International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law on 2nd June 2021 wrote to the Inspector General, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Imo State Police Commissioner, drawing their attention to serious breaches of citizens’ fundamental human rights including false and hate labeling, indiscriminate arrests and abductions, torture and degradation, disappearances and wanton extrajudicial killings and unlawful executions.
The letters were sent through electronic communication mode (WhatsApp) and communicated through the Public Relations Officers of the trio who got back to us and firmly promised to forward the letters to their bosses. Photos of several wrongly arrested and falsely labeled citizens were also attached.
We, among others, demanded for immediate refund of N1.5m forcefully collected, through his family, from Citizen Casmir Ibegbulem, to his family. Citizen Ibegbulem is a 40 years old ‘Permit Holder’ staff of an oil company based in Bonny Island, Bayelsa State who traveled to his Ogwa community in Mbaitoli, Imo State for the burial of his in-law, scheduled for 28th May 2021 and was wrongly arrested and falsely accused by the Imo State Police Command on 25th May 2021.
He, alongside four others, were days after moved to the Force Headquarters and on account of public outcries and our investigative and media advocacy, the Force Headquarters criminally forced him to part with N1.5m leading to his release in the evening of 1st June 2021.
In our letter to the trio of IGP, PSC and Imo State Police Cp, we not only demanded for the immediate and unconditional return of the amount to his family but also saw the “extortion from the throne” as a confirmation that he was truly wrongly arrested and falsely labeled. The extortion further put the Nigeria Police Force at the same page with bandits and terrorists who also abduct Nigerians and collect ransoms with reckless abandon.
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 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
· IKEDIALA CHINONSO –
· BEST OGBONNA – Gen set carted
· NDUKWU JACINTA – wine shop vandalized with tailoring machines carted away
· NJOKU EMMANUEL
· 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
· 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