75 Abducted Igbo Christians (55 Women & 20 Men) Rejoined Their Families After Over 4 Months In Nigerian Army Captivity
Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, Monday, 15th March 2021: It gladdens the heart of International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law to inform the world that the 75 innocent and defenseless Obigbo residents, comprising 55 women and 20 men, all Igbo natives and Christians, have finally returned to Igbo Land and rejoined their families, left for over four months or since Oct/Nov 2020 when they were abducted by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. The 75 abductees were freed on 4thand 5th March 2021, having earlier been granted bail by the Grade 11 Magistrate Court, Wuse 11, FCT Judicial Division, Abuja. While some were abducted between 7pm and 8pm in Obigbo and environs on their way home from work and other lawful social activities and held secretly for days at Headquarters of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt before bundled to the Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja, others were abducted during similar, if not same hours and bundled to Obinze Army Barracks in Owerri, Imo State from where they were disappeared and surfaced next day at Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja. All the freed 75 abductees were abducted at night and moved from 6 Division/Obinze Army Barracks to Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja late into the night or at hours of the blue law.
Among the 75 abductees are 55 women mostly between 18 and 25 years of age. The oldest among the 55 women are between 27 and 39 years of age including mothers of children and the newly married and among those in 18 and 25 years age bracket are university admission seekers, sales girls, hair dressing/plaiting and tailoring apprentices, fresh university undergraduates, etc. There are also hospital staff and a Day-Care proprietress, etc among those in 27 and 39 years age bracket. The 20 men among the 75 abductees are also of productive age bracket (18 years and 35 years and two are in their late 50s and mid 60s) including traders, trade apprentices, panel beaters, Secondary School leavers, university admission seekers, etc. All personal belongings of the 75 abductees including women’s hand bags and their contents, cash sums, mobile phones, identity cards, etc were taken away by soldiers till date and each of 55 women among them was forced to wear in Army captivity same underwear worn at the point of her abduction over four months ago.
It must be reminded that the 75 Obigbo abductees including 55 women and 20 men were abducted by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, held for days at the headquarters of 6 Division and Obinze Barracks and bundled to Mogadishu Army Barracks in Abuja, located very close to Aso Rock-the seat of Nigeria’s Presidential Power where they were secretly held outside public or their families’ knowledge or information for over four months. Their abduction and captivity were also done amidst grave inhuman conditions and without court trial. According to testimonies of most of the freed abductees, “they were transferred to DSS and Police facilities after being held in Army captivity for months”. In other words, they were transferred to DSS and Nigeria Police facilities few weeks before they regained freedom through Court bails following our advocacy campaigns and public outcries. While 53 women were released from the hands of DSS, 22 including 20 men and two women were freed from the hands of the Nigeria Police Force. Till date, Nigerian Army and its immediate past Chief of Staff-Retired Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (principal perpetrators) and authorities of DSS and Nigeria Police Force (conspirators) have refused to speak on their roles in the abductions.
Intersociety wishes to state again that by the existing laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including Decided Cases (Case-Laws), the Armed Forces Act of 2004 and the 1999 Constitution, the Nigerian Army or any other branch of the Armed Forces is disempowered from arresting, detaining, investigating and prosecuting civilian citizens not subject to the Armed Forces Act of 2004 and the Nigerian Security Agencies Act of 2004, governing the conducts of DSS, the Service is disempowered from usurping the core duties of the Nigeria Police Force such as investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution of civilian citizens or their discharge and acquittal. DSS is also disempowered by the referenced laws including Sections 35 and 36 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution from accepting civilian citizens abducted or illegally arrested and held for months by any branch of the Armed Forces particularly the Nigerian Army for purpose of incarcerating them further and unlawfully without trial. The Nigeria Police Force as lawful or authorized investigating, arresting, detaining and prosecuting authority, is barred by Law from holding civilian citizens without public knowledge and trial outside the constitutionally prescribed periods.
Freed Abductees’ Ten Days Tortuous Journey Back To Igbo Land
Apart from spending heavily to secure bail sureties for the 75 freed Obigbo abductees and feeding, cleaning, clothing (including new panties and brassieres, soaps and sponges and sanitary pads for each of the 55 women), foot-wearing, treatment (first aids), lodging (hotels within and outside Abuja), transporting (within and outside Abuja and rejoining him or her with his or her family) each of them; all running into millions of naira, it was also ten days tortuous journey of the abductees back to Igbo Land. During the ten days (5th to 14thMarch 2021) tortuous journey from Abuja to Igbo Land, the traumatized and the fainted were revived and conveying vehicles broke down severally. Funds also became a major hindrance.
Malicious surveillances and roadblocks were also mounted by detailed security agents so as to do the untoward. Some media practitioners were infiltrated or hired by malicious security agents and spying others including those working for the immediate past Chief of Army Staff (key perpetrator of the conduct atrocity crimes). They had bombarded us with calls pretending to be “professional” and “sympathetic” journalists “seeking to speak with the women especially the raped or their families”; whereas their sole mission was hostile journalism. In the end, the ten days tortuous journey of the 75 abductees back to Igbo Land, despite encountered challenges and difficulties, was hugely successful, thanks to doggedness of Barr Richie Okoroafor, leadership of IPOB and others contacted including lawmakers, etc. The highlight of it all was the historic visit to the freed female abductees by three parents: a father and two mothers and they can be spotted in front of the two photos attached.
Names Of Freed 55 Igbo Christian Women
They are: Ijeoma Francisca, Pauline Anyanwu, Grace Samson, Rebecca Ibeanusi, Ebere Uchechi, Emmanuella Oluchukwu, Okafor Uloma, Peace Amaka, Eberechi ibe, Ekene Silver, Grace Anwulika, Mba Asiegbu, Modesta Umezie, Blessing Paulina, Joy Anozie, Amarachukwu Believe, Amadi Chinasa, Onwuka Uzoma, Chidinma Ukachukwu, Chioma Isaac and Peace Isaac (sisters), Ebube Aneto, Tina Emeka, Stephanie Sunday, Mercy Chidinma, Diri Ibe, Mirabel Angel, Nwosu Abigail, Uwaoma Queen, Sarah Alo, Sandra Evoh and Cynthia Evoh (sisters), Bridget Dede, Erica Ndubuisi and Ujunwa Ndubuisi (sisters), Oluchi Mercy, Uchendu Priscilla, Goodness Kaima, Mama Nnamdi (39 years old), Ekpere Odinanka, Nwoji Mary, Rosemary Ogudike, Happiness Odinaka, Georgina Umunze, Ngozi White, Atumofe Charity and Atumofe Precious (sisters), Amaka Ebere, Clementina Obiageli, Success Florence, Dike Amara, Kelechi Orji and Ukaamaka Oluchi (all released from the hands of DSS after being held for months and transferred by Nigerian Army) and Joyce Igwe and Ujunwa Felix (freed from the hands of the Nigeria Police Force after being held for months and transferred by Nigerian Army).
Names Of Freed 20 Igbo Christian Men
They are: Precious Ibe, Okonkwo Peter, Basil Anyanwu, Apostle Collins, Emeajokwu Bright, Nonso Isaac, Kennedy Samuel, Ugwu Odinnaka, Hossana Gregory, Ambrose Kenechukwu, Timothy Onyeama, Raphael Adam, Lucky Okolie, Richard Okpara, Emmaus God-Day, Chibuike Andrew, Kenneth Onuigbo, Patrick Uzoma, Anthony Okparaego and Uche Paul (all freed from the hands of the Nigeria Police Force after being held for months and transferred by Army).
Photos representing the freed 75 Obigbo Christian residents including 55 women are attached.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Principal Officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Chidimma Udegbunam, Esq., and Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku
Email: [email protected]