Police Must Free All Wrongly Arrested And Falsely Accused Innocent Citizens In Imo
Ref: Intersociety/Public Petitions/No. 001/06/21/NPF/PSC/NG
Date: Wednesday, 2nd June 2021
The Inspector General of Police
CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer
Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja
Communication Mode: WhatsAPP: +2348038375844
The Chairman, Police Service Commission
Mr. Ikechukwu Ani, Public Relations Officer
The PSC Headquarters, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja
Communication Mode: WhatsApp: +2348033345362
·The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command
SP Bala Elkana, Imo State Command’s Police Public Relations Officer
The State Command Headquarters, Owerri
Communication Mode: WhatsAPP: +2347063116303
Strongly Calling For Investigation, Review, Release, Discharge And Acquittal Of All Wrongly Arrested And Falsely Accused Citizens In Connection With Rising Wave Of Attacks On Security Personnel And Government Facilities In Imo And Discontinuation Of Indiscriminate Arrests, Torture, Wanton Extra-Judicial Killings And Disappearances
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a leading research and investigative rights group based in Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, is strongly calling on Your Public Offices through Your Public Relations Officers above named to comprehensively investigate and review all cases of the wrongly arrested and falsely accused citizens, arrested and presently detained in connection with the rising wave of attacks on security personnel and Government facilities; at the end of which, those found to have been wrongly arrested and falsely accused or labeled “ESN hoodlums/terrorists” including the investigated names below must be released unconditionally if being held in Imo or in Abuja or have their prosecution discontinued if already arraigned. Intersociety is also deeply concerned over rising cases of indiscriminate arrest, false labeling, disappearances, torture and wanton extrajudicial killings and unlawful executions by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army. Totality of the above is starkly a clear case of unprofessionalism including crude, hate, ethnic and religiously targeted policing. We therefore call on Your Public Offices to desist from the above and police the assigned areas professionally, technically, competently and pluralistically or evenly.
Intersociety has strongly condemned and still condemns attacks on security personnel and Government facilities as well as indiscriminate arrests, false labeling, torture, disappearances and wanton extrajudicial killings and unlawful executions by security operatives deployed in the East including in Imo State. Nigeria Police Force must therefore revert to professionalism and non discriminatory policing including arrest and prosecution of jihadist Fulani Herdsmen wrecking havoc in the East. Our writing Your Public Offices are specifically premised on the innocence of dozens of citizens arrested in different locations in Imo State and falsely labeled “ESN hoodlums/terrorists” who are presently held by the Imo State Police Command or the Force Headquarters in Abuja as well as those arraigned and remanded in prison custodies through “mobile” court arrangements. We demand for their immediate release, discharge and acquittal and freedom from further attacks and harassments. These salient and conscientious demands of ours are as a result of recent thorough investigations and their findings.
Abducted/Arrested Innocent Citizens Falsely Labeled “ESN Hoodlums/Gunmen” In Imo
·John Chinonso, 24 Years Old: He is from Nchoko Dikenafai Community in Ideato South, Imo State and living at Apiti Street by Hardel Junction, Orji-Uratta in Owerri North, Imo State. An orphan living with his elder brother orphan (Emmanuel), Citizen Chinoso owns and manages ‘DADDYFRESH BARBING SALOON’ at Ogboru Umuchoke by Hardel Bus Stop, Uratta. He responded to his elder brother’s call for him to close his shop and return home before dawn owing to precarious security situation in Owerri and environs and as he was going home in the evening of Tuesday, 25th May 2021 at about 4pm, the police patrol personnel blocked him and arrested him at gunpoint. Citizen John Chinonso was in the same evening paraded alongside four others as “ESN hoodlums attempted to burn down Orji Police Station”.
·Chukwudi Okoro, 29 years old: He is a Shuttle Bus transporter/owner, plying Owerri-Orji route with his apprentice who drives the Bus. He is from Akabo-Amata in Orji, near Owerri, Imo State. His wife, Chioma, is heavily pregnant for seven months. Citizen Chukwudi Okoro and his driver were heading home in the early evening of 25th May 2021, having closed early as a result of precarious security situation in Owerri and environs and rising wave of Army and Police abductions and extrajudicial killings. They sighted riotous police patrol personnel shooting indiscriminately around Orji and environs, forcing Citizen Chukwudi Okoro to jump out of his Shuttle Bus in fear and ask his driver to take the Bus to the driver’s house so that he could find a safer route to his house. He barely trekked meters when police patrol personnel blocked his way and arrested him at gunpoint. He was paraded in the same evening alongside four others as “ESN hoodlums that attempted to burn down Orji Police Station”.
·Casmir Ibegbulem, 40 years old: He is a father of one, expectant father of another and a “Permit Holder” staff of LNG Company at Bonny Island in Bayelsa State and a native of Ogwa Community in Mbaitoli, Imo State. Citizen Casmir Ibegbulem returned for the burial of his in-law, which eventually took place on Friday, 28th May 2021. He was in Owerri on Tuesday, 25thMay 2021 to pick up personal items needed when police patrol personnel bounced on him at gunpoint and arrested him. He was paraded in the same evening alongside four others as “ESN hoodlums that attempted to burn down Orji Police Station”. Citizen Casmir Ibegbulem is married to Onyekachi who is pregnant for seven months. It is noted here that Citizen Ibegbulem was released yesterday evening at Force Headquarters, Abuja after being forced to pay N1.5m.
·Chigaemezu Sebastian, 26 Years Old: He is 26 years old and unmarried, residing at Naze, Owerri, Imo State. He is a trader/plumber at Ogbosisi (Timber) Market, Owerri and hails from Asaa, Ngugo in Ikeduru, Imo State. He was unjustly arrested en routing his village at Ikeduru when the attack took place and while, he alongside others were scampering for safety following indiscriminate shootings and raining of live bullets by police and army personnel, following which he was arrested by police on 25th May 2021 and was in the same evening paraded alongside four others and falsely labeled “ESN hoodlums that attempted to burn down Orji Police Station”.. The lawyer hired by the family for the matter was denied access and audience with him at Imo State CID and on Saturday evening, 29th May 2021, Citizen Chigaemezu called his elder brother from Abuja (Force Headquarters where he has been transferred alongside four wrongly accused and falsely labeled others) with his personal phone number and further gave his side of the story. In tears he pleaded for his family’s intervention as he is presently under severe torture alongside four others. A policeman who identified himself as inspector Daniel told my husband to come to Abuja in relation to the case and on Monday 31st May 2021, another lawyer was sent to see the inspector but the lawyer was denied access because the police at the security post insisted that he must call whoever he is looking for.
·Daberechi Alozie, 25 Years Old: He hails from Obokofia-Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo State and was with his relative, a retired permanent secretary in the Imo State Civil Service who was his guardian for over 20 years at Jerusalem Lodge, Umukoto Nekede,Owerri. He recently became an apprentice Aluminum Fabricator worker with Chief Chindu C Chindu popularly known as Oceanic Aluminum in Owerri located at No 45 Onomuonu Street, Owerri. Citizen Daberechi Alozie was on his way to Ogwa for a job for one Mrs. Onyinye Onyenaka when he ran into Security Agents at Orji on 25th May 2021 and was arrested. Citizen Alozie is also among those transferred to Force Headquarters where they are presently being tortured.
·Ugbo Casmir Nnaemeka & Ojukwu Ukonu: They differently reside at World Bank Housing Estate, New Owerri and Igwe Allen Okoro Street, Off MCC Road, Owerri and were arrested differently on trumped up allegations on 13th May (Ojukwu Ukonu) and 14thMay 2021 (Casmir Nnaemeka Ugbo) by the operatives of the anti kidnapping squad of the Imo State Police Command. The two had served in various capacities in the administration of former Governor Rochas Okorocha and are still aides working for the former Governor. Citizens Ugbo Casmir Nnaemeka and Ojukwu Ukonu are fathers of children living with their wives and differently hail from Umuezike Obibi-Ochasi in Orlu, Imo State (Nnaemeka Casmir) and Obinocha-Nkwere in Nkwere, Imo State (Ojukwu Ukonu). Surprisingly, on Friday, 28th May 2021, the Imo State Police Command released a false and malicious statement: “Police Arrest Four (Five) Additional ESN Hoodlums That Attacked Imo Prison (Correctional) Headquarters, Others…”. The Police Command not only named the duo alongside two (three) others as “ESN hoodlums” but also falsely claimed to have arrested them on Thursday, 27thMay 2021 “during a coded raid operation to fish out “ESN hoodlums”. Available evidence has not only rubbished the police claims but also incontrovertibly shown that they were arrested and detained since 13th and 14thMay 2021, a period of two weeks before the Police latest false claims and labeling.
