….condemns unlawful killings of suspected sit-at-home enforcers
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has given two days to the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Zone 13 Ukpo and GOC 82 Division of Nigerian Army Enugu to unmask and arrest the kidnappers of 30 travelers adbucted in Enugu or retire voluntarily from service.
The group who condemned the unlawful killings of three suspected sit-at-home enforcers at the wee hours of 2.am in Mgbowo, Awgu of Enugu State at a time when suspected Fulani kidnappers were freely operating their trade and terrorizing in three different locations in the state.
The Chairman of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi in a statement expressed shock and dismay over the abduction of defenseless citizens of the South-East in two days in three different locations in Enugu State by the suspected Fulani Herdsmen-with the Enugu State Police Command, the Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police Force, the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Government of Enugu State looking the other side and choosing to be deaf and dumb.
The read in part: “Saddening and shocking too is that the security formations mentioned have busied themselves with false gallantry over the unlawful killing of “three Sit-at-Home enforcers”, said to have been killed at the wee hours of 2.am in Mgbowo, Awgu, Enugu State. From our fact checks including contacts made to reliable sources in Mgbowo in Awgu, the circumstances leading to the killings including their timing, legal and operational basis have been mired in controversies.
“Intersociety is therefore strongly condemning the two dastardly acts and call on the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Military and the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other Jihadist fighting parties laying siege on the South-East to respect the dignity of human person and sanctity of human life. They must also leave the defenseless citizens of the South-East and their properties alone.
“What are the true identities of those killed? Where and when were they killed and over what offense? Were they armed and on rampage when terminally shot and killed? What types of weapons were they caught rampaging with when shot and killed? Where they unarmed when instantly or later killed? Were they killed over an offense in written law already or about to be committed? Can Sit-at-Home be enforced in the hours of the blue law such as 2.am? When have ‘Sit-at-Home’ become a violent crime in Nigeria attracting instant death at offense apprehension or offense attempted apprehension?
“Which law in Nigeria or Enugu State authorizes Police or Army to kill (instead of arrest) “those enforcing or about to enforce Sit-at-Home at the wee hours of 2.am if true?” What proportionality of force was used leading to their killing? Is it true that the slain were arrested alive by a security patrol team in a residential location in the named area and extra-judicially killed in custody and false-labeled? Were they publicly displayed ‘un-prohibited firearms’ (Pump-Action Guns and Machetes) truly recovered from the slain? Were the slain truly armed ESN members?
“Between Saturday September 16 and Sunday, Sept 17, 2023, more than 30 passengers and other road users were abducted and disappeared by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. The abductions had taken place in at least three different locations including Edem-Nrobo-Ezikolo-Abbi Road in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State where armed Jihadists on Sat, Sept 16, 2023 attacked a passenger bus traveling to Nsukka killing one Citizen Sunday Nwa-Ugwuja from Apapam Village in Ezikolo-Abbi, shot and wounded others and abducted several others into the nearby forests. On Sunday, Sept 17, along Eke-Affa-Egede Road in Udi, Enugu State, another group of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen launched an attack on a bus carrying a Catholic Priest (Rev Father Marcellinus Okide) of St Mary Catholic Church, Amofia-Agu in Afa, Udi and several other passengers; abducting the Priest and six others.
” Earlier on Friday evening of Sept 15, 2023, not less than fourteen passengers traveling from Enugu town to Obollo-Afor in Nsukka in a fully loaded bus were attacked and abducted by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen along Ugwuogo-Opi-Nsukka Road. Not less than eleven passengers were also attacked and abducted by Jihadist kidnappers on Sunday night (10pm), Sept 17, 2023 along Ogbokolo-Otukpa-Enugu Federal Road. The abducted had boarded ‘Benue Link’ Transport Company when they were attacked and abducted. Among Enugu communities under the siege of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen since 2021 and 2022 are some communities in Awgu, Nkanu East, Nkanu West, Udi, Isiuzo, Uzo Uwani, Igbo-Eze South, Igbo Eze North, Enugu-Ezike, etc.
” Specifically, activities of the Fulani Herdsmen have severally been reported in Ugwuogo-Nike, Nkanu East (Ekpawfu, Amengunze, etc), and Isiuzo including Eha-Amufu and others since 2020/21 while those of Uzo Uwani dated back to the April 2016 Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen attacks that claimed 48 lives.
“The unchecked activities of the Fulani Herdsmen in the South-East have not only risen to an apogee but also mandatorily required that the trio of Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, AIG-Zone 13, Tony Olofu and GOC, 82 Division, Major Gen Hassan Taiwo Dada must sit up, unmask and go after the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their atrocities in Enugu State in particular and Ebonyi and Anambra States in general or they retire voluntarily from the Army and the Police.
“The trio must also tackle security challenges in Enugu State without being selective and partisan or widely perceived or seen as “errand boys of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and the MACABAN”. The trio must as a matter of uttermost urgency and extreme public importance speak out including addressing a joint or separate press conferences so as to keep the South-Easterners abreast of the abductions and efforts put in place (if any) to rescue the victims and apprehend the Fulani Herdsmen responsible” Umeagbalasi stated.
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