DSS At It Again: Another Failed Criminal Stigmatization Of IPOB As A Terrorist Organization
(Aboukuta Nigeria, 1st July 2016)-The Department of State Security Services is it again and starkly economical with the truth over its latest claims that “it has arrested an IPOB member in connection with plans to carry out coordinated attacks against religious bodies/edifices; police check points and the Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos State with Improvised Explosive Devices”. The DSS says “the known IPOB member was arrested while making logistics supplies for their nefarious plan”.
The DSS further claimed that there are plans by the IPOB to carry out terrorist attacks during the Sallah celebration across the country. In other words, the DSS is saying, just as it falsely claimed few months ago, that the IPOB “is a terrorist organization”; thereby comparing it with the Boko Haram terror group that is notorious in engaging in deadly bombing activities particularly during high profile religious activities such as Xmas and Sallah feasts. This is a criminal stigmatization too many.
The DSS statement, as usual, is unprofessional and inter-service unfriendly. For instance, the DSS was not created to tackle common street crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping or gun running. It is purely the duties of the Nigeria Police Force and its specialist agencies such as CID and SARS to handle such. Even if the DSS provides intelligence, leading to the apprehension of the suspects, the substantive post arrest processes including investigations and public updates on progress of same, statutorily reside with the Nigeria Police Force. To say the least, the DSS is dangerously over-stepping its statutory bounds and must be called to order.
Just as the Service goofed unpardonable in its 9th of April 2016 phantom claims of murdering of “Five Hausa-Fulani Citizens by IPOB in Abia State”, the DSS has in its latest statement, made further mockery of the country’s intelligence community regionally and internationally by unprofessionally muddling up issues and engaging in falsehood of unpardonable proportion. The DSS is obviously a major victim of Nigeria’s securitization and intelligence decadence.
However, our major concern here is another attempt at labelling the IPOB and its leadership as “a terrorist organization”. The DSS has failed again just as it failed before. Labelling and stigmatizing the IPOB as “a raging and ravaging terrorist organization” is totally annoying and reprehensible. The IPOB has been forced by all means by the Buhari administration through its army, DSS, police, etc to abandon its strong nonviolence avowal and methodology and where these attempts have failed, resort to all kinds of stigmatization to label it so has been made and is still being made.
Records at our disposal, following our in-depth investigation concerning the arrest of Engineer Chidiebere Onwudiwe since early hours of Wednesday, 22nd of June 2016, have again, rubbished the DSS latest claims of “arresting a known IPOB member for planned terrorist attacks on religious bodies/edifices and Ikeja Computer Village”. Engineer Chidiebere Onwudiwe, to put the records straight for all Nigerians and members of the international community”, including the lying DSS; is the National Coordinator of the IPOB and well known to local and international rights and media organizations as well as members of international diplomatic community. He is non violent and has never used or advocated violence till date.
Some months ago, instructed agents of the Buhari administration infiltrated the ranks of the IPOB locally and internationally and successfully planted “strawmen” or moles within the group, leading to internal division within its ranks. The government sponsored division was put on hold following the transfer of its leader (Nnamdi Kanu) from DSS underground detention to Kuje Prisons.
In the 30th of May 2016 violently aborted Igbo/Biafran Heroes Day anniversary, the ranks of the IPOB were again infiltrated by agents of the Federal Government with heavy inducement, leading to internal sabotage of the anniversary, with the “purchased” leaking vital information about the preparation of the peaceful rally to government, on account of which, as much as 140 unarmed and innocent citizens were massacred and numerous others deadly shot with live bullets fired by soldiers, navy and police from automatic weapons.
In the late evening of 21st of June 2016, Mr. Onwudiwe, who resides in Rumukurushi area of Port Harcourt, was trailed through a certain Sienna car he was driving home with by some secret operatives aided by some mole-IPOB members. He was trailed to the front of his residence where he parked and headed into his apartment. He was returning from the routine meeting of his group in Port Harcourt when he was sighted with a Sienna car and trailed. Before then, a complaint had been instigated against him at DSS, Port Harcourt, by some of his members, compromised by government agents; who alleged leadership crisis.
It was on account of such conspiracy that the DSS chaps later mobilized and stormed Engineer Chidiebere Onwudiwe’s house in the hours of the blue law or early morning of 22nd of June 2016; violently broke his door and swooped on him, leading to his arrest and detention in the DSS cell till date. It is therefore surprising and shocking as per how the above scenario is connected to the DSS concoction. How can the DSS claim that “he was arrested while making logistics supplies for their nefarious plan”? Does a citizen make logistics supplies in his or her sleep?
The DSS also childishly theorized Mr. Onwudiwe’s “mechanical and chemical” university training as a surely ticket of his potentials of “making and detonating bombs”. Planning to “attack religious bodies/edifices and Ikeja Computer Village”, is further concoction too many. That a citizen was unjustly arrested and unconstitutionally detained since 22nd of June 2016 and only for his arrest to be made public few days to the Sallah celebration, further exposes the Federal Government bent to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it at all costs.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Barr Uju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program