The Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, utterly condemns the recent killing of a motorist near Umuikaa Junction, Isialangwa South L.G.A of Abia state.
The tragic event occured today, April, 15, 2020, as a result of altercation between the men of the Corps and the unfortunate driver. While FENRAD awaits finalisation of the matter, it seeks to expressly state that at no point has enforcement of the statewide lockdown and its attendant stay-at-home order required dispatching of lives of Abians or resident of any part thereof.
It is sad, deplorable and condemnable that at a time when the entire world is taking the war effort and campaign to the novel COVID-19, men of the security agencies whose sworn and constitutional duty is to protect lives and properties of indigenes and nonindigenes within the state morbidly turn against their charges.
We recall, with huge sense of sorrow, that the first one-week stay-at-home order also witnessed a killing of an unarmed civilian by an officer of the Police Force along Ururuka in Osisiomangwa L.G.A of Abia state. While FENRAD wishes not to witness further this harvest of deaths, it regrets to remind the security agencies that so far and as of today, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken no life in Abia where two have already been lost to trigger-happy formation and detachment of the Force and Corps.
Having said that, it bears repeating, and FENRAD emphasizes same in no less vocal and condemnatory tone, that right to life is naturally given and should never, at any point of extremity, be taken by any security agent except under such circumstances as allowed by the law which are express too.
Recently, certain barristers were, at Omoba Road, Ogbor-Hill area of Aba, brutally manhandled by men of the Dragon Squad, Zone 6 Police, Aba. From the details the torture involved clobbering and brutalizing to the extent that severe injuries were sustained. This, obviously, is not how best to police a state. Abians are never known to be unlawful and do not deserve this, especially from those entrusted with preservation of their lives and properties.
Barring speeches that it “strongly condemns”, Abia state government has done little to ensure that lives of her indigenes and residents are protected. For example, while the police officer who shot Mr. Chibuisi along Ururuka road is not at large, nobody is sure when his trial will commence and how expeditious same will be.
Again, after the alleged police raiding and burning of residential houses at Ibadan and Okujombo streets, Aba, whereupon the government set up a high-powered committee to look into the matter, FENRAD wishes to recall that nothing has been heard of the said committee in terms of report and findings, at least to the best knowledge of the Foundation! FENRAD urges the state government to do more in protecting the lives of those who elected it into office for the same reason rather than make itself a passive onlooker while things go wrong. As the Commissioner for Information, Chief John O. Okiyi
after expressing “rude shock” stated in a release dated April, 15,2020, that the government will ensure that justice is done “swiftly”. Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done!
Numerous are records of abuses perpetrated by uniformed men of various security agencies in the line of duty during the recent statewide lockdown. Even pressmen and newsmen on duty have fallen victims too. While myriad and plethora of records are available to this end, the case of the victimization of staff of Abia Facts News suffices as one of the latest of such brazen nihilism. Equally is FENRAD aware of exploitation meted out – by mostly the police – against drivers of vehicles conveying food, relief and other essential materials at a time when the law permits essential services and delivery of same.
FENRAD urges Abians to, in this trying time, remain law-abiding and respect constituted authorities, especially the state government while it equally urges the state government to rise to the occasion and do the needful. FENRAD believes and is equally convinced it can get things done better.
Lastly, FENRAD urges the police, state command and other security agencies to operationalize security services according to rules of engagement and desist from any acts capable of bringing shame to their respectable image.
Let peace and not fear be enforced. Let justice be done, equally.
Signed. Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Foundation For Environmental Rights,Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)