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How army, police torture Igbo youths, parade them

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How army, police torture Igbo youths, parade them

…As IPOB, ESN suspects

There have been reports in the media alleging that the army and police have been arresting Igbo youths indiscriminately, torturing and clamping them into detention, for allegedly being members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN). All over Igboland, people are expressing outrage at this development.

A report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a civil society and research group, detailed some of the accounts of these victims of army and police harassment and provided their photographs exclusively also to SaharaReporters.

The civil society alleged that in the past one week, “not less than 30 open and secret killings by soldiers and police had taken place with most in Imo State where scores of corpses have been freshly traced to the mortuaries of the government medical centres.”

Among the many unarmed citizens who were raided as IPOB and ESN suspects are: John Chinonso, 24; he is from Nchoko Dikenafai Community in Ideato South, Imo State and lived at Apiti Street by Hardel Junction, Orji- Uratta in Owerri North, Imo State.

He is an orphan living with his elder brother. Chinoso owns and manages DaddyFresh Barbing Salon at Ogboru Umuchoke by Hardel Bus Stop, Uratta.

He had responded to his elder brother’ s call for him to close his shop and return home before dawn owing to precarious security situation in Owerri and environs and as he was going home in the evening of Tuesday, May 25, the police patrol personnel blocked and arrested him at gunpoint.

According to Intersociety, Chinonso was the same evening paraded alongside four others as “ESN hoodlums who attempted to burn down Orji Police Station.”
Also, Chukwudi Okoro, 29; he is a shuttle bus transporter plying the Owerri- Orji route with his apprentice. He is from Akabo- Amata, near Owerri, Imo State.

He and his apprentice were heading home on May 25, having closed early as a result of the precarious security situation in Owerri and environs when they sighted police patrol personnel shooting indiscriminately around Orji and its environs. In the end, police patrol personnel blocked and arrested both of them at gunpoint. He was paraded the same evening alongside four others as “ESN hoodlums that attempted to burn down Orji Police Station.”

Another was Casmir Ibegbulem, 40 years old. He is a father of one, expectant father of another and a “Permit Holder” staff of an oil company at Bonny Island in Bayelsa State and a native of Ogwa Community in Mbaitoli, Imo State.

Ibegbulem returned for the burial of his in- law, which took place on May 28. He was in Owerri on 25th May to pick up personal items needed when police patrol personnel pounced on him at gunpoint and arrested him.

He was paraded the same evening alongside four others. Ibegbulem is married to Onyekachi who is seven months pregnant.

Alozie Daberechi and Chigaemezu Sabastine are Owerri- based traders and indigenes of Imo State. The two were arrested by police patrol operatives on their way home in the early evening of Tuesday, May 25. They were paraded the same evening.

Smith Amadikwa; He is husband to Ebere Amadikwa, a former leader of the Obowo Local Government Legislative Council under former Governor Rochas Okorocha and they reside at Umuagu Seven & Half Junction, Obowo. According to his wife, Smith Amadikwa has been arrested and detained since May 12. He was said to be with his wife and trying to catch up with an appointment at Owerri Shoprite/Samsung when he was arrested by the Imo State Police Command.

He was among the names labelled “ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Prison Headquarters” by the Imo State Police Command on May 28.
Families of these victims of indiscriminate police arrests have continued to plead that their relations are innocent.

Mr. Cyriacus Chidozie of Ihitte Asaa Autonomous Community in Ngugo Ikeduru LGA of Imo State, has also joined his voice in decrying what he described as illegal arrest and continued detention of his nephew, Mr. Chigaemezu Sabastine.

Speaking to The Leader, Mr. Chidozie said that about 11am on that fateful day, Tuesday May 25, 2021, he had discussed with Chigaemezu, who deals on plumbing materials at Naze Ogbosisi Market over N80,000 balance of transaction expected to be paid into his bank account.

He said that he couldn’t understand how reports reaching him at 3pm that same day could be saying that Chigaemezu had been paraded on facebook by the police as one of the “arrested suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) who burnt Orji Police Station,” that same day.

According to Mr. Chidozie, he there and then alerted his lawyer, Prof. E.U Chukwumereze (SAN) who mobilized other lawyers from his chamber on Friday May 28 evening and moved to the State Police headquarters.

Prof. Chukwumereze said that they were not given the needed and necessary information about the arrest and detention of Chigaemezu and four others, but only told that those who arrested him had minuted the case to the Commissioner of Police who is yet to get back to them.
Mr. Chidozie said that he later received a call from one Inspector Daniel of the IRT Abuja, who told him that his brother Chigaemezu is a terrorist, a member of IPOB and ESN that burnt down the Orji Police Station.

