Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked the Inspector General of Police Alhaji Usmsn Alkali Baba, the Director General of Department of State Services (DSS) Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi to investigate if a secret Gas Chamber exists in Ebonyi State so much so that five Engineers hired by the African Development Bank to construct a multimillion dollars Road Project in Ebonyi State disappeared nearly three Months and there is no trace of them.
HURIWA also accuses the Ebonyi State Police Command of incompetence, conspiracy and complicity to conceal facts relating to the disappearance of the five Engineers who went missing inexplicably but who were later to be suspiciously declared dead by the Ebonyi State government.
The Rights group has asked that the Ebonyi State Information commissioner Orji Uchenna Orji who allegedly issued a public statement on the missing Engineers should be investigated so the law enforcement agencies can have additional intelligence that may assist them to determine what has happened to these 5 Engineers whose families and Children do not know their whereabouts since they travelled for work in Ebonyi State around three Months now.
HURIWA said the IGP should investigate Ebonyi state and check if they operate gas chamber. How come for almost 3 months the police has come up with nothing except for the ebonyi state government acting as their mouth piece announcing the death and burial of the 5 engineers? The police should also check the ebonyi commissioner for information on how he knew about the wrong route.
HURIWA recalled that the House of Representatives had urged the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of the 5 consultant engineers known as NELAN 5 abducted in Ebonyi State.The resolution came on the heels of a motion titled “Call for Urgent Investigation into the Abduction of Five Consultant Engineers in Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State” presented by Hon. Ifeanyi Chudy Momah representing Ihiala federal constituency of Anambra State at the plenary.
HURIWA said it is given the IGP a Week to activate mechanism towards telling Nigerians where the five Engineers that disappeared in Ebonyi State are and why the Ebonyi Police Command has failed to transparently disclose to Nigerians what the police has found out or the Rights group will Institute a legal matter to obtain an order of mandates to compel the police to act in line with their constitutional mandates.
HURIWA which totally backed the move by the Federal legislative chamber recalled that the parliamentarian Mr. Momah while presenting the motion recalled that on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, five Engineers from NELAN Consultants, an Engineering Firm, who were supervising the Abakiliki Ring Road Project were abducted at Onu-Nwenewo village in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
“The names and origins of the abductees who are now known as the NELAN 5 are Engr. Nelson Onyemeh from Ihiala in Anambra State;Engr. Ernest Edeani from Nkanu in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State; Ikechukwu Ejiofor from Umunya in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State; Samuel Aneke from Nkanu in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State and Engr. Stanley Nwazulum from Amawbia in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State”.
HURIWA said it was regrettable that the project the NELAN 5 were supervising was valued at 150 million dollars and financed by the African Development Bank (AIDB) and yet the Ebonyi State government which allegedly was unhappy that the Engineers are all from outside Ebonyi State has hurriedly gone to announce the deaths of the missing Engineers and the police which is the primary law enforcement agency has spectacularly failed or has colluded to hide the facts about these citizens of Nigeria who were abducted only for travelling to Ebonyi State to execute a lawful contract but met alleged antagonism from the Ebonyi State administration that was furious that Ebonyi people were not the ones carrying out the task.
“The police in Abuja in the office of the IGP must investigate all the angles of this developing matter and reorganise the Ebonyi State Police Command that now works at the whims and caprices of the governor”.
The Rights group said it was miffed that the Ebonyi State government allegedly, released rather premature news of the death and burial of the NELAN 5 to the general public during a security summit organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Abakiliki chapter without consulting with the families of the victims first.“Since the alleged press statement by the Ebonyi State Government which was published in several newspapers, and claims that the government was pacifying the affected families, till date, the families of the abductees have allegedly not been formally contacted by the Ebonyi State Government.
HURIWA said the Inspector General of Police must act now since the Ebonyi State Police Command is colluding to hide the circumstances of the disappearance of the 5 Engineers for which the Ebonyi State Government has been accused of being complicit in the disappearance of the engineers as the state governor was alleged to have been hostile towards the consultants and tried severally to interfere in their operations.
The Rights group said a professional police ought to have issued a comprehensive report on what they know about this case just like how the Plateau State Police Command swiftly resolved many cases of disappearances of citizens including the University of Jos Student who was used for ritual by her male friend.
HURIWA aligns itself with Nigeria’s federal legislative chamber that emphasised that if the true condition of the victims is not properly ascertained, the people’s confidence in the ability of the government to protect them will further deteriorate“Further delay in conducting thorough investigations will create more complications as trails may run cold, giving the perpetrators enough time to alter pieces of evidence and even escape justice”.
HURIWA said: ” We are asking the Police Inspector General and the DG of DSS to swiftly invite the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Information to give information on what he knows about the 5 missing Engineers since he has issued a statement titled “IN THE MATTER OF FIVE MISSING ENGINEERS IN EBONYI STATE: SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT”, in which a lot of accusations against the five disappeared Engineers and their distraught families amongst others as follows-: (1) It has become imperative to put the records straight on the allegations and misrepresentation of facts conveyed to the public from certain quarters over the unfortunate incident that befell Engr. Nelson Onyeme of Nelan Consulting firm and other four Engineers whose services we suppose, were hired by Nelan Company to work in the phase two of the African Development Bank sponsored section of Abakaliki Ring Road Project as they are not in the list of employees submitted to Ebonyi State Government by Nelan Consultants. (2.) Based on the Police Investigation report on the incident, we view as disheartening the unfortunate circumstances that led to the sad news. We therefore extend our heartfelt condolences to all the families and the Nelan Company for this dastardly act by criminal elements while hoping for a comprehensive crackdown on the perpetrators. (9.) For the records, Ebonyi State Government and the personnel executing the contract job were never contacted or informed about the coming of the officials of Nelan Consulting firm on the fateful day. The State Government had a meeting with all Companies/ Contractors involved in the Abakaliki Ring Road Project over the security situation in a few points within the project locations. Nelan Consulting firm is merely a supervising firm whose job supervision commitment was going to be 8 days per month in the whole of 24 months project duration. The resident Engineer and main contractor being supervised by Nelan Consulting firm has never shown presence till this moment. All we gathered from Security report after the ugly incident was that it was the contractor, Marco Nigeria Ltd that had contacted Mr. Nelson Onyeme to go to site”.
HURIWA has therefore stated that since the Ebonyi State Information commissioner knows so much as aforementioned in his media statement, the Inspector General of Police and the DG of DSS should invite him to provide clues on how the 5 missing Engineers from NELAN CONSULTING FIRM can be traced so their families can have closure over the unexplained disappearance of their breadwinners in Ebonyi State since November last year.