According to Intersociety-ng,95 residents of Obigbo, an Igbo-dominated town in Rivers state of Nigeria, and Orlu, another Igbo town in Imo state, all in the Eastern part of Nigeria have been found in Kaduna prisons. They were abducted by the Nigeria army, during their raid of Obigbo in October 2020
In a statement released on their website on Friday,November 25 ,they announced ”As a matter of fact, the total number of unarmed and defenseless citizens abducted from Obigbo and Orlu located in Rivers and Imo States by soldiers of the Nigerian Army and bundled to different secret military and policing custodies in Kaduna is “357”, out of which 95 were in October 2021 discovered in the Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers. The total number discovered was 100 persons and out of same only one whose father has links in the military had regained freedom, four have died including Citizen Ugochukwu who died of Asthma, leaving 95 others remaining and presently languishing in the Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers”
Intersociety has been at the forefront among other civil society groups advocating for human rights and calling attention to the gross and blatant abuse of same by the Nigerian security operatives. According to their statement on their website,they pursue and advocates for promotion and advancement of democracy and good governance including leadership accountability, respect for civil liberties and rule of law and provision and enforcement of human rights compliant public security and safety. These are championed through research, investigation, documentation, publications, campaigns including human rights education, local and international coalitions and partnerships, alternative dispute resolution and public interest litigations and petitions, etc.
They had in its recent statements, raised alarms stating that unarmed and defenseless Igbo citizens in their multiple hundreds, abducted by soldiers in Obigbo were secretly being held in Northern part of the country including FCT, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna and Zamfara States and as of date, not less than 400 have been freed and scores killed in custody.”
Their extensive investigation and their collaboration with relevant groups led to the discovery of these shocking realities of blaant abuse of innocent citizens rights and the dehumanization of the common people forcefully abducted from Obigbo and Orlu in Imo state and Rivers states.They called on parents who were still looking for their loved ones since October/Novemeber 2020 to go forward and check if they could be among the incarcerated
The report continued ,”We hereby call on those parents and guardians, relatives and associates who have been searching or looking for their missing loved ones since October/November 2020 in Rivers State and Obigbo in particular and Imo State and Orlu and environs in particular since February 2021 to check the list of the 93 names and unnamed two others and see if they are among in the list so as to find ways of getting in touch with them in the Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers for purpose of securing their release through administrative or court bails. The political leaders including Governors, legislators and serving Ministers or Commissioners, etc from the East, must also stand up and speak out strongly against continued ethnic profiling and cleansing by Nigerian Government and its security forces targeted at unarmed and defenseless Igbo population”
”Same strong call goes to leaders of different Southeast and South-south religious and traditional institutions as well as socio-cultural organizations, professional bodies and others. Apart from ensuring the immediate release of the discovered 95 Igbo citizens, they must also mount sustained pressures on the Nigerian Army and other branches of the Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police Force and SSS to disclose the locations of other 257 Igbo citizens as well as others remaining in their captivities. The authorities of the Nigerian Government and those in charge of the country’s security forces must also be prevailed upon to totally discontinue such genocidal policies and practices. The security authorities must therefore produce those in their custodies whether dead or alive.”
”We are therefore raising alarm that the Nigerian Government and its security forces are engaging in grisly and egregious ethnic profiling and cleansing in Igbo Land in particular and Old Eastern Region in general. We are also deeply saddened by the silence, inaction and lukewarm attitudes of political leaders, socio-cultural organizations, Christian and traditional institutions’ leaders; as well as philanthropists and the educated class residing in Igbo Land or outside Nigeria.”
”For instance, it is totally shocking and dismaying that till date the prominent persons and entities above mentioned have not only maintained combined silence but also folded their hands and allowed innocent and defenseless fathers and mothers of their future generations to be castrated and depopulated by other means. Shockingly speaking, if close to 1000 innocent Igbo-Christian citizens could be abducted and disappeared without traces and verifiable official and independent records in Obigbo alone, then only God knows the number of others being killed or abducted and disappeared without traces in other parts of Igbo Nation by the country’s radicalized Moslem dominated security forces.”
