Human Rights Writers Association HURIWA has called on the federal government and relevant agencies to as a matter of urgency identify, arrest and prosecute the combined team of security operatives who invaded and desecrated St Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obaire shooting in all directions at a time worshippers converged for the thanksgiving service in respect of former Chief of Staff, Imo State government House, Uche Nwosu whose mother was buried few days earlier.

The group expressed this view in a press statement dated January 19, 2022, signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and made available to Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper.

They said, “In the case of the invasion of the home of a Supreme Court Judge, Hon Justice Mary Odili, we want the security operatives, comprising the army, police and DSS who invaded St Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obaire in Nkwerre L.G.A of Imo State to be identified, arraigned and prosecuted for this unacceptable affront on constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom to life, freedom of expression and lawful assembly”.

Continuing, Comrade Onwubiko said, “Our demand is simple- produce these armed operatives some of whom brazenly invaded the altar shooting sporadically and dispersing the frightened worshippers some of whom aside the psychological and emotional traumatic experiences, could have been shot if some of the bullets had landed on them as they were made to scamper out of the Church in fear that the hooded invaders did not wear identifiable uniforms or name tags were UNKNOWN GUNMEN that have been ravaging the Southeast of Nigeria. We all saw how this unprovoked invasion of the Church in Imo State got international opprobrium. We also saw the waves of condemnation from Nigeria including but not limited to the Imo State government who blamed the police for invading the Church.

We all saw the repercussions of the brazen violent attacks and invasion of the Abuja home of the Supreme Court of Nigeria’s second in Command Justice Mary Odili and the consequential arrests of some of the invaders who the police have recently charged to court. The Offences of the invaders of the Anglican Church in Imo State is weightier because unlike in the invasion of Mary Odili’s home by those rogue elements led by an alleged CSP who was later denied by the police, the operatives who invaded the Church in Imo State shot several rounds of live ammunition into the crowd of worshippers. We also learnt that the IGP investigated the invasion and the report has been sent to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigerians are asking for the PUBLIC DISCLOSURE of this report from the Inspector General of Police. We wonder if the Director General of DSS and the Chief of Army Staff also took their time to investigate the extent of involvement of their officers who were reportedly in that scene of unprovoked violent invasion by the security forces who wore no uniforms. 

The Army and the DSS must disclose the identities of the invaders and charge them to court to serve as a deterrent because their action could have precipitated a civil strife if not that those worshippers took the entire scenario in their strides.

This issue is a serious human rights matter that must never be swept under the carpets. Our action is not motivated by politics but by the patriotic zeal to ensure that impunity and lawlessness are not made the hallmarks of governments in Nigeria. This press briefing which is our first in 2022 is to further serve notice to the relevant authorities to act swiftly because this criminality and state sponsored terrorism happened close to a Month ago and has become the norm in Nigeria since the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Nigerians make a lot of noise to condemn government’s lawlessness and few hours after, the whole thing dies and it is becomes business as usual.

We will dwell on this issue until federal government and relevant agencies act to stop their armed security personnel from unleashing aggressive attacks on the citizens. We had earlier in the in petitioned the Police Service Commission but for two weeks now the Police Service Commission is yet to write and inform us of the steps they are adopting to investigate what happened in the Anglican Church and why police operatives shot bullets inside a church like terrorists and unknown gunmen.”