Monday, March 4, 2013

Civil society report indicts deadly Nigeria police unit, SARS, in Ezu river floating corpses



On 21st day of January 2013, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, released a public statement-titled: The Nigeria Police Force: The Good Versus The Bad & The Ugly-in which the major challenges facing the Force including nefarious conducts of some, if not many of its senior/field officers, such as killing outside the law, torture and excessive use of force, were highlighted. On 19th day of February, 2013, we released another statistically grounded public report-titled: The Return Of Anambra’s Killing Fields (Part-One). 


Today, part-two of theReport is continued and concluded. For our teeming readers all over the world, the central idea of part one and two of the report is to expose locally and internationally the entrenched culture of extra-judicial killings and torture within the Nigeria Police Force and direct and indirect backing of the locally and internationally atrocious acts by relevant political authorities in Nigeria. The report is zeroed down to Ezu River of Death with strong linkage to theSpecial Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command-the general overseer of extra judicial killings and torture in Anambra State of Nigeria.

It is recalled that we had in the referenced public statement of January 21, 2013, informed the world that dozens of corpses found floating on Ezu River of Death by local villagers on 18thday of January, 2013, might most likely emanate from the deadly Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command led by one Police Commissioner Bala Nasarrawa. In other words, they were victims of extra judicial killings and torture carried out bySARS. The deadly outfit is under one Chief Police Superintendent James Chima Nwafor. The indisputable position of ours was collaborated by Anambra State leadership of the Civil Liberties Organization vide its separate public statement same date. As expected, leaderships of the State Police Command and SARS weakly and remorselessly denied any involvement and labeled us-enemies of the State. It was in the light of these that part-oneand part-two of the report under reference was, and is still predicated.

The grand summary  of the Ezu River of Death Disaster perpetrated by the Police is that dozens of unprocessed(not fully investigated, prosecuted, properly tried, convicted and sentenced) suspects including  some innocent members of the public, some members of theMovement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB and some suspects accused by the formal security agencies in Anambra State of Nigeria  of armed robbery and abduction(kidnapping); numbering between 25 and 50, who were violently taken into SARS detention since December 2012 or before then, were brought out from their detention cells, killed with lethal objects or substances, which may include killer-chemical substances, lethal middles, lethal clubbing, strangulation and lethal bullets (particular mode of killing is to be determined by independent credible autopsy)other than tasering or tear-gassing ; taken to Ezu River  on patrol vans during the hours of the dead(1:00am and 3:00am) and dumped in turn, into the river under reference; with a malicious intent  to close traces and heap blames on  the host community(Amansea) and endanger their lives  and those of their  neighbours with false linkage to non-existent  violent communal conflicts as the cause and source of the floating corpses. While credible independent sources including some media houses gave the number of the floating corpses as 25, 30 and 50, sources from the Police and the Government of Anambra State claimed that the number was 19. Nine members of MASSOB are believed to be among the dead.  It is recalled that in October 2009, during the fatal road accident along Umunya portion of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, involving multiple commercial buses (14 & 18-seater buses) loaded with passengers, and a fuel tanker lorry; eyewitnesses’ accounts including journalists, passersby and survived passengers put the number of the dead at 70-80, but the State Government and the Federal Road Safety Corps said it was 13.
Star Witness Account:

