The foremost Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has restated her opposition to the unorthodox style of policing in Imo State characterized by mass and indiscriminate arrests of Igbo Youths and the illegal detention, torture of these detainees just as the Rights group said the State Commissioner of Police will inevitably be dragged before the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands for these crimes against Igbo youths.
Besides, HURIWA has carpeted the governor of Imo State Mr. Hope Uzodinma over his arbitrary decision to pay out N5 million each to families of the police operatives killed by the unknown gunmen who attacked police formations in the state and slaughtered some policemen in their dozens even as the Rights group said the decision to pay compensation to the police families through the Imo State Police commissioner was irregular and shady even when the dozens of innocent Imo Youths killed by security operatives have yet to be accounted for and their families compensated.
The prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group recalled that the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Mr. Abutu Yaro, had explained why security operatives were embarking on indiscriminate arrests in the state by claiming that the “emergency situation” in the state had led to the incessant arrests the security agents were undertaking in the state.
HURIWA cited the media publication as stating that the police commissioner in Imo State had said thus: “People have raised concern about the incessant arrests in the state, but what people do not know is that incessant crimes lead to incessant arrests. In the last few months, Imo has been tagged an emergency or red flag state but we must work hard to restore peace and confidence in the state.”
HURIWA however accused the police commissioner and his operatives of hiding under the emergency situation in Imo State to perpetrate horrendous human rights violations including alleged extralegal killings of Igbo Youths and the dumping of their bodies indiscriminately in the Federal Medical Centre Owerri and other publicly operated health facilities in the State.
HURIWA said police in civilised climes deploy intelligence led investigative mechanisms before determining the exact crime suspects to arrest because indiscriminate arrests of citizens leads to committing of horrendous human rights violations which in effect could attract huge bills in damages against the state if cases of arbitrary arrests and detention are instituted in the courts of law.
The Rights group assured the citizens of Imo State that these killings will not go unpunished because efforts are being made at various strata of the civil rights platforms Worldwide to compile these evidences of mass killings, indiscriminate arrests and vicious breaches of the fundamental human rights of the citizens committed by the police and other security forces to be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands for further actions.
HURIWA also tackled the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodimma, over some statements he made on Saturday, June 12, 2021, including a promise he made to set up a judicial commission of inquiry on the violence in Imo State. Uzodimma spoke in Owerri on a phone in program on Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, marking June 12 democracy day.
The Rights group said it was wrong headed for the Imo State governor to continue to tell the media that disgruntled politicians are behind the violence that threatened the peace in Imo State but at the same time promising to set up a judicial investigative panel on the same issue that he has already made up his mind that he knew those behind the violence in the state.
HURIWA said the fact that the Imo State governor told the media severally that he knew those behind the attacks that targeted several government assets in the State, it was then a sheer waste of time and the resources of the State for him to set up a judicial commission which will definitely not be independent since he has already conjured up the list of those of his political adversaries he thinks are behind the attacks.
“This commission of inquiry the Imo State governor intends to set up in two weeks time won’t achieve any meaningful results because the governor himself has already messed up the ethical standing of this commission by drawing conclusions on those who sponsored the attacks in Imo State”.
“Why the dissipation of energy and the collosal waste of Imo People’s scarce resources constituting the judicial panel? Is the panel being set up to provide some sort of credibility to the widespread allegations you have canvassed on many media platforms? This is like setting up a kangaroo commission and Imo State people are too sophisticated to be hoodwinked”.
HURIWA also upbraided governor Hope Uzodinma for arbitrarily paying out N5 million compensation each to the families of the policemen who unfortunately lost their lives in the Imo State mayhem even before he sets up the commission of inquiry to determine the exact number of policemen killed and the circumstances of their deaths.
HURIWA says the governor has committed a big blunder by paying out such cash compensation through the state Commissioner of police even when this same police commissioner is alleged to have carried out massive arrests of Imo youths with a lot of allegations of extralegal killings of innocent Imo youth.
HURIWA recalled that governor Uzodimma had said: “My administration had taken steps to visit and commiserate with the families of policemen who lost their lives in Imo and that through the Commissioner of Police, N5million was handed over to each of the families of the policemen who lost their lives. There is no compensation that can equate the life lost, but we owe it a duty to identify with the families of the deceased policemen as a responsible government. We are also looking forward to immortalising those who lost their lives during this period in Imo.”
But the RIGHTS GROUP faulted Governor Hope Uzodinma for paying compensations only to the policemen killed but has not spoken a word about the dozens of Imo citizens killed by policeman and soldiers intentionally or through Accidental discharges in the past few weeks of internal security operations in Imo State and South East of Nigeria.
“Why the hurry to compensate policemen without compensating those killed by the policemen and soldiers especially the innocent youths framed up by the police and killed and dumped in several places? So what will the commission of inquiry be recommending after you as the governor has already decided on those to compensate and why should the commissioner of police who should be dragged to the International Criminal Court be the person to distribute the compensations from Imo State treasury?