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Group condemns police brutality on pro-Biafra protesters


Pro-Biafra Protesters In Port Harcourt

Photo: Pro-Biafra Protesters In Port Harcourt

*HURIWA alleges plot by military authority to arrest its national coordinator*

A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organisation – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the violent clampdown by armed police of peaceful protesters who demanded the unconditional release of the Director of the Europe based radio station (IPOB) MR Nnamdi Kanu.  

Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on Sunday in Lagos on his arrival from the UK by the operatives of the Department of State Service [DSS]. He has since been kept incommunicado. 

HURIWA said the violence that characterized the breakup by Nigeria police Force of the spontaneous but peaceful street protests by supporters of the pro-separatist movement’s leaders amounted to gross human rights violations which must be investigated by the National Assembly and the Federal government. 

HURIWA said if no remedial mechanisms are activated by Government to check the excesses of the armed security operatives with regards to the vicious attacks of protesters then independent non-governmental organisations will proceed to invite the international community to intervene.

Besides, HURIWA in a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, also raised alarm that the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Buratai is scheming to arrest and detain the leadership of the organisation for its recent decision to invite the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands to investigate the July 31st 2015 attacks and alleged killing by soldiers and police of innocent traders at the Ariaria international market. 

HURIWA said it has just received an invitation from the Chief of Army Staff through the military formation in Ohafia in Abia State to appear before a panel with affected traders following our earlier petition to the Army Chief. HURIWA said it wrote a letter in August demanding an investigation but after over a month of inaction it again wrote a letter to the same Chief of Army Staff disclosing the decision of the group to seek international intervention but expressed shock that several weeks after it started generating evidence for onward transmission to the ICC in The Hague Netherlands for action the military chief has now invited us. 

HURIWA included a copy of the invitation in the press release it issued just as it has proceeded to petition the National Assembly to intervene and investigate the alleged extra-legal killings of traders and the attempt to detain her leader.

On the attack of supporters of Mr Nnamdi Kanu by Nigeria police, the Rights group said it is a breach of chapter four of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which recognised the freedoms of peaceful assembly and movement. 

Specifically, Operatives of the Enugu State Police Command, on Tuesday fired canisters on pro-Biafra protesters at the Government House, Enugu. 

Similarly HURIWA recalled that peaceful pro-Biafra protesters were attacked and arrested by armed police in Port Harcourt Rivers State and several other places just as it condemned these range of human rights violations by police as primitive; despicable and reprehensible. 

Several persons, including three women were injured in the process of Police violent repression of the peaceful protest in Enugu State.

The protesters numbering over 30 had converged opposite the entrance to the main gate of the Government House with placards with inscriptions such as ‘free Nnamdi Kanu, Nnamdi Kanu is a freedom fighter, we need justice’, before the police launched attack on them.

According to a source, “The women converged here with their placards as early as 10:30am and they comported themselves peacefully.

“Suddenly, heavily armed police men led by the Divisional Police Officer, New Haven, Enugu, CSP Okey Ambrose arrived at the scene.”

The witness said that the police officers initially pounced on the men who had accompanied the women for the protest during which 19 of them were arrested.

“The arrest made the women resolute and at this point the police fired tear gas directly at them during which the canisters hit some of them, cause heavy bodily injury.

“The Commissioner of Police Mr. Adamu Mohammed later arrived at the scene”, he added.

The leader of the group, Mrs. Onyekachi Ubenyi said that they were protesting the arrest of one Mr. Nnamdi Kanu by the Department of State Security Services (DSS), HURIWA quoted local reporters as reporting the events. The Rights group has demanded immediate action to hold the unruly police operatives to account for their lawless action of brutality.

Attached: Letter of invitation from the Army Chief

Emmanuel Onwubiko

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