The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has observed with total dismay and strong condemnation-the unchecked unarmed civilian deaths and incessancy of unlawful arrests and arbitrary detentions by armed state actor security operatives in Anambra State. The dastardly and prohibited acts are being perpetrated and perpetuated by the personnel and principal officers of the Nigerian Army (302 Artillery Regiment in Onitsha), the Nigerian Naval Base, Ogbaru, the Anambra State Police Command and the State Government funded Anambra Vigilante Services under the supervision of the State Commissioner for Homeland Security. These, they perpetrate and perpetuate by using false security intelligence and rogue-criminal investigations. The above named armed state actors and the present Government of Anambra State have also earned notoriety in false labeling and relied heavily on ‘hearsay conclusions’ under which unarmed and defenseless citizens are indiscriminately criminalized and rounded up for secret execution or arbitrary detention and denial of custodial liberties. Acts of disappearances and torture or other inhuman and degraded punishments or treatments are also very common in the handling styles of the named state actor security operatives and their principal officers; who also turn blind eyes on armed criminal parties and their weapons and channel their energies and resources against defenseless and unarmed citizens and their properties.
These explain the reasons behind high level of impunity and ‘repeat offenses or returned criminalities’ especially felonious offenses inviolving high-profile shootings, abductions-for-ransoms and targeted assassinations across the State. This is also to the extent that the real fighting or armed criminal parties have remained unmasked and on the prowl. Policing and Military intelligence supplied to the Government of Anambra State are mired in “IPOB/ESN phobia” and often times diversionary and questionable. The worst of it all is that the Government of Anambra State heavily relies on such corrupted and biased military and police intelligence to make public pronouncements or form opinions or policies and Government actions on ‘insecurity in Anambra State’. The “IPOB/ESN-phobia” derived intelligence and investigations are so rampantly used by the State Police Commissioner and the principal officers of the deployed Nigerian Military that “investigations are commenced and concluded and findings made 30 minutes or less after every high-profile abduction or shooting or killing/abduction incident”.
Cases of shooting or killing or abducting and disappearing defenseless citizens around or near the crime scenes and labeling them “attacking IPOB/ESN/Unknown Gunmen overpowered and shot dead (neutralized) at the crime scenes” are also very rampant. In 2022, for instance, no fewer than eight defenseless citizens including a Lagos-based businessman returning to the State with his Venza Car and builders of his new house project were targeted in open shootings and killed by the joint personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Army/Police at Isuoffia and Umuona in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. Their killing had taken place few minutes after the armed non state actors’ attack at naval checkpoint at Isuoffia during which one naval personnel was killed and others injured. The named military personnel had gone on shooting spree and rained live bullets on passersby in Isuoffia, Umuona and environs; killing scores and injuring others. The worst of it all was the hastiness with which the Government of Anambra State aided and abetted the dastardly act by issuing a confirmation statement supporting the falsity of the armed state actor story that “those killed were members of the Unknown Gunmen killed in crossfire or gun duel by gallant security operatives”.
Shooting At Embassy Staff Convoy In Ogbaru Mired In Hearsay Conclusions And IPOB-phobia
The greatest challenge facing the Nigerian security establishments is lack of diligent criminal investigation devoid of hearsay conclusions, ethnic and religious profiling, criminal labeling, class criminalization and ‘prosecutorial vindictiveness’. The Nigerian security establishments also incurably lack modern criminal intelligence and policing including proactive and preventive policing and effective early warning response capacities. There are also inter-agency encroachments and general lack of skillful securitization intelligence and investigation handling styles. The “Man-Mental-Machine” modern securitization and policing are nowhere to be found in the present Nigerian security establishments; to the extent that out of every ten security operatives involved in processing citizens accused of being in conflict with criminal laws of Nigeria, nine use deadly force and torture and other degrading treatments. Also out of every ten processing or interrogating security officers, nine lack basic computer literacy and mental detective and evaluation skills.
Occasionally, exception to the above is the Department of Security Services (DSS), especially in the area of acquisition of intelligence skills and use of same. A clear case in point was the case of “Egbe-Eji-Eje-Ogu of Unubi in 2022”. Apart from despicably setting his family dwelling house and properties ablaze, the DSS led operation remains one of the best, if not the best executed intelligence and investigation driven law enforcement operations in Anambra State in recent years. If it is to be police or military led operation, the entire Umunna kindred or village in Unubi, Nnewi South LGA of the State would have been wiped out and their houses and other properties razed-with dozens of unarmed and defenseless citizens shot and killed or terminally injured. The real crime suspects would also have escaped and uninvolved others rounded up and shot dead and their dead bodies costumed and publicly paraded and falsely labeled.
It is therefore most likely correct to say that the recently reported shooting at the US Embassy convoy In Ogbaru Local Government Area along Atani-Ogwu-Ikpere Federal Road in Anambra State is inescapably riddled with hearsay conclusions and “IPOB-phobia”. This is to the extent that the Government of Anambra State and the State Police Command hastily and without detailed and conclusive investigations heaped the responsibility on “suspected members of the proscribed IPOB/ESN”. The Anambra State Police Command under CP Echeng Echeng has earned notoriety in hastily linking almost every criminal activity in the State to “suspected members of the proscribed IPOB/ESN”. These ‘hearsay conclusions/class criminalization’ have led to incessancy of instant and custodial killing of unarmed and defenseless citizens and abduction and disappearance of others as well as indiscriminate arrests and arbitrary detentions and wanton destruction or burning down of defenseless civilian houses and other properties across the State using false labeling and class criminalization.
Intersociety also finds it difficult to locate situations whereby the State Police Command had started criminal investigations on such phantom allegations and had such investigations diligently concluded and the investigated suspects successfully prosecuted. We cannot also remember the last time the Anambra State Police Command secured judicial convictions against those it spuriously accused of treason or treasonable felonies in connection with “IPOB/ESN terrorism”. Apart from the State Police Command and the Anambra State Government funded Anambra Vigilante Services killing, abducting and disappearing unarmed citizens at will in broad day light and at the hours of the blue law using phantom and un-provable allegations of “IPOB/ESN terrorism”, it further saddens our heart that the Government of Prof Charles Soludo is relying on corrupted and biased intelligence supplied by the State Police Command and the deployed principal officers of the Ogbaru Naval Base and the 302 Artillery Regiment of the Nigerian Army, Onitsha. In matters of the law, and as a matter of fact, “the Nigerian military is incurably incompetent and incapable of generating effective policing intelligence in connection with the activities of civilians or citizens not subject to the Armed Forces Act of 2004”. The Military is also a meddlesome interloper in matters of securitization under civilian democratic dispensation. In the referenced Ogbaru US Embassy convoy attack, the authorities of the Government of Anambra State, the Nigerian Naval Base and the 302 Artillery Regiment of the Nigerian Army, Onitsha had severally announced the arrest or neutralization (extrajudicial killing) of not less than four sets of group citizens in connection with “killing US Embassy staffs in Ogbaru”. Members of some communities have also been sacked from their ancestral homes or forced to flee to avoid being falsely labeled, arrested or killed. Among the victims were a tertiary institution’s lecturer and aging husband and wife and their two children who are seasoned river-line fishers.
Twelve Unanswered Questions In The US Embassy Staffers’ Convoy Shootings/Killings, Ors In Ogbaru
The Government of Anambra State, the State Police Commissioner and the Commander of the Onitsha Naval Base and his Commandant colleague from the Onitsha 302 Army Artillery Regiment are operationally start illiterate by their woeful failure to (1) understand the meaning of “assassination by a hit squad” and (2) whether the shootings were randomly carried out/internally/externally coordinated; (3) whether it is possible for four sets of group citizens including two aging husband and wife with fishing occupation and a lecturer to have belonged to the same group of assassins, (4) whether members of the sacked communities were also part of the assassination squad, (5) the exact mission of the US Embassy staffers and their convoy in Ogbaru, (6) How victims of the Ogbaru shootings mostly made up of serving and retired security personnel became flood disaster area relief management or reconstruction experts, (7) the identities of those that actually carried out the shootings/killings, (8) whether they are armed state actors or armed subversive state actors or Government-linked private armies’ operatives, (9) whether there were insider connections or conspiracies or perpetration and perpetuation, (10) whether the mission to Ogbaru by US Embassy convoy was official, legal or illegal, (11) whether the Government of Anambra State or the State Police Commissioner or the State Director of SSS were officially notified, (12) whether it is correct to say that the personnel and principal officers of the Ogbaru Naval Base are engaging unchecked in sundry economic sabotage/extortionist activities in their lines of duties including collecting returns from Niger River sand excavators and crude oil bunkerers; collecting tolls from sand tippers and other haulage lorries at their roadblocks; imposing and collecting N100 per trip from every Keke rider from 6pm daily; imposing and collecting N100 (daily Navy fee) per commercial bus/Keke along Atani Road per day; and aiding and abetting kidnap-for-ransom and other high profile criminal activities in Ogbaru and environs.