On Monday, 25th day of February, 2013, Mrs. Uchenna Ogbu, who is in her early twenties, spoke to the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law at its Onitsha administrative headquarters.  Mrs. Uchenna Ogbu, who is about six months pregnant, is the wife of Citizen Basil Ogbu, one of nine MASSOB members that went missing in the hands of SARS since 7th day of December, 2013. Citizen Basil Ogbu is strongly believed to have been extra judicially executed alongside eight others and dumped into Ezu River of Death by SARS on 18th day of January, 2013. Her Account: My name is Mrs. Uchenna Ogbu from Ogbaru, Anambra State, married to my husband-Mr. Basil Ogbu, 25 years of age, from Nsukka in Enugu State. I dropped out of 2nd year from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria about three years ago due to my mother’s death and got married in 2012. My husband is a businessman, dealing in cosmetics along Sokoto Road, near Onitsha Main Market. He has about five apprentices trading and working for him. Some stay in his shop, while others work for him in a motor park, located on Bida Road, near Onitsha Main Market. We live at No.100, Bida Road, in a flat apartment. My husband is also one of the local leaders of MASSOB in Onitsha. We returned from Okigwe in Imo State (headquarters of MASSOB in Nigeria) in early December 2012 and my husband was getting ready for his new administrative posting to Nnewi at Ojukwu’s house before his arrest and missing.
In the morning of December 7, 2012, my husband-Mr. Uchenna Ogbu told me he was going to their office, which is located at Ezeolisa Lane, off Sokoto Road, for a meeting on how to bury one of their members-Citizen Uchechukwu Ejiofor (from Imo State), killed by a  combined team of security agencies on 12th day of November, 2012. In the evening of December 7, 2012, my husband did not come back; later a call came informing me that he had problem with the police and the Onitsha Main Market armed Vigilante Group. One of their members called me again and told me that my husband was shot and bundled away alongside others by a combined team of soldiers, SSS, SARS and armed vigilantes-called JTF, which stormed their office on the said date. On 8th day of December, 2012, we organized a search party involving myself, my husband’s elder brother and a lawyer and we visited the Onitsha Area Command and the CPS. He was located at the Onitsha Area Command alongside others. We saw him lying on the floor with one of his legs battered with gun bullets without any medical treatment, not even first-aid. His battered leg was covered with carton papers. He managed to speak to us. He said that some of their members were on peaceful procession along Sokoto Road, when the armed security team came and violently disrupted their procession and arrested some of them, after which they raided their office,  shot and arrested  him;  and that about nine of them were violently arrested on the said date.

My husband later asked us to give him pure water(sachet water) and a police officer on duty advised us against it on the ground that he may die if given because of his gun-shot wounds. He suggested a pack of locozade boost and a bottle of malt, which were bought and given to him. The police officer who was touched by my condition and age (early twenties) advised us to hurriedly get a doctor to treat his gun-shot wounds before they are transferred to SARS or State CID. We went to the New Hope Hospital and the doctor on duty demanded police report and by the time we got back to the Onitsha Area Command, my husband and others have been taken away. We went to the State CID, at Awka and they told us that such suspects including my husband were not brought there. We went to the Awkuzu SARS headquarters and they chased us away. We returned to the Onitsha Area Command and pleaded profusely with the Area Commander-ACP B.S. Wordu before he brought out the transfer list showing that my husband and others were transferred to the Awkuzu SARS headquarters. It was when several efforts to see my husband at the Awuzu SARS  failed that we went to the Awka Federal High Court to compel the O/C SARS to produce my husband in court, which till date, has failed to yield any good results. Since 8th day of December, 2012, a period of two months, two weeks and three days, I have not set my eyes on my husband-Basil Ogbu. I am tempted to believe that SARS have murdered my innocent husband!

From the foregoing, therefore, it has been incontrovertibly established that Citizen Basil Ogbu and eight other MASSOB activists, who were arrested since 7th day of December, 2012, were moved from the Onitsha Area Command, which also houses the Onitsha Central Police Station, to the Awkuzu SARS headquarters on 8th day of December, 2012, in the form oftransfer and since then, they have not been   seen by any member of the public or any member of their families. The inability of the police authorities to produce the detainees in courts or before their families’ members expressly means that they have been killed by the police through jungle justice. The police through the Awkuzu SARS are also responsible for the extra judicial killing of dozens of other detainees and their dumping into Ezu River of Death on or before 18th day of January, 2013. Therefore, the denial of any culpability by the Anambra State Police Command including its SARS in the unlawful killing and dumping is totally undeniable, hasty, baseless, senseless, watery, remorseless, beastly, immoral and criminal. The heinous killing is even outside the infamous and notorious Order 237 of the Nigeria Police Force, under which its field personnel kill Nigerians they accuse of resisting arrest or escaping from custody.