In response Mr. Chidozie told Inspector Daniel of the IRT Abuja that Chigaemezu learnt his plumbing material trade under C.J. Chijioke Electronics and a trader who deals on plumbing materials at Naze Ogbosisi Market and so he is not a terrorist nor an ESN and IPOB member.

Recall that on Monday May 31 on the People’s Assembly of Hot 99.5 FM, while answering questions from Alex Ogbonnaya in an audience participatory and phone-in programme as to why onlookers were arrested after the perpetrators of the attack at the Orji Police Station had long gone, because no sane person commits a crime and remain at the same scene. The Imo State PPRO, SP. Bala Elkana, responded that “It is usually the norm to arrest people seen at the scene of a crime”, adding that they may have useful information to give the police to aid investigations.

Asked whether the suspects had been investigated and granted bail? SP Elkana responded that they are still in detention, insisting that they still have useful information to avail the police, but he failed to inform Alex Ogbonnaya and the listening audience that Chigaemezu and four other suspects had since Thursday May 27 been transferred to Abuja.

Speaking with our reporter on the telephone, the Imo State PPRO, SP Bala Elkana confirmed that Chigaemezu and other four suspects have been transferred to Abuja. He however declined giving details of the investigation so far, adding that speaking on the matter is not within his purview, as the matter is being investigated by the Force CID Abuja, which is above his office.

As at the time of filing this report, efforts were also made by our reporter to reach Commissioner of Police (CP) Frank Mbah, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) in Abuja on phone, but CP Mbah was not on hand to take his calls.

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Akabo residents flee over burning of houses by troops

One of the houses burnt down by troops at Umuori Amii Akabo last Sunday and the suspect who led security operatives.

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Say, we’re not aware of ESN camp in our community

Sunday June 6 was indeed a dark day for the people of Umuori Amii Akabo in Ikeduru LGA of Imo State as more than 10 houses were set ablaze by the security operatives. This was revealed to our reporter Stan Amadi who visited the community to investigate what led to the burning of the houses.

On getting to Amii Akabo, the whole community was deserted as everyone had out of apprehension, fled from their homes to the nearby communities for safety.

A carpenter, Mr. James Onuekwusi, aged 80, whose house was among those burnt down, told The Leader that they were in church that fateful Sunday when they got the news that houses in the community were being set on fire by security operatives. According to Mr. Onuekwusi, security operatives came to Amii Akabo alongside a young man who was alleged to be one of the unknown gunmen attacking police stations. The young man was said to have told the Police that their camp is at Akabo.

Answering questions as to whether anyone from the community identified the said young man, Mr. Onuekwusi said no one could identify him as he is not from Umuori Amii Akabo. On the whereabouts of his family, Mr. Onuekwusi said he has no child, adding that he only lives with his wife. He also took our reporter round the vicinity to show him some other houses that were burnt down.

Also speaking to The Leader, Mr. Lumumba Chituru Uzomba, who is also in his late 80s, whose house was similarly burnt down also confirmed the incident. Asked if he had knowledge of what led to the invasion of the community and the consequent burning of the houses, Mr. Uzomba said he had no idea.

According to Mr. Uzomba, when the news broke in the church that houses were being set ablaze, everyone ran away. He however told our reporter that no life was lost in the course of burning the houses. He further told our reporter that he did not see the young man who was brought to the area let alone identifying him as coming from the community.

Since last Sunday the mayhem took place, the people of Umuori Amii Akabo have been living in constant fear.

Some youths who spoke on  condition of anonymity, however appealed to the State Government, and the Federal and State House members,  Hon. Henry Nwawuba and Hon. Uche Ogbuagu (who hails from Amii Akabo) to do everything possible to ensure that peace and normalcy returned to the community, to enable them live their lives without any form of apprehension.

Reacting to the story, the Police Public Relations Officer  (PPRO) in the State SP. Bala Elkana told our reporter, Stan Amadi; that the community and those who spoke to him while on investigation were being economical with the truth. SP. Bala wondered why the people did not tell him (our reporter) that a policewoman held hostage for weeks in the camp was rescued during the operation

According SP. Elkana, the Policewoman was used as a pointer, adding that it was through the young man arrested earlier that led the troop to go there and rescue the policewoman from there camp. “By their being economical with the truth and not telling you that a woman police was rescued there, means they are encouraging what is going on in their community.” They should tell you the truth, why are they being one sided?” SP Bala  asked.

