By Emmanuel Onwubiko
Few weeks back, the media spaces were awashed the grotesque and unprofessional occurrences involving some renegade Police Officers in the Anambra State Police Command and their accomplices from the Police Zonal Command, Zone 13 Ukpo, Anambra State who have allegedly subjected the entire Anambra Police Command to ridicule, mockery and odium.
As i write today about an ongoing police investigation if two petitions and a suit by one of the parties in the matter, there is general distrust of the Police in Anambra state and every action of the Police, even when commendable is viewed with damning apprehension. The vestiges of the pre- EndSARS protest that shook the nation to its foundation, seems not to have been buried in the Anambra State police command.
The above have become urgent reasons for the office of the Inspector General of Police to conduct an introspective examination of the policing patterns of its officers to ensure strict adherence to professional etiquettes and conduct in tandem with 21st century policing standards in Africa’s largest democracy.
Right now and in view of the public uproar against some officers of the State Police Command and the Police Public Relations Officer PPRO of Zone 13 Ukpo, Anambra State, Superintendent of Police SP, Nkeiruka Nwode, allegedly implicated in human organ harvesting and alleged gestapo style murder of suspects in detention, which she is undrrstood to have denied vehemently, we still think that the best place to begin the introspection is with the alleged scandalous involvement of the PPRO and other accomplices, who conspired with someone from Agbalagbo village in Nsugbe, to allegedly set up Senator Ubanesse Igbeke for trumped up accusations of Threat to life, Attempted Kidnap, Assassination and Conspiracy. The said individual who is also a prominent member of the aforementioned community has already instituted a suit against any attempt by the police force Headquarters to arrest him. He went under fundamental rights enforcement procedure.
Senator Igbeke, a highly respected politician and businessman had through a petition to the officevof the IGP alleged that he escaped obvious tragedies plotted against him by the above conspirators but stated that there are many however, especially youths who were allegedly murdered under the watch of notorious Anambra State Police command were not as fortunate as he the Senator.
Hebis of the opinion that an impartial investigation of his (Sen. Igbeke’s) case should be a litmus test to ascertain the extent of carnage, brutality and impunity committed by these alleged misbehaving police operatives.
It is hoped that the Police for the restoration of its own battered image will investigate this matter with honest courage. Sources disclosed that the office of the IGP has set machinery in motion to do just that which will be unfolded as we proceed.
The mere conjecture of the conversion of police detention centres in Zone 13 and Awkuzu as alleged slaughter slabs for extrajudicial executions of individuals framed up for criminal offences and the horrendous removal and selling of their vital organs as are being alleged in some newspapers reports, are blood chilling narratives that should spur the Police into uncompromised action, not only to salvage its battered image but to win back the trust and confidence of the people.
The truth is that many innocent citizens have already died and their grieving families do not only want to get justice for them but to see the murderers of their loved ones brought to justice. The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigetia which I head is inundated with several unresolved cases of enforced disappearances of young Anambra boys and girls and their suspected execution in the widely practiced modus operandi of extrajudicial killings by the police in their custody.
Many are calling for proper investigation into this Anambra Police scandal. Lending also its voice, The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre RULAAC,U called on the Inspector General of Police, Baba Akali, to ensure a thorough investigation of the allegations of organ harvesting and rights violations against the two police formations in Anambra State.
The Executive Director, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, made the call at a meeting of Anambra Police Stakeholders Partnership Forum in Awka on Friday.
The meeting was aimed at interfacing between the group and families and relatives of victims who had suffered alleged abuse by the police in the state.
It will be recalled that some police officers at the Rapid Response Squad, Annexe, formerly Awkuzu SARS, and Zone 13 Zonal Headquarters, Ukpo, had been fingered to be involved in illegal detention, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings and human organ harvesting by a whistleblower.
Following the allegations, the Inspector General of Police IGP, set up a panel to investigate the matter.
The Anambra state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on his part, asked the State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice to review all case files handled by the accused police formations, RRS and Zone 13.
However, months after the investigation panel team was announced by the Force PRO, Muyiwa Adejobi, nothing has been heard from the panel, a situation which has become worrisome for Civil Society Groups.
Speaking at the forum, Nwanguma expressed worry that more than one month after the allegations of unprofessional conducts were made against the two formations, nothing has been heard about the investigation that will prove the validity or otherwise of the allegations from the police authorities.