”This is more so when, from our several investigations, most of the victims know nothing about the accusations leveled against them including involvement in “Biafra Matters”. Under the country’s body of laws, every citizen is presumed innocent until judicially found otherwise. This is irrespective of the offence gravity. The Constitution also clearly sets limitations for detention of any citizen irrespective of the gravity of offense leveled against him or her; yet these sacred provisions are gravely observed in breach with impunity.”
The political leaders including Governors, legislators and serving Ministers or Commissioners, etc from the East, must also stand up and speak out strongly against continued ethnic profiling and cleansing by Nigerian Government and its security forces targeted at unarmed and defenseless Igbo population. Same strong call goes to leaders of different Southeast and South-south religious and traditional institutions as well as socio-cultural organizations, professional bodies and others. Apart from ensuring the immediate release of the discovered 95 Igbo citizens, they must also mount sustained pressures on the Nigerian Army and other branches of the Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police Force and SSS to disclose the locations of other 257 Igbo citizens as well as others remaining in their captivities. The authorities of the Nigerian Government and those in charge of the country’s security forces must also be prevailed upon to totally discontinue such genocidal policies and practices. The security authorities must therefore produce those in their custodies whether dead or alive.
Discovery Of The 95 Igbo Citizens In Kaduna Prisons
It must be pointed out that most of the 95 located victims of the Army abduction discovered in Kaduna Prisons who are all Igbo citizens of Christian faith were discovered to have been abducted by soldiers of the Nigerian Army during their genocidal invasion of Obigbo area of Rivers State in response to October 2020 country-wide EndSARS protests in the State. According to information obtained from some of the interviewed victims, they were held in various Army secret custodies for several months or not less than ten months without transferring them to the Police and court trial. The secret military facilities where they were held included Bori Camp of the Nigerian Army’s 6 Division in Port Harcourt and the Obinze-Owerri 34 Brigade, under 82 Division; the Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja and the 1 Mechanized Division, Kaduna, etc. It was from those secret Army detention facilities that the 95 Igbo citizens were transferred to the Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers without charge or open court remands after several months in Army custody.
According to obtained victims’ accounts, about fifty of the 357 abducted citizens were transferred few months ago from Orlu and other parts of Imo State and some are among the 95 presently languishing without court trial in Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers. Also, the number of deaths among the 357 is likely to be in scores or dozens. The interviewed victims also further disclosed that while in Army custody, torture and starvation were a routine and that they were specifically conditioned to die of hunger, starvation and disease.
Their discovery came to light through shared independent intelligence information gathered by some local and international human rights activists and corroborated by some friendly military personnel and a freed victim whose father has links in the military. The attentions of Human Rights Counsel Richard Okoroafor and leadership of the country’s leading self determination group in the East were also drawn. It must be remembered that the leading self determination group and Human Rights Counsel Richard Okoroafor played critical roles in the recent release of over 400 victims of the same Obigbo Army Massacre and Abductions of October/November 2020. Upon discovery of the ‘Obigbo/Orlu 95”, arrangements were made by the said local and international human rights activists for purpose of verifying the independent intelligence information gathered including dispatching a team to locate the detainees and obtain some useful information concerning their abduction and long incarceration without trial and in the end, the following pieces of useful information were obtained:
(1)That most of them were abducted and bundled by soldiers of the Nigerian Army since October/November 2020 and held for several months or not less than ten months amidst torture and starvation in different secret military detention facilities, starting from Bori Camp and Obinze 34 Brigade in late October and early November 2020 to different others in Northern Nigeria including Mogadishu/Abacha Barracks and others in Niger and Kaduna States from where they were recently dumped in Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers.
(2) That these, the soldiers of the Nigerian Army did by refusing to hand them over to the Police.
(3) That from the period they were abducted till date, no form of access to their families or lawyers has been granted.
(4) That throughout their twelve months in Army and paramilitary captivities, they were never taken to court for one day and were surprised to have found themselves lately in the Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers.
(5) That out of the total of 357 abducted Igbo citizens, taken to Army detention facilities in Kaduna and other unknown locations within and outside the State, scores or dozens must have died as a result of torture, hunger, starvation and disease.
(6) That about fifty out of the 357 abducted citizens were part of those abducted from Orlu and other parts of Imo State by the combined forces comprising soldiers and police especially from March, April, May and June 2021 and among them are some of the 95 abductees presently languishing in Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers.