He added that the details of the troop’s operation in the community and their rescue mission could be obtained from the Command’s Facebook  page.

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METRO NEWS

Unknown gunmen kill 3 at Ehime Mbano … Abduct woman in Orlu

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Unknown gunmen kill 3 at Ehime Mbano ... Abduct woman in Orlu

Orieagu-Nsu Ehime Mbano LGA was thrown into confusion on Friday May 5, as an unidentified gunmen opened fire on passers-by and residents, killing three persons; two men and a lady.

The remains of one of the dead victims were seen lying along the road with visible gunshot injury on his hip. The attack took place around 9.30pm.

The second victim simply identified as Chibueze Okoroji (Enwe), native of Umuehie Umuakagu Autonomous community who was shot on the stomach died at Federal Medical Centre, Umuhia where he was rushed to after the shootings.

Members of Akunachi Age Grade contributed the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand naira medical bill requested by the hospital but the time they intervened, he had died. The father of a boy, became a victim for being at the wrong place when the unknown gunmen struck.

The third  victim who could not be identified was said to be a commercial sex worker in the area.

Questions agitating the minds of some members of the public include: What is the motive of unknown gunmen in attacking soft targets and what do they gain? And what do they gain from taking innocent lives?

Similarly, he vicinity of the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) Orlu was thrown into pandemonium on Thursday June 3, following the abduction of a lady whose name was not identified at the time of going to press. The incident happened at about 10am, near IMSUTH Orlu.

An eyewitness told The Leader that four young men, two riding in a motorcycle and the other two in a Lexus Jeep with no registration number, abducted the lady who was on a commercial motorcycle heading towards IMSUTH.

 Our source said the two men in a motorcycle blocked the commercial motorcyclist, abducted the lady at gunpoint and ordered him to lie down, as they dragged the lady into their Lexus Jeep that was already waiting and then they zoomed off to unknown destination. Some staff of the Imo Sate University Teaching Hospital who were around disclosed that the victim is not their staff but could be a patient coming to the hospital.

 The Leader gathered that the abductors did not fire shot while the operation was on, but people scampered for safety. A shop owner within that area said, “When they stopped the lady and brought out their gun, we ran away thinking it was the same unknown gunmen that have caused civil unrest in the state”. He alleged that the robbery and kidnapping, of even children have been on the increase in Orlu in recent times.

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METRO NEWS

At last, IMSU graduates 52 medical doctors … It should be govt priority – CMD

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At last, IMSU graduates 52 medical doctors ... It should be govt priority – CMD

The Imo State University (IMSU) Owerri on Thursday, June 3, 2021 held the induction ceremony of a total of 52 newly graduated medical students from the college of medicine of the university.

The State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma was represented at the ceremony by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bartholomew Okorochukwu. The Chief Medical Director, Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH) Orlu, Dr. Ifeanyi Nwamba, the Provost College of Medicine, Prof. Ugochukwu Anyaehie,    Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), families and friends of the graduands witnessed the occasion.

 In his speech, the Governor said government was aware of the challenges facing both the university and the teaching hospital, adding that measures were being put in place to tackle them, especially in the areas of accreditation for the college and assured that the issue of payment of salaries for the teaching hospital is being handled.

 The Acting Vice Chancellor of Imo State University, Prof. Peter Akah commended the governor who is a visitor to the university, for his urgent intervention by rescuing the hospital road and ensuring that the students eventually graduate after spending several years due to issue of accreditation. Prof. Akah gave kudos to the graduands and their parents for their patience, irrespective of the various challenges they encountered during the course of their programme. He urged the newly inducted medical doctors to maintain the high standard for which the college is known as they go into the profession.

In his address, the Chief Medical Director of IMSUTH Orlu, Dr. Ifeanyi Nwamba said that he came to share their joy after sharing their sorrows during the challenge of accreditation. He noted that graduation of medical students of the college should be a government priority to ease their sufferings. He commended Governor Uzodimma for his visionary leadership and for paying particular attention to health and education as well as emphasizing the need for timely graduation of the medical students of the university.

Dr. Nwamba pointed out that failure to graduate medical students is also a failure to both the management and government. He said that the teaching hospital provided an enabling environment for the college as well as working in synergy. The CMD reminded the graduands of the task ahead and urged them to apply caution and be patient as they attend to their patients. He encouraged them to work towards achieving the best as they were taught while wishing them success.

The highpoint of the event was the administering of Physician’s Oath to the new doctors by the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

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LEAD STORY JUNE 13

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