He said the group would like to meet with the IGP investigation team to monitor progress and ensure that such scandalous cases of abuse of human rights are not swept under the carpet.
He said probing the matter and making the findings public would go a long way to assure the public that police are their friend and that positive lessons had been learnt from the #EndSARS experience.
He said, “It is unfortunate that the factors that gave rise to the #EndSARS protests are still occurring today with audacious impunity. We still have cases of unlawful arrests, illegal detention, extortion and disappearance of people.
“Here in Anambra, there was a story of organ harvesting by the RRS and serious human rights abuse by Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo. Sadly, nothing has been heard, and we understand that some of the accused are all back to their duty posts.
“I want to appreciate the IGP for setting up an investigative panel on the matter, but we are worried by the silence of that committee, we want to meet with them and work with them.”
Nwanguma said respect for human rights is an irreducible minimum for policing a people in a civilised society.
The family members and relatives of victims of the alleged abuses, who were present at the meeting, urged the Civil Society to help unravel the disappearance of their loved ones.
Family members, who gave accounts about how their children were whisked away from their homes, said that they are yet to return or be seen or heard from, even one year after.
On his part, the Coordinator of PSPF in Anambra State, Mr Chris Azor, said the forum was formed to engender greater synergy between the community and the police.
Azor said the Civil Society would continue to encourage quality feedback from the community to help the police perform better while assuring that Human Rights cases would not be allowed to go uninvestigated and unpunished.
He commended RULAAC for organising the interface while noting that the issues raised would be brought to the attention of the appropriate Police Authorities for necessary actions and remedies.
After a thorough review of the scandalous allegations of human organ trafficking involving bad elements in the Anambra State Police Command, it is indeed appropriate for the Authorities to compel detailed investigation into the matter, with the view of identifying the bad elements in the Command. Failure to do this or compromise in the investigation would boost the evil morale of yet unidentified bad elements in the Command because a leopard does not change its spots and more so, criminals despite manipulating their ways into various Police hierarchy would in moments of truism to their nature, think, behave and act like the criminals they are.
Senator Ubanesse Igbeke is alleging that his town’s man conspired to rope him in. A charge that Kingsley Emoh, the said town’s man has denied. He has also filed a fundamental rights enforcement action.
From the narratives, two questions are begging for answers. First, who is after Senator Ubanese Igbeke, and why the alleged malicious plot to kill him with the active conspiracy of the Police to rope him into a phantom charge of kidnapping and assassination?
It is the view of Senator Igbeke in his petition that the said Kingsley Emoh allegedly reached out to the Anambra State Police command to set him up.
Recall too as previously mentioned that Kingsley Emoh has successfully obtained a court injunction to stop the investigation of the matter he reportedly took to the Police in which he tagged the Senator a kidnapper and assassin?
In a letter dated 6th January 2023, C.H. Chibueze & Associates acting on behalf of Dr. Emoh wrote to the Inspector-General of Police alleging threat to life, attempted kidnap, and assassination by Senator Ubanesse and Anierobi Valentine against Dr. Emoh.
On February 19th, 2023, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence and Response Team, Guzape FCT, in a letter dated 19th February 2023 invited Dr. Emoh thus: “This Office is investigating a case of criminal conspiracy, a threat to life and actions likely to cause a breach of public peace in which your attention is required for clarification…”
But the said Kingsley Emoh sued the police. In the Suit filed at the High Court of Rivers State of Nigeria in the Port Harcourt Judicial Division with SUIT NO: PHC/487/FHR/2023, Dr. Stan Chinedu Emoh as the Applicant got an Order restraining the Nigerian Police and Senator Ubanesse from arresting or detaining him (Emoh) pending “the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filled in the Suit.”
There are very many reasons to conclude with ease that certain forces are out to kill Senator Igbeke. Ordinarily, cases of kidnaps are usually transferred to the Police Headquarters in Abuja, says Senator Igbeke who spoke with this writer who also has access to a quantum of legal papers from Kingsley Emoh. Igbeke Ubanese said in cases of kidnappungs the Force Headquarters, not a state command usuall deploys Special Forces to tackle the menace.
But in this case, according to the claims by Senator Ubanese, the PPRO surreptitiously and suspiciously transferred the supposed kidnap case to her office at Zone 13 instead of the Police Headquarters in Abuja. Why?
