi (Awosala Awotinde) is from Southwest; with that of Abia (Ene Okon) coming from South-south, with probable acronym of “a puppet”.
It further appears that every Commissioner of Police posted to the Southeast particularly to Abia State is given a presidential or superior matching order for implementation without exception of “a policy of hate violence” as his or her official modus operandi; in return for elevation by the Police High Command/IGP to the top ranking and echelon of the Force particularly to the rank of Police DIG. This seemed to be the case with the recently retired DIG Habila Joshak; strongly believed to have been elevated to DIG from CP on account of his atrocious role during the Feb 2016 massacre of dozens of defenseless Igbo citizens at the National High School in Aba, after which he was named a DIG.
Also, serving DIG Anthony Ogbizi was mostly heard in the media issuing threats of “crushing IPOB members” when he held sway as Abia CP, from where he was named a DIG-a pattern and a trend seemingly being adopted and followed by the current State CP, Ene Okon; who appears to have his security mission in the State solely premised on “crushing IPOB members” (unarmed and defenseless Igbo citizens using “IPOB” as a cover).
This is in spite of rising security challenges in the State particularly violent crimes that had forced the Governor to cry out and initiate the process of revitalizing the murderous, unconventional and constitutionally disastrous “Bakassi Boys.
Names Of 140 Defenseless Igbo Citizens Languishing In Enugu Prison: Arrested and arraigned (not charged) on 23rd May 2019 in the Enugu Magistrate Court with arraignmentNumber: CME/3059/2019 (CP, Enugu v. Nnanna Okonkwo ‘M’ 36yrs & 139 Ors) and remanded in the Enugu Prison till date are as follows:
1. Nnanna Okonkwo (36yrs), 2. Kenneth Azubuike (25yrs), 3. Mmali Chukwuani (25yrs), 4. Isu Ejali (20ys), 5. Nwankwor Sunday (27yrs), 6. Chukwudi Peter (27yrs), 7. Ani Emmanuel (28yrs), 8. Chijioke Ihemehi (25yrs), 9. Edeh John (45yrs), 10. Nwinya Ndubuisi (25yrs), 11. Ugwu Ugochukwu (31yrs), 12. Chukwu Edward (42yrs), 13. Uzochukwu Obi (27yrs), 14. Ifeanyi Simon (31yrs), 15. Chukwudi Ugwu (27yrs), 16. Chijindu Ezekwueme (47yrs), 17. Ogbonna Anthony (45yrs), 18. Chinedu Ugochukwu (30yrs), 19. Onweri Sunday (27yrs), 20. Udeh Abraham (17yrs), 21. Onyeka Okoro (30yrs), 22. Nweke Tuesday (27yrs), 23. Sunday Nwafor (adult), 24. Uzochukwu Aneke (30yrs), 25. Eche Ikechukwu (27yrs), 26. Ozoemena Ogbu (54yrs), 27. Eyiuche Chinemerum (22yrs), 28. Agbo Chijioke (28yrs), 29. Ahuji Nomeh (41yrs), 30. Okoro Chimezie (26yrs), 31. Nwankwo Chukwuemeka (26yrs), 32. Ikechukwu Igwe (27yrs), 33. Humphrey Onweh (27yrs), 34. Emeka Igwe (26yrs), 35. Chikwendu Ogbodo (36yrs), 36. Nwafor Friday (33yrs), 37. Chinedu Okonkwo (24yrs), 38. Okoro Chukwuebuka (18yrs), 39 Iluga Joshua (28yrs) and 40. Daniel Agbor (45yrs).
Included are: 41. Emeka Offorbuisi (27yrs), 42.Nwani Chukwuebuka (32yrs), 43.John Edeh (adult), 44.Orunna Okechukwu (28yrs), 45.Ezeh Uchenna (40yrs), 46. Egwuatu Chimezie (26yrs), 47.Nebechi Chimezie (24yrs), 48.Collinus Chukwu (29yrs), 49.Amegu Nnaemeka (25yrs), 50.Onyekachi Onyia (32yrs), 51.Precious Ogiyi (58yrs), 52.Udeh Sunday (26yrs), 53.Okorie Uche (34yrs), 54. Okeke Chukwuebuka (25yrs), 55.Umeh Afamefuna (24yrs), 56.Sunday Chukwu (39yrs), 57.Chimamanda Amechi (33yrs), 58.Ekwumba Clement (38yrs), 59.Iganga Sunday (34yrs), 60.Ezeh Godwin (30yrs), 61.Nwankwo Sunday (39yrs), 62.Uchenna Ugwu (44yrs), 63. Nnaji Afam (42yrs), 64.Benjamin Chukwu (38yrs), 65.Edufu Ifeanyi (20yrs),66.Ugwuoke Simon (64yrs), 67.Anthony Usulor (50yrs), 68.Ikechukwu Aguh (35yrs), 69.John Ezeh (40yrs), 70.Omezi Sopuruchim (37yrs), 71.Gabriel Akabueze (61yrs), 72.Sunday Akam (28yrs), 73.Aguh Okwudilichukwu (42yrs), 74. Okonkwo Frankln (34yrs), 75.Ocho Chijoke (43yrs), 76.Ibeh Ifeanyi (35yrs), 77.Nworie Onuabuchi (24yrs), 78.Idima Onyedikachi (35yrs), 79.Onovo Chukwuneme (21yrs) and 80.Ogbonnaya Okereke (32yrs).