Anambra Govt. Must Speak On Govt-linked Private Armies Kidnapping, Killing And Disappearing
The silence of the Prof Charles Soludo led Government of Anambra State regarding the recent weighty allegations against his Commissioner for Homeland Security; Mr. Chikaodili Anara (Igba-ka-Igba) is totally condemned. The denial of same by the person of Mr. Chikaodili Anara is watery and has failed woefully to critically address the core issues raised. It must be reminded that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had twice in one week, 28th May and 4th June 2023, leveled weighty allegations against the Homeland Security Commissioner bordering on insecurity raging across Anambra State. He was strongly accused by the leadership of IPOB of “running a hit squad including high profile kidnap-for-ransom gangs using Government connections and functionaries as a back-up”. He was also strongly accused of “clandestinely purchasing acres of lands for Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen as middleman for the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and facilitating incursions by the Fulani Herdsmen Jihadists into Awka North and environs”. Commissioner Chikaodili Anara was further accused by IPOB of “being the brain behind the general security challenges across the State” and that “he used AVG (Anambra Vigilante Services) to murder unarmed citizens and label them “suspected IPOB/ESN members”.
Among the communities that are witnessing the surge of strange faces and Fulani terrorists, according to IPOB, are: Igbariam town, Achalla town, Amanuke town, Ugbene town, Ukwulu town, Nando town, Urum town as well as Mgbakwu town, Isuana town, Ocha town, Ebenebe town and others located in Awka North, Ayamelum and Oyi Local Government Areas. Most of the listed communities have in the past one year witnessed “the influx of Fulani herdsmen; causing tensions, fears of insecurity and other unsafe conditions as the villagers are warned not to go to their farms or risk being killed by the Fulani Jihadist terrorists”. The above is to the extent that “thousands of acres of farmlands belonging to such communities have been forcefully taken from their indigenous owners and sold to the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association through Homeland Commissioner Chikaodili Anara and his gang”. For more see details, click here: https://sunnewsonline.com/anambra-insecurity-ipob-sends-sos-to-soludo.
By Intersociety’s recent investigations, there also appears to exist in the State a high profile and well armed and coordinated kidnapping gang syndicate around Achalla and environs in Awka North. The kidnap-for-ransom gangs or syndicates are so well armed and coordinated that they have in their arsenal a number of flying boats which they use to forcefully ferry their victims from Ezu-Omambala-Niger River axis to the Ogbaru-Asaba Niger River Creeks manned by the Nigerian Naval Base in Ogbaru where ransoms are negotiated and paid. This is to the extent that the kidnap-for-ransom gangs have become an outlaw, above the law and beyond the law enforcement agencies of Anambra State formations. It must also be reminded that IPOB’s weighty allegations against Commissioner Chikaodili Anara cannot be circumstantially dismissive or pronounced dead on arrival; especially by the intelligence gathering prowess of the IPOB from their Eastern Security Network-a counter Jihadist incursion group in Eastern Nigeria since Dec 2020.
Soludo Must Investigate Homeland Commissioner And Look Inward Over US Embassy Convoy Attack
Intersociety therefore calls on Gov Charles Soludo and his Government of Anambra State/State Executive Council to carry out a detailed and unbiased investigation into such weighty allegations leveled against Commissioner Chikaodili Anara so as to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the weighty allegations so leveled. The Soludo’s Government must also look inward regarding the Ogbaru US Embassy’s convoy shootings and killings for possibility of insider connections or conspiratorial roles. Such must be extended to the State Police Command, Ogbaru Naval Base and Homeland Security circles. The Anambra Directorate of the DSS is exonerated and absolved of any culpability until it is proven otherwise and except the post US Embassy convoy’s crime scene vicinity shootings and killings and the communal raiding and indiscriminate arrests, abductions and shootings that followed, the 302 Artillery Regiment of the Nigerian Army is also absolved of possible internal conspiracy involvement. Gov Charles Soludo is hereby expertly called upon and advised to rely more on generated intelligence by the State Directorate of State Security Services under Director Pawa and subject those from Army, Navy and Police to thorough evaluations and checks before being used in public pronouncements and public security and safety policies or actions.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist-Researcher), Board Chair