 The unresolved questions to be answered by the Nigeria Police Force over the horrible development are: what are the whereabouts of the nine MASSOB activists transferred to SARS from the Onitsha Area Command since 8th day of December, 2012? Were they granted interim bail? If yes, who were their sureties and where are the records with which they were granted bail?  Were the detainees arraigned in either courts of inferior records or in courts of superior records? If yes, which divisions of the courts in Anambra State and at what dates? What was their fate after the courts’ charges or arraignments? Were they granted bails or remanded in prisons’ custodies? If yes who were their sureties or which prisons or police stations were they remanded and by which courts and dates? Are they still being detained by SARS without being charged to, or arraigned in courts?

If yes, which of the SARS units are they being detained?  Failure by the Anambra State Police authorities to provide concrete and empirical answers to the foregoing stainless questions expressly means that they have committedcrimes against humanity including mass killings, murder and torture as defined by Section 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2001. It also has an inkling of genocide and ethnic cleansingbecause all the murdered were from one ethnic group (Igbo). During the recent visit to theAwkuzu SARS inmates by the Nigeria’s Senate Committees on Police, National Security and Intelligence, most of the detainees revealed that they have been in detention for two months (since January 2013). None of them, from the media accounts and analysis of what transpired, bore any name connected to the nine MASSOB missing members. This clearly sustains the strong accusation that the Awkuzu SARS authorities have carried out the extra judicial execution of those or most of those detained in their cells before January 2013 including nine MASSOB activists, innocent detainees and other unprocessed suspects accused of involvement in capital offences such as abduction/kidnapping, armed robbery and murder, whose bodies were dumped and made to float on Ezu River of Death on 18th day of January, 2013.
The remorselessness of the SARS operatives in the heinous crime under reference knows no bounds. The deadly outfit still arrests and extorts innocent citizens across the State with utter alacrity particularly in the evening times.  Each raiding deadly squad usually operates with a Hilux Security van, with which it tows private motorcycles belonging to innocent citizens retiring homes and a hired L300 commercial bus, with which it piles up the innocent citizens arrested. The deadly SARS operatives attached to Okpoko Police Station in Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State, commanded by SUPOLs Anthony and Mike (2/Ic), engage in such illegal raids and arrests with reckless abandon. Once it is 7:30pm, any citizen found outside his or her residence is a potential guest to the deadly squad particularly in Fegge, Awada, Ugwuagba, Nkutaku, Iyiowa Odekpe and Okpoko areas of Onitsha and environs.

The SARS unit attached to the Onitsha CPS also indulges in same unlawful conducts in Odoakpu, Inland Town, Nsugbe, Woliwo and Omagba Layouts, Nkpor and Ogidi areas under Onitsha zone. Those arrested are made to pay huge sums of money as summary bail fees and those who do not have money to pay run the dangerous risk of being labeled armed robbers orkidnappers and transfer to Awkuzu SARS Headquarters, where they are held incommunicado, grievously tortured and extra judicially executed. Such illegal raids are carried out in front of residential houses, along the streets, on the city roads, at restaurants and football cinema centers, between 7:30pm and 9:00pm on daily and weekend basis.
  For instance, on 1st day of March, 2013, at about 8:45pm, Citizens Michael Okeke and Ifeanyi Okoye of No.22, Chukwudulue Street, in Ogbaru LGA, were arrested at PIETA Hospital by Nwaziki Avenue, Awada Layout alongside the wife of Citizen Okoye and another friend accompanying them to the Hospital. Mrs. Okoye who was being taken to hospital, was released on the spot, while others were bundled to the Okpoko Police Station with their two private motorcycles. On 2nd day of March, 2013, they paid their captors N26, 000(N20, 000 for bail and N6, 000 for the bailing of the two private motorcycles). The third detainee was refused bail for fighting police. He runs the risk of being held incommunicado, tortured and killed extra judicially. On 2nd day of March, 2013, Citizen Emmanuel Onyemeke of No.7, Nwaegbeigwe Lane, Awada Layout, Obosi, Anambra State was arrested at about 8:30pm in front of his residence. He paid the Okpoko SARS N10, 000 to secure his release. On same date, Citizen Ikenna Ekwueme, a resident of Tony Obi Street, Ugwuagba Layout in Obosi, was arrested alongside his female friend, Onyinye,  at about 8; 30pm with his private motorcycle. He paid his captor N6, 000 on the spot and was released instantly, while his female friend was taken away because he could not afford her bail fee. Citizen Ikechukwu Odoh of No. 6, Tony Umeh Street, Awada Layout, was arrested and detained since 2nd day of March, 2013 because he could afford his bail fee of N10, 000. He was arrested along Ezeiweka Road, Awada Layout at about 8:45pm and as at today-04-03-2013, he is still being detained.

Citizens Anthony Ogbonna(choir master) and Uchenna Obodougo( deputy choir  master) of No.21B, Amanato Street, Ugwuagba Layout, Obosi, were arrested at about 8:50pm. They were going home from their choir practice at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Parish, Ugwuagba Lawyout and got arrested in front of their residence. Their captors demanded N10, 000 each for their bail-out. They were released without a dime after the leadership of Intersocietyintervened on 3rd day of March, 2013. They told our leadership that an L300 bus with which they were bundled to the Okpoko Police Station was jam-packed with over 15 arrested citizens. They were detained alongside other arrested citizens in a batcher within the Station, where SARS detainees are held until they pay for their release or get labeled armed robbers /kidnappers and transferred to Awkuzu SARS with summary death tags.

Roles Of Nigerian Politicians In The Ezu River Of Death Disaster:
We note with sadness the lukewarm attitudes of top political office holders in Nigeria, from the presidency to the State officials, towards the sanctity of human lives. In organized and progressive climes, the unlawful death of their citizens and non citizens is considered a national calamity, but in Nigeria, it is utterly relegated to the background and becomes an avenue for blood money making especially by the relevant standing committees of the Nigeria’s National Assembly, in the form of legislative committee investigation, which never sees the light of the day at the end. The Ezu River of Death disaster is a clear case in point, because no positive outcomes will emerge at the end from the so called legislative committee investigations. The lukewarm attitude of the Government of President Goodluck Jonathan, which swore under oath to protect every Nigerian irrespective of tribe or race, from unlawful death and torture, is highly despicable and condemnable. It is a fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria, which faces the world at the UN Rights Council’s 2013 Universal Peer Review today, 4th day of March, 2013, has not made any categorical statement in condemnation of the world’s latest crimes against humanity, not to talk of ordering a full scale criminal investigation into the dastardly act. The leadership of the Nigeria Police Force under IGP, Mohammed Diko Abubakar, is also condemned for its quietness of the graveyard. 

Till date, not even administrative sanctions, which are the main disciplinary measures for violating the NPF’s new Code of Conduct, have been visited upon those senior officers at the center of the  grave accusations including CP Bala Nasarrawa, CSP James Chima Nwafor(O/C SARS), DCP and ACP OPS, AC-State CID, AC-Onitsha Area Command and AC-Awka Area Command. CP Bala Nasarrawa and CSP James Chima Nwafor are the principal culprits. The field officers who carried out the heinous murder and dumping of dozens of Ezu River of Death corpses are still on the prowl with impunity. The recent clandestine investigations carried out by the NPF High Command into the dastardly act, is utter mostly suspect. We at Intersociety see it as operation erasure, meant to exploit loopholes and defenses, if any, with a view to extricate the Force from unhidden moral and legal culpability.

The conversion of the horrified tragedy into politics of borehole by some Anambra politicians including Senator Chris Ngige and some aides working for Governor Peter Obi is a clear indication of disrespect for the sanctity of human lives. Instead of truly expressing shocks and disbelieve over the resurgence of this Stone-Age cannibalism; observing mourning periods; and working tirelessly towards fishing out the culprits, establishing scientifically the circumstances of the killing of the murdered-criminal autopsy( whether they were shot, strangulated, clubbed, stoned, macheted or poisoned with lethal strings); and ensuring proper identification of their identities vide credible and efficient criminal investigations and public information; the politicians so called are bent on corrupting the substances of the earth-shaking tragedy  with their politics of parochialism and naivety.  

