· Accuse state govt of indolence
The amalgamation of civil society groups in the state under the auspices of Imo Civil Society Community Human Rights Desk have condemned in very strong terms, the brutalization, intimidation and extortion of youths in the state by security agents, especially police and military personnel under different guises.
group also frowned at the rate of arson, vandalization, looting of properties and other alleged unprofessional conducts of security agencies in the state and called on government at all levels to wake up from slumber and do the needful to avert imminent chaos or reprisal action.
The group stated this in a communiqués they issued after their emergency meeting on Monday November 15, 2021 and made available to the media.
The communiqué which was signed by Aku Obidinma as Convener, Barr (Mrs) Ngozi Iwu as secretary and Mazi Chinonso Uba (Nonso Nkwa) as Spokesperson reads, “owing to alarming reports on the disturbing increase on cases of brutality against civilians, intimidation and extortion of young people, arson, vandalization and looting of properties and many other unprofessional conducts of security agencies in Imo state, especially on the part of the military and the Police, an emergency meeting of all the civil society groups and pro democracy elements in Imo state was convened. The aim of the meeting was to afford the Civil Society Community the opportunity to formally receive complaints from the victims of these atrocious crimes, verify and ascertain their authenticity and come up with better legal and democratic reactions to address them.
The meeting was massively attended and some victims who attended the meeting took time to narrate their dehumanizing, heartbreaking and harrowing ordeals in the hands of the Police and Military operatives in the state.
Having listened to the accounts of the victims and responses from members, deliberation on the way forward was done and the following resolutions were arrived at:
1. That the Civil Society Groups state in Imo unequivocally condemn in its entirety the unabated intimidation, harassment and extortion of innocent youths and motorists in the state by both the Police and military men. We are at loss on where the law empowers the personnel of these security outfits to stop youths on the road search their phones, intimidating query them on their source of income and extort them with brazen impunity.
2. That the government of Imo state headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma has failed in his duty as the Chief security officer of the state for not protecting his subjects from the brutality, intimidation and extortion in the hands of the rampaging rogue Soldiers and Policemen despite their loud cries and complaints.
3. That the political leaders in the state, both in the ruling party and the opposition have all failed in raising their voices against the continued injustice meted out to our people by the Police and the Military. We are surprised that these politicians are more interested in how they will grab or retain power than responding to the plights of their kiths and kin who are daily dehumanized by the Police and Military in the state.
4. That we pass a vote of No confidence on the Commissioner of Police in the state, his PPRO and all the heads of Military formations in the state for their failure to compel their men to conduct themselves professionally in carrying out their duties. We consider it the height of shamelessness for a trained Soldier or Policeman to descend so low to brutalize and extort ordinary citizens who are legitimately striving hard to survive.
5. That the Civil Society Human Rights Complaints Desk is now set to receive complaints of human right violations so as to assist victims seek redress.
6. That the Civil Society Community shall compile all verified cases of human rights violations and extortions after which a strong worded petition will be written to the UN Human Rights department, The British and American Embassies, The European Union, African Union and ECOWAS to press for sanctions and visa restrictions on the identified perpetrators of these human rights violation crimes and their commanders. We shall also petition Amnesty International, Human Right Watch, relevant Senate and House of Representatives committees, Defense Headquarters, Service Chiefs, IGP and any other relevant body.
7. That we appeal to Imolites to continue to endure and persevere and not to resort to self help no matter the provocation as we shall do everything legally possible to ensure that justice is served in all cases.
8. That we condemn the inactive and lukewarm attitude of the Nigerian Bar Association chapters in the state in the face of massive lawlessness by the Police and the Military. We are shocked that the NBA who ordinarily should be championing the course of liberty and justice in the state has not been seen or felt in any of these cases.
9. That we seek the collaboration of the media, FIDA, NUJ and other professional bodies in the course of our struggle for justice.
10. That a short frame of time will be observed before our next meeting, to enable us receive more complaints.”
11. That we call on religious leaders, Traditional rulers and Town Union Presidents to rise up to the occasion of speaking out against the unprofessional conducts of the Police and the Military in the State”.