The unconstitutional and unorthodox style of policing being adopted by the men and officers of the Imo State Police command which includes the mass arrests of youngsters in any scene of crime particularly whenever the unfortunate shooting by unknown gunmen targeting security forces and institutions happened, has been described as outrageous, reprehensible, despicable and intolerable.”
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) condemns the reign of anarchy in the South East of Nigeria and urged the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) not to let themselves unwittingly become the agents provocateur for the eventual turning of their motherland into a war zone just as the Rights group said only an insane child will put his father’s house on fire over certain grievances caused by external forces who stay far away from his father’s house.
“Can we in all honesty identify those causing the destructions to strategic assets built in the South East which are there to serve the interest of the South East of Nigeria? Can we all work to put an end to this insanity of killing police officers who are mostly our own people?Can we stop the destructions of government facilities which belong to the South East of Nigeria?”
HURIWA has also condemned the practice by police and soldiers of shooting indiscriminately on the streets of major towns in the South East such as Orlu, Owerri, Umuahia and Abia without provocation.
The Rights group described the indiscriminate shooting as tantamount to the enforcement of the shoot-at-sight order which the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration reportedly gave to the Armed Forces in the South East because according to the Rights group, many Imo State citizens have been killedby stray bullets emanating from such rash of indiscriminate shooting in the broad daylight by armed security forces in a bid to demonstrate that they have superior weapons. “This style doesn’t make sense”.
The aforementioned is the position of the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) in reaction to the confirmation by the Imo State Police commissioner who admitted that his armed operatives embarked on indiscriminate arrests of young men at the Naze Timber Market in Owerri, the Imo state capital following the gruesome shooting to death by armed hoodlums of two Airforce operatives near the Naze Timber Market.
“HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA is miffed that in the twenty first century, the Commissioner of Police who ought to be a professionally trained operative who rose to the rank of a Commissioner, can be heard confirming that indeed he sent out his armed operatives to the market square to round up any able bodied men and boys seen within the vicinity of the crime scene in which two operatives of the Air Force were sadly killed in an unprovoked and callous manner”.
“It is even shocking that these killings of security operatives were carried out by those even the police commissioner described as hoodlums who he said usually meet to smoke Indian hemp at the Naze Timber Market. It’s against several provisions of the fundamental freedoms expressly provided for in the chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution which are binding and enforceable that the police aren’t allowed to arbitrarily arrest and detain just anybody seen around the crime scene as if the police now uses guess works devoid of hard core intelligence to go after suspects.”
“This archaic and unworkable policing methodology is unorthodox and totally unconstitutional because it is prone to making the Nigerian Police to commit horrendous human rights violations such as illegal arrest, denial of fundamental freedoms and arbitrary detention of innocent citizens. What stops the police from making use of modern forensic investigative methodology rather than this primitive style of just rounding up just anyone seen around any crime scene?”
“We in HURIWA are scandalised to read the Imo State Commissioner of Police personally confirmed that he uses illegal methodology of indiscriminate arrests to carry out the enforcement of the law in Imo State”.
“The commissioner of police in Imo State affirmed that two security personnel of the Nigeria Air Force attached to Air Force Regiment, Owerri, Imo State, have been shot dead.The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, confirmed this to the media in Owerri on Saturday during a telephone conversation. He said that the deceased officers had gone to a selling point around the area to buy food to eat, when they were shot dead.”
The Rights group then stated that the Police Commissioner said to the media that while he was speaking , the Air Force Commander in Imo State was with him and then scandalously said: “It’s good you (the media practitioner) called, two Nigeria Air Force personnel were yesterday killed at Naze Timber Market by hoodlums and that was why Police personnel are there to mop up arrest.”
HURIWA quoted the police commissioner as stating that the incident occurred around the park where the hoodlums stay to smoke Indian hemp and from there they move to terrorise the people just as the commissioner of police said the presence of Police personnel at Naze was to mop up arrest and to bring the situation back to normalcy.
HURIWA however thinks the Imo State Police commissioner has resorted to the use of self help measures and has failed to activate professional and evidence based methodology to effect arrest which runs counter to the global best practices of policing standards and regulations.
“So this commissioner of police is telling the World that he knows that a particular spot is used for smoking prohibited substances and he as the man who should deploy police intelligence operatives to beat the hoodlums in their game and stop them from committing crime failed to do so but waited until two Airforce operatives were killed only for him to now run commentary on what he knows about the crime scene and then he proceeded to authorizs the use of illegal arrests to simply pluck off all the young men in the Timber Market in Naze and to arrest and detain them as the suspects who killed the Airforce operatives? This is totally unacceptable and outrageous “.
The Rights group has also appealed to all the aggrieved groups in any part of South East and South South to halt the senseless attacks targeting government institutions and policing facilities and officers.
The Rights group carpeted the governors of the region for doing more of talking in the media and have done nothing to reach out to the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and to tell President Muhammadu Buhari to unban IPOB and embrace constructive dialogues rather than the crude resorts to the deployment of soldiers and police who are carrying out extralegal killings of citizens and heightening the social tension in South East and South South.
HURIWA wonders why the case filed by IPOB challenging the constitutionality of the declaration made by President Muhammadu Buhari against IPOB as a terrorist group has seemingly been sabotaged and undermined by the Federal judiciary. We think the Federal High Court by delaying the hearing of the suit by IPOB against the Federal government for declaring them as a terrorist group, has further stoked the embers of anarchy and chaos in the South East and South South of Nigeria.
“We are warning the Federal government to stop their plots to turn the usually peaceful South East of Nigeria into a war zone. The decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to send armed forces to the streets of cities in the South East has led to several killings that are illegal and totally condemnable.
HURIWA stated that: “We totally and unreservedly condemn the reported killing of five soldiers and the destructions of their operational vehicles by unidentified gunmen in Ihiala, Anambra State.The incident happened Friday night along Owerri -Onitsha road at one of the checkpoints.As a result, the bridge head in Onitsha is currently blocked by security operatives, a situation that has stopped commuters from going outside the State. Also, commuters from Enugu State are being stopped at Amansea boundary of the two States, while the soldiers are conducting stop and search on every vehicle. HURIWA is pleading for a cessation in these mindless attacks and for the end to military actions in the South East and South South as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari “.