Allegations of Police Brutality in Anambra


Five detainees, held by police at Area Command Headquarters in Onitsha, Anambra State, have claimed that at least five other detainees were tortured and killed while in police custody. The group, employees of G.U. Okeke & Sons Limited, a subsidiary of GUO Group, were arrested on 30 July at National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Motor Park at Bridge-head, Onitsha. They were arrested following a civil dispute between their employer and Chief Ngozi Okpagu, who lost a court case pertaining to work activities being done at NIWA Park. The detainees were held for a period of six weeks. According to them, they were tortured through various means including being flogged and whipped, being beaten with iron rods and big sticks, being kicked, and being shot with bullets in their legs. the detainees say that once someone slumped and died in their cells, the police officers would simply remove the corpse to the morgue and thereafter deny their being detained if and when family and friends came to visit them in custody. The detainees say of the three they know about who died, three died in the cells at night, with two dying outside the cells. One of those who died, died at about 2am, and his family came to see him later that day. However, because he died, the police denied his being arrested and being held at the station. The family refused this explanation, and vowed to get to the bottom of the occurrence. During their 6 weeks of confinement, they say they were also denied food, on top of being repeatedly and horrifically tortured. They were fed sporadically, after being starved all day and night, and were given small portions of moin-moin, served with dirty water. Even when their relations came to visit with food, they were not allowed in, and had to bribe police in order to have food brought in; this continued until their release on 16 September. Until now, the NIWA Park is being controlled by Okpagu, contrary to the court order. “Okpagu is still running the NIWA Park, collecting dues, tolls and fees running into several hundreds of naira on daily basis with the help of armed policemen deployed to the park by the Onitsha Area Commander, against the larger interests of G.U. Okeke’s Company which has a subsisting grant of the land from the customary owners,” the released detainees say. The police spokesperson for Anambra, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga has denied any malpractice on the part of the police, or any reporting thereof, “there is no such information before me. I urge the witnesses of this incident to come forward for more detailed information please. This will enable us to conduct a proper investigation.”


People are being killed in South-East Nigeria by security forces, and they are blaming the IPOB and the Eastern Security Network (ESN), according to the Premium Times. The killings have happened usually during raids on camps holding IPOB and ESN. On 30 August three unarmed residents were killed when troops from 82 Division and 34 Brigade invaded Orsu-Ihiteukwa, in Orsu Local Government Area, Imo State. Army spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu claims the victims to be IPOB members, although two of the three, Ugochukwu Obianeli and Nonso Izuegbu, were killed while moulding cement blocks. Nicolas Onwughala was shot in the legs at Eke Ututu Market on the same day. He died from his injuries on 31 August. “Each time the troops come, they carry out shootings. And most times, they end up killing some innocent people, during shooting with the supposed ESN boys,” says Chidi Ibekaeme, a resident of Orsu-Ihiteukwa. Until December 2021, he claims, there was no attacks on the community, but now they are constant. “I know of the three. Incidentally, one of them, Ugochukwu Obianeli, is my brother in law. We are living in fear. Each time we hear information that they are coming, we run away,” he says. Another resident, Friday Nwajuo, tells how he saw the troops attack. “We ran when we heard the army people were coming. Within 20 minutes, the soldiers came and started shooting. So, the two boys, who were labourers in a block industry, ran away for safety. All of a sudden, they stopped shooting. When they came out, they thought the soldiers had left. so, the soldiers saw them and shot them dead, thinking they were ESN members.” on 17 September, in Ihiala LGA in Anambra State, were invaded, with troops killing two unarmed residents and burning down shops. Ihiala backs up onto Orsu-Ihiteukwa, making it two attacks in less than three weeks on the wider area. The troops seem to have gained entry by attacking Orsu-Ihiteukwa at about 4am, with combatant vans, armoured tankers, and helicopters. The troops then proceeded to fire rounds and detonate bombs. The attack was supported by members of Ebubeagu, a private security firm supported by the Imo State Government. In the fracas, 23 year old Ifeanyichukwu Edurumba, was taken from his house at 12 noon, dragged to the market in Orsu-Ihiteukwa, and allegedly killed by troops. His aunt, Ifeoma Onyebuchi, had this to say: “We were inside the house when we heard that army people were coming to the community. So he left his poultry farm and ran inside for safety. While we were inside, some people came and knocked on our door. They were a mixture of army people and Ebubeagu members, all in their uniforms. They ordered us to open the door when I asked who they were. They quickly broke the door and gained entry. The boy ran under the bed with some children. One of them told us that if we don’t bring the boy, they will kill all of us. I told them the boy is an orphan and the only son of his late parents and that he is a poultry farmer and also and iron bender. I told them he didn’t do anything wrong. While I was talking, they went inside the room and dragged the boy out and took him away. They checked the boy’s poultry when they heard his chickens clucking. they later took the boy to Eke-Ututu Market and killed him.” there have been vocal objections to the way the military is handling the situation in South East Nigeria, saying the extra judicial killings and violence are a tinder box waiting to explode. Nnamdi Anekwe, a security expert, says they need to change the approach they take. “You have to offer 3 a carrot, that’s dialogue for IPOB members and, then, use a stick, which is force, if the dialogue fails.” another security expert, Mr. Joseph Ngwu, had this to say: “the best approach would have been to investigate and interrogate arrested suspects, not shoot them. But soldiers do not interrogate, they just attack. Even when there is an allegation of criminal activity against people, such information could be ill-motivated and, therefore, needs to be investigated first.”

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