HURIWA To IGP: Stop The Extortion Against Wrongly Detained Igbo Youths

Asks the National Assembly to investigate re-emergence of SARS in Imo State: 

The foremost pro-democracy and not -for-profit organisation-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the wanton abuses of the fundamental freedoms of Igbo Youths picked up indiscriminately by the armed police in the South East and detained in the notoriously dreaded killing detention facility of the ‘defunct ‘ Force Special Anti Robbery Squad in Abbattoir Abuja.

The Rights group said the extensive revelations of psychological, emotional and physical tortures by the armed police against the wrongly arrested and unlawfully detained Igbo youths in Abuja and the proliferation of EXTORTION racketeering by the police as alleged by the relatives of some of the Igbo speaking YOUTHS randomly arrested by police in the South East and framed up as the unknown gunmen that had staged daredevil attacks against security forces and the killing of police operatives, are to put it mildly, unjustifiable,  unconstitutional,  reprehensible and odious.

HURIWA said the pathetic case made known by an eight-month-old pregnant woman, Chioma Okoro, who  had cried out in the media to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to direct the Intelligence Response Team to release her husband, Chukwudi Okoro is unfortunate and a shame to the conscience of the nation.

The HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari as a father of the nation and a Parent of many beautiful children to intervene in the case of the illegally detained husband of the expectant mother Mr. Chukwudi Okoro whose wife is being harassed, intimidated and cajoled by the police to bribe them with N1.5 million before her husband can be freed on bail.

HURIWA recalled that the expectant Mither Mrs Chioma told a section of the media on Saturday morning that her husband, Chukwudi, is still being held at the IRT because the family had not given N1.5million to the IRT police in Abuja as demanded.

It was later gathered by the media after a discreet investigation that the four other South-Easterners who were raided alongside Okoro had regained their freedom after parting with at least a N1million as bribes to the police officers.

HURIWA recalled that the men were raided by the joint team of the police and the Nigerian Army on May 24 in Owerri, Imo State, and labelled as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the unknown gunmen. The Rights group said the extensive violations of the human rights of a lot of citizens in the South East and South South as carried out by the security forces will in a very huge way deny the security institutions of the much needed public trusts and collaborations which are essential for building a formidably secured society.

HURIWA citing media reports said that Mrs. Chioma Okoro, who is due to give birth in July, begged the police top echelon to release her husband, who is a struggling tricycle driver and the first in his family.

Her words: “He is the only one in detention among the five of his set right now. The police told us to pay N1.5million to secure his release. He is the eldest brother. He has only two younger brothers who are in school. They don’t have such an amount. My husband needs help. He does not have such an amount. The tricycle he is riding is on hire purchase, and he has not even completed the hire purchase. I am not doing anything for now. I am eight months pregnant. I am a hairdresser. Things are very difficult for me and the family.

“He has been arrested since May 25. He was labelled as an unknown gunman. We last spoke on Wednesday and what my husband said was I should try and find a means. We are all tired.”

HURIWA is therefore demanding the unconditional release of citizen Chukwudi Okoro clamped into arbitrary detention after being framed up as one of the so called unknown gunmen. “We believe that the statement credited to the IGP in which he encouraged his operatives not to respect the Rules of engagement but to deal ruthlessly with suspects is the licence that these bribe seeking policing officers are hiding under to perpetuate all kinds of illegality since their Inspector General of Police had told them to go ahead and not respect the Constitutionally guaranteed Human Rights of Civilians since he will cover them up. So we think this is a matter for the President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to step in and get this innocent Igbo citizen released and also release all the illegally detained Igbo youths without any further waste of time”.

The Rights group quoting the media, alleged that the IGP Intelligence Response Team in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, collected at least N1million bribes as bail before releasing South-East youths and artisans raided as members of the IPOB’s Eastern Security Network. “Whybis the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission not interested in these revelations which were published over three days ago? Is the ICPC dead or is the police above the law?”

In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said: ” We have consistently deplored and deprecated the egregious violations of the fundamental freedoms of Igbo Youths who are unfortunately have become victims of the violence unleashed on the South-East of Nigeria by the so called Unknown gunmen and the intolerable human rights violations unleashed on able bodied Youths most of whom are totally not connected with any sort of agitation of violence but these Youths are randomly and indiscriminately arrested by the police and security forces sent to the South East to quell the near uprising by the unknown gunmen”.

“We are calling on the international community to intervene and speak to the Nigerian Government to respect the GrundNorm of the Country which the political leaders swore oaths of offices to respect before they got inaugurated to work for the good of the society and the good people of Nigeria”.

“It is therefore incongruous and unacceptable that the security forces sent to the South East and South South have continuously breached the fundamental human rights of the Igbo/Niger Delta youths and are arbitrarily arresting, detaining and using extrajudicial executions as tactics of law enforcement”.

“Now the innocent youths wrongly arrested and detained in the harshest of conditions in the notoriously uninhabitable cells of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad in Abuja are subjected to the ordeals of extortion and psychological and physical torture all in an efforts to get their relatives to part with huge amounts as bribes for bail. This is totally primitive and despicable”.

The HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA also wondered why the National Assembly did not bother to investigate the findings by residents of Owerri Imo State that armed police operative wearing the uniforms of the already disbanded SPECIAL ANTI ROBBERY SQUAD (SARS) were roaming the streets of Owerri, arresting, harassing and humiliating innocent residents all in the name of searching for the unknown gunmen.

HURIWA states: “We are asking the National Assembly to summon the Inspector-General of Police to explain to Nigerians why he decided to unban SARS which was banned with the authorisation of President Muhammadu Buhari following widespread allegations of professional misconduct against the operatives including the extensive use of extralegal execution against detainees in the custody of the Nigerian police force”.

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