Police Brutality: ACTIVIST FLAYS UZODINMA, SAYS HE HAS FAILED IMO ….“Governor may as well resign”

An Imo-born Human Rights activist and author, Comrade Ikechukwu Njoku, has blasted Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State over widely reported police brutality and extortion in the State.
Activist Njoku threatened the governor with another #EndSARS mass protest in Owerri, the Imo State capital, over what he described as “resurgence of police ruthless brutality and reckless extortions in Imo State”.
According to him,Imo under Governor Uzodinma is abysmally a failed state.
In a statement forwarded to newsmen yesterday, activist Paul, stated that security of lives and property is the primary duty of the government as enshrined in the constitution.
He however accused the governor of gross incompetence to protect the lives and property of Imo people from both State actors and non- State actors.
“Governor Hope Uzodinma has abysmally failed. He should resign for unconscionably and unscrupulously turning Imo State into a failed State by his gross incompetence to protect the lives and property of Imo people from both State actors and non-State actors.
Security of lives and property is the primary duty of the government.
“I consider the resurgence of police ruthless brutality and reckless extortions in Imo State as a deliberate crime by the state actors otherwise regarded as the known gunmen”.
“The defenceless and armless Nigerian youths and civilians in Imo State are being unnecessarily extorted, harrassed, humiliated, embarrassed, brutalised and extra judicially mistreated by the security actors.
“Few days ago, I witnessed some of the reckless extortions and ruthless police brutality at Egbu Road, Mbaise Road, Azaraegbelu axis, Okigwe road, Airport Road and Control Post axis in Imo State.
“I wept endlessly with grief and sorrow viewing a recent video clip from Owerri currently circulated in public space where armed security agents were brutally using AK47 riffles on three young men in their private vehicle. I almost thought that the suspects were Boko Haram and bandit terrorists who just massacred people.
“Imo people can no longer breathe in the hands of the security personnel. This ruthless action is barbaric, illegal, unconstitutional, evil, unacceptable and undemocratic.
“Let me state it categorically that Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter prohibits member states (which Nigeria is part ) to use lethal force and brutality in any manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations.
Police brutality in Imo State and Nigeria is a gross violation of Human Rights to dignity.
“Nigerian security forces must be educated and trained to understand that in 1979, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 34/169 relating to the code of conduct for law enforcement officials. Article 2 of the Resolution provides for the dignified treatment of all human beings by security agents. Article 5 went further to prohibit the use of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
“Nigerian security forces must be educated that the United Nations Resolution /High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides that law enforcement officials are obliged to know and apply international standards of Human Rights when dealing with alleged suspects.
“I wonder why the Nigerian security forces do not know that African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Article 4 guarantees right to life. The right to life is also provided in the 1999 constitution in section 33.
“Rules of engagement should be accorded to non-violent and defenceless suspects. Imo State is a peaceful State.
“Security agents therefore should be redeployed where they are most needed at the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, Zamfara, Borno, Niger, Katsina and Kaduna amongst other Northern States where innocent school children are abducted in large number, raped, sodomised and kept in the forests by bandits for huge ransom and where Telecom Operations and business activities are shut down to stem bandit terrorists, ISWAP and Boko Haram terrorism.
“Governor Hope Uzodinma should as a matter of urgency, address Imo people with swift measures to identifying and prosecuting those armed security agents who delight in causing panic in the state and who seek to extrajudicially execute, extort, brutalized, harrass and incarcerate law-abiding youths and private motorists otherwise a call for #ENDSARS shall be activated in Owerri.
“I repeat, Mr. Governor must do the needful to immediately stop the ugly trend. This unwarranted and unprovoked brutality by some lawless security forces must stop otherwise civil society organizations, human rights groups and Imolites will shortly commence a peaceful but mass protest in Owerri and occupy Imo Government House till the governor addresses the barbarity.
“The world should be notified that Imo State of Nigeria is militaralised and endlessly under siege by state actors. This can not be tolerated by Imo youths.
“We cannot be enslaved and subjected to absolutism and brutality in our father land by those who are paid with tax-payers’ money to protect us”.
“In other words, the Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff, Director of State Services (DSS), Imo State Commissioner of Police, Imo State Director of DSS and others should take note of the possible forthcoming #ENDSARS mass protest in Owerri due to the fact that our lives are threatened on daily basis.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters have on Tuesday, December 6, clinically reported that residents and youths in Owerri, Imo State, have raised concerns over their safety following a rise in harassment and highhandedness by policemen in the city.
According to SaharaReporters, the youth say policemen often dressed in T-shirts and ripped jeans have made it a custom to now accost young people in sleek cars and those in commercial vehicles before intimidating them with guns and batons.
The police falsely accused those accosted to be internet fraudsters or members of cult gangs in order to forcefully extort money from them, it was gathered.
SaharaReporters stated that in a certain video of one of such incidents that took place on Saturday around Rapour Junction, a popular section of the city, some policemen wielding AK-47 rifles could be seen assaulting and rough-handling a bunch of young men in a Salon car they had chased to the spot.
Firing several shots into the air to scare away onlookers, the policemen brutalised some of the youths in the vehicle when they dared to ask what their offences were.
As the beating and gunshots went on, one of the guys could be heard crying for help on top of his voice.
The team of policemen later led the young men away in their vehicle to an unknown destination as the crowd of onlookers grew around the scene of the assault.
The incident, the latest of such in recent times, has sent many of the city’s residents in panic mode ahead of the Yuletide.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, some of them said they were afraid to move around the city as a result of police harassment.
“Attacks on young people by policemen in Owerri are becoming too many. The moment they see you in a fine car and looking good, they will accost you and look for a way to extort money from you by falsely accusing you of being a Yahoo boy (Internet fraudster).
“There is not a day in Owerri that this incident doesn’t happen. If it continues, many of our brothers may not come home for Christmas and New Year celebrations,” Nwabueze Fidelis, a resident, said.
Chux Oguzie, another resident of Owerri, said, “There is serious police brutality going on in Imo State, Owerri precisely.”
Earlier in October this year, SaharaReporters revealed how some young men were arrested and subsequently harassed by police officers in Owerri.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, the Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center, a non-profit group, had in a statement revealed that policemen accosted one Victor, who had travelled from Lagos to Owerri en route Mbaise for a burial and forcefully collected N60,000 from him for no offence.
He disclosed that Victor and one of his cousins, who had come to pick up from the airport in Owerri, were arrested at Enyiogugu and thrown into a police van.
The young men were taken to a Point of Sale operator were they were forced to withdraw the money and settle them.
Victor identified their vehicle number as NPF4605D.
The disturbing trend of police harassment had become so worrisome that young people across the country in October 2020 poured out to the streets to demand an end to police brutality.
In response, the police authorities dissolved the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad whose personnel were majorly responsible for such atrocities.
But a little over a year after the disbandment of SARS and the police authorities promised reforms and more respect for the rights of citizens, nothing has changed as ordinary Nigerians especially young people remain at the mercy of rogue policemen desperate to maim, kill and extort.

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