Clearly, there are too many ominous signs that expose a seemingly high-wired plot with the police Anambra Police command being accused by Senator Igbeke of a plot to kill the Senator. First, Senator Igbeke said he was verbally invited by SP Nwode to the Zonal Command without disclosing reasons for the invitation and we ask, why would the Police verbally invite anyone, more especially a Senator for any matter without disclosing reasons for the invitation?
Secondly, why did the PPRO refuse to disclose to the Senator the reasons for his invitation? Was the invitation letter she allegedly belatedly sent to the Senator after the Senator had petitioned the Inspector General of Police and the IGP had ordered investigation into the matter, not a diversionary gimmick to hide the original plot against the Senator and an afterthought to camouflage their evil plot against the Senator?
Third, SP Nwode’s alleged verbal invitation to a former Senator of the Federal Republic and her insistence on prompt compliance raises a flurry of suspicions, in the estimation of Senator Ubanesse.
Fourth, why was SP Nwode allegedly tracking the Senator as alleged by Igbeke even before her verbal invitation? The Police track only those who are escaping justice or those who failed to answer Police invitations.
If we may ask, assuming without conceding that he was actually tracked, why would SP Nwode track the Senator before the invitation? If her intention was not illegal, all she needed to do was to formally invite the Senator to come to the Zonal Command on a specified date. The Senator’s refusal to honour the invitation may warrant such tracking. That the Senator’s locations were being monitored raises presumptions of planned tragedy against the Senator.
Fifth, why was it necessary to use extreme torture to extract false information from Valentine Anierobi who was allegedly brutalized and dehumanized to accept that he was sent to Emoh’s house by the Senator to kidnap and assassinate Emoh, when he had voluntarily stated that he went to Emoh’s house on Emoh’s invitation? Why was it important to the said Kingsley Emoh and the police operatives named in the petition for the Senator to be implicated in crimes that never happened? The videos of the alleged torture are in circulation.
Sixth, the law in section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution says that every accused is deemed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
Senator Ubanesse is alleging that SP Nwode flagrantly treated Anierobi as a guilty party even before other steps?
Why was it essential to allegedly manufacture fake evidence against the Senator and why was it necessary to harass and intimidate the Senator with the threat of being surrounded by Police operatives?
In conclusion, the allegations of illegal detention, extortion, kidnapping, torture, and extra-judicial killings by some police officers in Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo, and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Awkuzu, Anambra State are appalling, and an affront to the sanctity of human rights and dignity, undermining the fundamental principles of responsible policing and development of just societies for which the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) should be known.
No wonder, Civil rights advocacy group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Sunday, called for the disbandment of the entire policing architecture in Anambra State and urged the Police Service Commission to set up a judicial panel to investigate these wide-ranging allegations involving the police.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, among other things and to forestall another national anti-police brutality protests like the #EndSARS uprising of October 2020, recommended “complete police investigation reports, disbandment of the entire policing architecture in Anambra state, the investigation by Police Service Commission and a judicial panel to be set up in Anambra state by the state government or federal AGF to investigate the allegations involving the PPRO and her accomplices with Awkuzu Police torture cells and if these police operatives are found guilty they should face murder charges immediately and on no account should there be an attempt to sabotage the investigation in order to circumvent such circumstances as would suggest that the police would sabotage such high profile and scandalous criminal ring enterprise involving high ranking Police Officers”.
The leading Rights Group also condemned the alleged police brutality and torture of Anierobi Valentine at Dr Emoh’s residence before handing him over to the Anambra State Police Command linking the same SP Nwode. The PPRO’s alleged implication in the organized ring involved in human organ trafficking and disappearances of many youths make the matter more grievous and compelling.
A man in a viral video, Valentine Anierobi was allegedly tortured and forced to confess that he was sent by Senator Ubanesse to kidnap Dr. Kingsley Emoh .
Indeed, the whole scenario is that of a well-orchestrated web of conspiracy and exposure of man’s inhumanity to man, in the thinking of Senator Igbeke Ubanese.
According to the narrative, the Police were investigating allegations of threat to life, conspiracy, attempted kidnap, and assassination in which Sen. Igbeke is the accused and Kingsley Emoh is the accuser. The young man, Valentine Anierobi was only the rope they had intended to use to tie the senator into the fabricated crimes, alleges the shocked Senator.
whilst Kingsley Emoh pursues his fundamental human rights enforcement matter in the Garden city, the Nigerian Police Force cannot allow accused rogue operatives in their midst to drag the name of the Force into more disrepute.
Emmanuel Onwubiko is the HEAD OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and Was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.