Others are: 81.Okorie Odunakachukwu (27yrs), 82.Emeka Oguenyi (38yrs), 83.Okechukwu Ogbonna (40yrs), 84.Egwuatu Kizito (26yrs), 85.Emmanuel Edeh (49yrs), 86.Ifeanyi Okeke (39yrs), 87.Nnaji Chiemerie (38yrs), 88.Cheta Chibuzo (19yrs), 89.Okwudiri Odoh (33yrs), 90.Mirah Eneje (female-55yrs), 91.John Okoro (44yrs), 92.Okwudiri Nwatu (44yrs), 93.Ejike Nnamani (25yrs), 94.Ani Joseph Sunday (38yrs), 95.Eze Emmanuel (30yrs), 96. Ozoemena Ani (adult), 97.Ayogu Emeka (32yrs), 98.Okonkwo Nonso (24yrs), 99.Igwesi Chukwuemeka (37yrs), 100.Emeka Ujam (40yrs), 101.Odinaka Ani (25yrs), 102.Nmaduodi Okorie (30yrs), 103.Ikechukwu Nweke (34yrs), 104.Oge Simon (32yrs), 105. Chinyere Edeh (female-31yrs), 106.Ndu Okwudiri (48yrs), 107.Chima Aguh (23yrs), 108.Akachukwu Daniel (33yrs), 109.Chisom Ogadinma (29yrs), 110.Chidi Nsiegbe (30yrs), 111.Ottah John (36yrs), 112.Ikechukwu Emeka (27yrs), 113.Sunday Nworah (25yrs), 114.Eze Ikenna (31yrs), 115. Francis Nwaigwe (29yrs), 116.Chukwuebuka Okafor (30yrs), 117.Chidi Nwunah (35yrs), 118.Eze Emeka (23yrs), 119.Ogbuagu Okechukwu (33yrs) and 120.Ani Ike Henry (28yrs).
The rest are: 121.Okoro Everistus (52yrs), 122.Idoko Felix (30yrs), 123.Okoye James (43yrs), 124.Ugwuanyi Nnaemeka (27yrs), 125.Paul Etako (40yrs), 126.Ogbonna Chinedu (27yrs), 127.Aniago Ogbonna (42yrs), 128.Augustine Oguamalam (28yrs), 129.Ifeoma Umeh (female-31yrs), 130.Ogechi Abiara (female-15yrs), 131.Nkiruka Nnajinwaogbu (female-44yrs), 132.Light Nwachukwu (female-55yrs), 133.Offor Adaeze (female-25yrs), 134.Igwebuike Nnenna (female-55yrs), 135.Onyinye Nnamani (female-37yrs),136. Bassey Okon (33yrs), 137.Sunday Oreaka (25yrs), 138.Anthony Amuchi (52yrs), 139.Eneh Ifeanyi (52yrs) and 140.Ofonume Sunday (30yrs).
Names of 28 Defenseless Citizens Languishing At Anambra State CID, Awka
They are 1. John Ibe, 2. Clement Offorbike, 3. Eugene Osita, 4. Anusionwu Christian, 5. Okoro Onyekwere, 6. Emma Udoka, 7. Cyril Sylvester, 8. Okonkwo Ubah, 9.Felix Okeke, 10. Damian Christian, 11. Obi Okpara, 12.Ifeanyi Ononuju, 12.Tochukwu Ogenyi, 13.Amarachukwu Obiagwuna (female), 14.Onuma Oliver-Jackson, 15.Onyesoro Chinwe (female), 16.Friday Ugwu, 17.Ambrose Nwachukwu, 18.Pius Igwe, 19.Okafor Chukwunwegbu, 20.Egbochukwu Chuka, 21.Nnadozie Ndubuisi, 22.Mbam Ifeanyichukwu, 23.Emeka Opiaka, 24. Umunnakwe Emeka, 25. Obiorah Chinecherem and 26.Celestine Nwauzo, 27. Chibuike Nwagwu and 28.Chima Ugwu.
Finally, we call on the Attorneys General of Enugu and Anambra States or their vicarious and constitutional reps to step into the matter and ensure that the 170 detained Igbo citizens (140 in Enugu and 30 in Anambra) including the ageing mothers and an under-age girl among them are released unconditionally and allowed to go home. The Anambra AG should enquire from the State CID and get its detainees freed, whether they have been arraigned (today) or still being held in its custody.
Our call on the two Attorneys General is in recognition of powers vested on them by Section 211 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. By Section 211 (1) (b) & (c) of the Constitution, “the Attorney Gen of a State can takeover, continue or discontinue at any stage before a judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person”. By Section 211 (2), the powers of the State AG “may be exercised by him in person or through officers of his department”. And by Section 211 (3), the State AG, “shall while exercising such powers have regard for public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent the abuse of legal process”.
The Onitsha Area Commander is also called upon to order for the immediate refund of the N50, 000 illegal bail fee collected by his “IPO” that handled the detention, profiling and bail or conditional release of Citizen Sunday Awoke. The Citizen, who can be reached via +2348067251072, must not be threatened or forced to deny being extorted, as it has been a routine police practice, but he must be refunded immediately with full apology from the Onitsha Area Commander; with the erring “investigating police officer” identified and severely punished.