The 63 arrested Obigbo residents have regained their freedom after four months in captivity. An Onitsha, Anambra State based human rights group called International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY announced this on Thursday as another major breakthrough in its campaigns to put our society in order. The release of people who are all men happened on Monday, February 15, 2021.
”They were abducted by the Nigerian Army at Obigbo in Rivers State and held incommunicado for four months or since Oct 2020 in Mogadishu Barracks and other security dungeons in Abuja. Their abduction and confinement clearly amount to unspeakable illegality and unconstitutionality. Their release followed the landmark consideration of their bail application filed on Wednesday, 10th Feb 2021 before an Abuja Grade 11 Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse.
”They were freed from four different Army, DSS and Police dungeons in Abuja and environs; namely: Mogadishu Army Barracks, Annex B at Asokoro, DSS Training Center at Central Business District and its abandoned facility at Zuba and the Nigeria Police College at Suleja in Niger State. The freed victims were part of over 400 innocent and defenseless Obigbo residents including over 60 girls and young women abducted between Oct and Nov 2020 at their work places or on their way home from work or while engaging in other lawful social activities,” the group alleged.
According to release signed by the board chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi, ”release of the 63 abductees was made possible through the lawyerly and activist doggedness of Barr E.R. Okoroafor. Barr. Okoroafor is a British citizen of Igbo nativity and international human rights lawyer. The efforts of the leadership of IPOB in this respect are also worthily recognized and appreciated.
”While it is hopeful that the newly located 53 young women in the DSS dungeons will soon regain their freedom, bringing the total number of the located or freed to 261; searches are still on to locate the remaining abductees numbering over 140. This is owing to the fact that the Nigerian Army and DSS have refused to speak publicly on the whereabouts of the abductees, the freed ones and why the over 400 residents were abducted at the first place and kept out of public knowledge till date.
On their relationship with security agencies in the country, the activists group said, ”It must be boldly stated that Intersociety does not hate the Nigerian Army or the Nigerian Armed Forces or the Nigeria Police or DSS/NIA or the country’s Paramilitaries, but hates and frowns seriously at their current operational methodologies, clearly cloaked in booklet of illegalities.
”These methodologies are shockingly crude, unprofessional, hateful, unconstitutional, locally and internationally illegal, non human rights compliant, un-secular and ethnically and religiously discriminatory and motivated. Owing to our versatility and deep knowledge of criminal and civil versions of the local and the international human rights and humanitarian laws particularly those acceded to by Nigeria; Intersociety will continue to monitor and speak out authoritatively and knowledgeably against such grisly atrocity crimes and their perpetrators-ensuring that they are ended and their perpetrators get severely punished locally, regionally or internationally.”
ARMY LACKS POWER TO ARRET, DETAIN & INVESTIGATE CITIZENS NOT SUBJECT TO MILITARY MATTERS.
”In arresting citizens wrongly or rightly suspected to have offended punishable laws bordering on crimes against persons or crimes against the state or crimes against properties-all categorized globally into “mala inse” and “mala prohibita”; the soldiering and policing authorities in any democratic member-state of United Nations (UN) including Nigeria are inexcusably prohibited and barred from abducting citizens outside public knowledge and records, hatefully labeling them and taking them into custody, torturing, shooting and raping them to death and disappearing their corpses and detaining them ad infinitum and beyond the limits prescribed in written laws. Such prohibitions also include stripping the abductees half naked and exposing their body systems to unfriendly weathers and other hostile circumstances including insect bites and infections; in addition to totally blocking them from their families, physicians and lawyers.
”In Nigeria, apart from the country’s written laws restricting the activities of the Military particularly the Nigerian Army to issues of defense of territory in situation of interstate or intra state armed conflict and barring them from trespassing beyond their defined duties including usurping the key duties of the Nigeria Police Force such as arrest, detention, investigation and prosecution of suspected civilian offenders and their offenses; there have also been several decided cases barring the Army/Military from “arresting, detaining and investigating citizens who are not subject to the Armed Forces Act or any other Military law”.
As a matter of fact, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had in a landmark judgment delivered on Wednesday, 17th Feb 2021 held that “the Nigerian Army lacks the power to arrest, investigate and hold in custody anyone who is not subject to the Armed Forces Act or any other military law”.
NAMES OF THE 63 FREE ABDUCTEES
The names of the 63 victims were: Paul Uche, Anozie Obinna, Ebubechukwu Kaima, Andrew Ekpere, Uka Obinna, Uche Emmanuel, Ekene Anayo, Bright Emma, Ikenna Uzoma, Olisa Chukwudi, Somtochukwu Ibe, David Joe, David Chukwu, Chikadibia Paul, Blessed Friday, Nwaogu Ekene, Charles Ikeogwu, Igwe Samuel, Gozie Samuel, Simeon Mbanefo, Eze Chike, Godwin Umeh, Tochukwu Umeh, Desmond Alphonsus, Ukauwa Irim, Sabinus Ula, Riguma Friday, Ekpan Sunday, Kezie Kelechi, Ifeanyi Otutu, Ambrose Anyanwu, Paul Chike, Tochukwu Obiekwe, Elochukwu Moses and Mike Anya.
Others were Echefuna Chukwu, Echefuna Uche, Gift Onyenkachi, Alozie Chukwunonso, Chukwuma Ibeano, Friday Nonso, Nebechi Kennedy, Imma Ochi, Stanley Igwe, Okoro Benson, Emeka Nwaogugu, Uchechi Emmanuel, Joe Boniface, Gregory Amokachi, Daniel Erinne, Samson Chinda, Victor Enrinne, Christopher Kachi, Uzoma Philip, Kainene Ernest, Ikechukwu Isaiah, Isaac Oriaku, Ekpere Mmadu, Uchenna Chris, Ebuka Silas, Honesty Gift, Osita Ifeanyi and Chibuike Robinson. Attached below are their photos taken after their release in Abuja.