·Smith Amadikwa: Citizen Smith Amadikwa is 44 years old father of kids and happily married to Hon Mrs. Ebere Amadikwa, a former Leader of the Obowo Local Government Legislative Council under former Governor Rochas Okorocha and they reside at Umuagu Seven and Half Junction, Obowo and hail from Umuagu in Obowo. According to his wife, Smith Amadikwa was arrested and detained since 12th May 2021 after he had gone in company of his wife to catch up with an appointment at Owerri Shoprite/ Samsung from where he was arrested by the Imo State Police Command. His wife had waited in futility for her husband in their car to join her back home. Citizen Smith Amadikwa also served under Okorocha administration and presently owns and runs “Smith’s Comedy Show”. He is also a well known ‘Master of Ceremony’ and ‘Movie Actor’. He was among the four (five) names falsely labeled “ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Prison Headquarters” by the Imo State Police Command on 28thMay 2021 which also falsely claimed to have arrested him alongside others on Thursday, 27th May 2021 as against 12th May 2021 when he was arrested.
·Engineer Ikechukwu Okomah, 50 Years Old: He is a graduate of Engineering from the Enugu State University, class of 1996 and Masters Degree holder in Chemical Engineering and a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers as well as a licensed petroleum dealer and an executive member of IPMAN (independent petroleum marketers association of Nigeria). Married with kids and living with his wife, he is from Ubahaezike, Awo Idemmili in Orsu Local Government Area, Imo State and resides at MCC Road, Uratta, Owerri and religiously, he is a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement of Nigeria of St Mathews Catholic Church, MCC Road, Uratta, Imo State and also owns and runs a big pig farm in his Community. He was maliciously accused and arrested on 19thMay 2021 by the anti kidnapping squad of the Imo State Police Command and shockingly on Friday, 28th May 2021, was co-labeled by the Imo State Police Command as “ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Prison Headquarters”, which also falsely claimed to have arrested him alongside three (four) others on Thursday, 27th May 2021.
·Emeka Mbonu (Mescana), 39 Years Old & Ibe Chisom Amadi: Emeka Mbonu is a father of three kids and happily married, residing at MCC Road/Amawire, Owerri. He is presently into real estate and was a staff of Owerri Capital Development Authority under former Governor Rochas Okorocha. He hails from Osina in Ideato North, Imo State and was arrested and detained by the operatives of the Imo State Police Command since 13thMay 2021 and was co-labeled “ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Prison Headquarters”. The Police also falsely claimed to have arrested him alongside three (four) others on Thursday, 27th May 2021. It must be noted that Citizens Ikechukwu Okomah and Emeka Mbonu were arrested and originally framed and accused of “possessing firearms” (Dane guns and pump action guns used by their street vigilantes) from where the Police changed and accused them of “being ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Prison Headquarters”. Citizen Ibe Chisom, on his part, is a Port Harcourt based father of three and a surveyor who was arrested by police/SSS since 18thMarch 2021 and whisked away with his white Toyota Camry car. He had returned from Port Harcourt to his Umuodiya, Umuegwum in Mbaise, Imo State for a funeral ceremony when he was arrested around 12noon and since then he has not been seen or located.
·Akachukwu Nwadike, 24 Years Old & 20 Others: At Ogbosisi Market, Owerri, 24 years old Akachukwu Nwadike was severally and severely stabbed with knives by police personnel from the Imo State Police Command and later taken away alongside about twenty others. The riotous police personnel had violently stormed the crowded Market and smashed windscreens of over ten parked private and commercial vehicles during which they stormed a food restaurant owned Citizen Akachukwu’s aged mother, stabbed him alongside another customer before bundling two of them and another away, while a Yoruba guy among them who shouted his tribe identity before the invading police personnel, was left untouched The Police later claimed that they “raided the Market on account of discovery of illegal petroleum deport”. While Citizen Akachukwu Nwadike was freed the next day, the about twenty others have remained detained till date.
·Abuja Force Headquarters Must Return N1.5m Forcefully Taken From Casmir Ibegbulem: We strongly condemn the forceful collection, yesterday, 1stJune 2021 the sum of N1.5m from Citizen Casmir Ibegbulem, a Bonny Island (Bayelsa State) based oil Company worker, arrested on 25th May 2021 alongside four others and falsely labeled “ESN hoodlums that attempted to burn down Orji Police Station”. He was freed yesterday evening at Force Headquarters after being forced through his family to pay N1.5m and threatened not to publicly disclosed same or risk being re-arrested and charged for “terrorism”. We demand for immediate refund of the money to his family and cessation of further extortion of others still being at Force Headquarters or at Imo State Police Command. The forceful collection of N1.5m from Citizen Ibegbulem is not only a confirmation of the fact that he was accused wrongly and falsely alongside others but also put the Nigeria Police Force at the same page with bandits and terrorists abducting Nigerians and collecting millions of naira as ransoms.