(7) That the Orlu abductees were transferred to Kaduna Prisons and Lock Centers by soldiers and police personnel jointly called “Special Forces”.
(8) That throughout their stay in Army captivity, they were not allowed to change their clothes especially ladies among them that were denied access to sanitary pads and under-wears.
(9) That most, if not all of the abductees had nothing whatsoever to do with or involved in “Biafra Matters” at the time of their abduction and were randomly abducted at their places of work or leisure or on their way home from their work places.
(10) That some were abducted during house or vicinity raids especially at sleep
Names Of The 95 Defenseless Igbo Citizens
Humphrey Onyii, Kenechukwu Paul, Kacil Ude, Antonio Obi, Oluchi Nwaba, Ben Akachukwu, Mebechukwu Ifeanyi, Ebube Uche, David Akudo, Namdi Ndidi, Francis Collins, Ozioma Anurika (female), Odinaka Prince, Kingsley Obinna, Ekechukwu Joshua, Ekechukwu Paul, Pius Victoria (female), Emmanuel Obinna, Kanyinene Andrew, Kosisochukwu Best, Kachi Ude, Uchechukwu Uba, Londonboy Kelvin, Chinedu Anwuru, Sunday Adaoche, Chika Obasi, Isaac Ejekwe, Benjamin Orakwe, Maxwell Uba, Kenneth Erochukwu, Mba Osigwe, Harrison Ezenwa, Boniface Nsowolu, Lawrence Celestine, Ugonna Kennedy, Nwadike Akolam, Jerry Chukwuemeka, Arinze Somtoochukwu, Anyanwu Ositadinma, Livinus Shedrack, Monday Uba, Ogugua Chukwuebuka, Prince Eze Ugochi, Ndubuisi Anayo, Bright Okafor, Emma Okafor, Henry Sopuruchukwu, Chika Ugwueze, Osinachi Jerry, Abraham Emeka, Moses Uzoma, Aaron Osagie, Onyekachi Chukwu and Chukwu Prince.
Others are Ibe Francis, Maduka Synagogue, Onyinyechi Chukwuma (female), Maurine Akapu (female), Ebuka Ositadinma, Ebere Anyanwu, Paulina Eberechukwu (female), EkeneMaria Chisaram (female), Chibuikem Anarue, Success Anome, Richard Onyii, Peter Charise, Nwa Daddy, Boniface, Igwe Harry, Chinonso Kelvin, Geoffrey Egemba, Ikechukwu Mike, Chike Ndurugo, Chima Okorie, David Amaefula, Aloysius Kalu, Valerian Ndubuisi, Kingsley Ebube, Chukwuebuka Aja, Nwabuife Henry, Elias Chima, Anthony Austin, Benjamin Amechi, Ugwunna John, Chisom Mbah, Ejikom Louis, Mgbeke Jasper, Odoh Joshua, Oku Solomon, Chidi Ugomsi, Mathias Osuji and two others; totaling 95 persons including six females and 89 males.
Arbitrary Detention Using Fraudulent Detention Warrants
Contrary to the provisions of the Chapter Four or the Fundamental Human Rights Charter of the 1999 Constitution and the country’s acceded Int’l and Regional Rights Treaty Laws as we as the Access to Criminal Justice Act of 2015, soldiers of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force have brazenly and arbitrarily resorted to abduction and detention of citizens using fraudulent remand warrants or orders. Sometimes they abduct or arrest citizens and detain them for several months and in the end dump them in Prisons without open court remands or having arraigned them in open courts.
The worst of it all is that apart from obtaining fraudulent detention warrants, they have also resorted to using ‘one fraudulently obtained detention warrant usually meant for one detainee, for dozens of citizens or even in their hundreds.
This is without the issuing Magistrate caring to verify same or subject same to time limits. Abducted detainees under such fraudulent arrangement, are never taken to court for purpose of being granted Court bail or issuance of legitimate remand orders. As if these are not enough, soldiers who lack legal power to detain, investigate and prosecute civilian citizens that are not subject to the Armed Forces Act of 2004; have arrogated to themselves powers to abduct and hold civilian citizens for several months or one year and above without having them handed over to police for investigation and diligent prosecution.
International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair
Obianuju Igboeli Esquire, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Department
Chidimma Udegbunam Esquire, Head, Campaign And Publicity Department