It is correct to say that they leave substances and chase shadows. Today, media loyalists belonging to these political camps and politicians have introduced several theories lacking in empiricism, to the tragic saga, all in an effort to extricate or rope in their paymasters, or divert the clue sources, or to achieve cheap political goals with respect to the forthcoming Anambra gubernatorial poll.   Some compromised media practitioners have attributed the tragic incident to campus cult killing, Ezu Shrine death revenge, victims of MASSOB kidnapping activities, victims of highway armed robbery, to mention a few.

Also, if I help you to be extricated, you will back me during my election or my party’s election deal has reportedly been brokered between the culpable senior police officers and their field formations and some of those politicians. Some of them, through their killer-squads, have resorted to the issuance of death-threats to the leadership of MASSOB to back out of their factual insistence that Police SARS killed nine of their members extra judicially, so that it will be easier for them to exonerate the accused senior police officers and their formations. For instance, the leadership of MASSOB dishonored its recent invitation to Awka by the Senate Committees said to be investigating the tragedy because of reported mounting threat-calls. Lately, some elements within MASSOB are accused of soliciting for, or collection of millions of naira from the Federal Government and politicians, via some elements within the legislative investigators to kill the matter. As a result, new field elements have been appointed to follow the matter.  From every indication, therefore, there are serious cover-ups and bribery attempts going on in the tragic saga.

From hurried evacuation of the corpses to their hurried burial; from selective exhumation of few bodies for autopsy to secluded and guided subjection of same to criminal autopsy; from the independent figure of the corpses’ number, ranging between 25 and 50, to the government/police skewed number of 19; and from the politicization of the tragedy to the politically motivated and criminal erasure oversight/clandestine criminal investigations. Justice will surely be murdered going by these contrived arrangements and conclave of hopelessness.  There will be no light at the end of the tunnel unless the international community intervenes because the Nigeria’s municipal authorities blatantly lack moral, political and criminal will to get to the root of these internationally heinous crimes against persons.


Problems With Police/SARS Criminal Investigation & Trial:
Conventionally, criminal investigation is a serious criminal intelligence business, manned by professionally trained detectives in plain clothes, which involves a systematic collection of information about crime and assembling of physical and testimonial pieces of evidence within the framework of the law in order to identify the perpetrators of the crime and provide evidence for successful prosecution of the criminal suspects in courts of competent jurisdictions. The reason for high incidence of torture and extra judicial killings within the Nigeria Police Force is the absence of conventional criminal investigation knowhow and toolkits, and sluggish and archaic criminal justice system as well as non-application of relevant safeguards to sanction the perpetrators of such heinous acts owing to corruption. In other words, police torture detainees in Nigeria because they lack conventional criminal investigation tools, experience and management. They kill their detainees because their criminal investigation outcomes are legally unreliable, scientifically unverifiable and prosecutorially weak. They also kill because the court system and criminal laws and procedures are weak, twisted, sluggish and outmoded. The art of torture and extra judicial killings, globally speaking, is an express art of trial/killing by ordeal, which is universally outlawed. It also contravenes and destroys the seven key elements of crime, including, most importantly, the rules of mens rea(criminal mindset).

The Anambra State CID and SARS totally lack modern tools for criminal investigation such as conventionally trained personnel, scientific data, interrogation tools, information data, scientific crime data/records, etc. A modern crime detective is a well trained officer who is able is construct hypothesis and draw conclusions in problems relating to crimes in addition to reasoning soundly and logically. A crack crime investigator is someone with professional training and solid experience, who, by carefully completing every appropriate step in a criminal investigation, leaves nothing to chance. Most operatives of the Anambra State CID and SARSare computer illiterates and internet enemies. Their reasoning/ intelligence quotients have been blocked and corrupted by excessive liquor consumption and immoral lifestyles oiled by extortion and bribery proceeds. Because theirs are Ape-like reasoning/intelligence quotients hovering round 800 and 900 as against the universal basics of 1,300 and above, they act in a beastly manner such as deriving joy in inflicting grievous bodily harms on their detainees and indulging in rapacious killing of those under their custodies, outside conventional criminal procession.  In other words, they are like serial killers and torturers.