·True Version Of Enyeogugu Market Killings/Lootings By The Military: Contrary to the statements of the Imo State Police Command, a lorry loaded with onions from Northern Nigeria and moving from Umuahia to Obowo and Ahiara was waylaid at Enyiogugu Market Square in Aboh-Mbaise by aggrieved violent citizens leading to passersby including church goers and returnees and some Okada riders, etc scrambling for their illicit sharing and in reprisal following phone calls by some Northern Muslim civilians, soldiers stormed the scene and opened fire in the crowded Market Square and shot indiscriminately and in the end, scores of unarmed citizens were killed and others injured. Coincided with the trailing and target killing of Mr. Gulak, security agencies including the Imo State Police Command, turned around and controversially linked the incident to the assassination and labeled the slain and maimed victims as “ESN hoodlums that killed Gulak”. This is even when the violent deviants that waylaid the lorry-load of onions had left the scene. Cars displayed by the Police as “operational exhibits belonging to the ESN hoodlums” are said to be those belonging to motorists using the route.
The first incident took place on Sunday, 30th May 2021 and as if that was not enough, on Monday, 31st May 2021, the personnel of the Nigerian Air Force, procured by some Northern Muslims to retrieve the lorry turned themselves into looters and the Market Square to looting scene, looting wantonly in revenge. Information also has it that Northerners living around ENYIOGUGU were taking the military men from one big shop to the other as they looted and packed away the goods amidst indiscriminate shootings, forcing the victims to be unable to take photos and videos. Names of those whose shops were looted the Military Anti Bomb squad and Air Force personnel that came with a lorry and other vehicles and food items looted are:
·GEORGE NDULAKA - Assorted Drinks
·FRANK AKUBUEZE - Assorted Drinks & Restaurant
·CHIDOZIE NJOKU - Assorted food stuff, Fridge and Gen carted also.
·CRESCENTIA NWACHUKWU - Several Bags of Rice, many cartons of noodles, spaghetti, macaroni, many cartons of assorted milk, Milo, Ovaltine, soaps, several Parks of soft drinks, cartons of cigarettes, cartons of wines & hot drinks etc
·JOHN AKUSHIE - several cartons of wine and hot drinks, soft drinks, one bag of rice, several Parks of soft drinks etc.
·LIVINUS ANUFURO - Assorted electrical and electronics carted away.
·CHUKWUDI NWAGWU - Bags of Rice, many cartons of noodles, macaroni, many cartons of assorted beverages, soaps, soft drinks, cartons of cigarettes, cartons of wines & hot drinks etc
·JOHN OPARA - Big Gen set carted away
·ONYINYECHI OPARA - Refrigerator and big get set carted
·CHIMA OBASI - Shop only forced open nothing was removed
·TEDDY IGBO - shop broken but nothing was removed
·CHIKODI AKALI - Shop only forced open nothing was removed
·BENSON OBILOR - Fruits shop vandalized
·UJOJI CHISOM - Provision store completely vandalized
·AIKEDIALA CHINONSO -
·BEST OGBONNA - Gen set carted
·NDUKWU JACINTA - wine shop vandalized with tailoring machines carted away
·NJOKU UGOCHI - fruit shop vandalized
·JANE ANYANWU - provision shop vandalized
·CHRISTOPHER OPARA - shop broken but nothing was removed
·KENNETH UWASOMBA - shop broken but nothing was removed
·UCHE NWALOZIE - Provision store vandalized
Intersociety strongly demands for the return of all the looted food items and commensurate compensations for the victims as well as unconditional release of those arrested alive in the area on Sunday, 30th May and adequate treatment of the shot and wounded and arrest and prosecution of all the perpetrators involved. Sources:concerned eyewitnesses and natives of Enyeogugu, Aboh-Mbaise
Yours in the Service to Humanity
·Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist/Board Chair
·Barr Chinwe Umeche
·Barr Obianuju Igboeli
·Barr Chidimma Udegbunam
·Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
Contacts: Phone/WhatsApp: +2348174090052, Email: [email protected] , Website: intersociety-ng.org