The Anambra State CID and SARS also lack modern scientific/technical aids, which are fundamentally relevant in criminal investigation, including all the technical aids used in modern criminal investigation like modus operandi, lie detector, telephoto lens, detective dyes, x-ray kits, metal detector, etc. Conventional Crime Laboratories also elude the two important public anti crime formations. Crimes Laboratories-also called Forensic Labs are major crime labs where scientific tests are carried out to establish a triangular link between the suspect, the scene of crime and the victim. A conventional or standard crime lab consists of Mobile Unit (comprises scene of crime officer), Photography, Ballistic/Tools marks, Documents, Chemists, Biologists, Fingerprints, Photograph Examination, Voice Identification, Information Technologists, Cyber Crimes Experts, Criminal Lawyers, Criminologists, Psychologists,  etc. The Crime Labs are expected to assist an investigator to establish an element of the crime, link the crime scene to the victim or criminal, corroborate or disprove an alibi, induce an admission or confession, exonerate the innocent or confirm the guilt of the accused and provide expert testimony in court.

There are no modern interrogation techniques in the Anambra State CID and SARS, mentally and tool-kits wise, with which to skillfully and soundly question unwilling suspects and witnesses. There is lack of logic, craft and psychological insights in the criminal investigators attached to the two formations owing to blatant lack of training, information technology, practice and research. This is why torture is on the increase among the Nigeria Police Force crime detectors and investigators particularly in the Anambra State CID and SARS. Conventional Data of Crime is near-absent in the two police formations. It includes modern data warehouse for collection of information about criminals and maintenance of records of criminal activities, collection and preparation of information from those records as well as interviewing suspects to collect evidence to present to court.  Where it exists, it will be easier to establish and link 90% of violent and property crimes to repeat offenders, who are usually the insignificant portion of the adult population.

Criminal investigation generally involves three stages of Scene of Crime Management, Information Gathering and Arrest/Identification. The latter must be devoid of mistaken identity-considered fatal to the criminal investigation if it happens. Among Nigeria’s three capital crimes of murder, armed robbery and abduction/kidnapping, the crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping/abduction are less difficult to investigate or unravel because of their easy triangular link to the scene of crime, the suspect and the victims, unlike the crime of murder, which is more difficult to unravel. Referrals to the DPP and arraignment of suspects with capital crimes charges in the courts of inferior records are partly responsible for extra judicial killings and largely responsible for long pretrial detentions and awaiting trials (act of remanding suspects in prisons with long delays in their trials). By the combine provisions of Sections  77 of the Nigeria’s Criminal Procedures Act, 56(1) and 57 of the Nigeria’s Federal High Court Rules and 23 of the Nigeria Police Act, legally qualified police officers(police lawyers) can prosecute any criminal offences including capital offences in any court in Nigeria, without referrals to the Federal or State DPPs, who are under the Federal or State Attorney General, except where the Federal or State AG has an interest in accordance with Sections 174 and 211 of the 1999 Constitution. In terms of case-laws or decided cases, this issue has also been settled in the case of FGN v George Oshahon & Ors (Court of Appeal).

Recommendations:
1.       Federal Government of Nigeria should make a categorical public statement on the Ezu River of Death Disaster, which will include an unreserved apology to Nigerians and the world for maintaining silence of the graveyard over the issue.
2.       The leadership of the Nigeria Police Force should formally condemn the atrocious acts of its officers and men in Anambra State and administratively sanction those officers involved including CP Bala Nasarrawa, CSP James Chima Nwafor as well as two killer-DPOs- Temitope Fasugba of the Onitsha Central Police Station, who shot twice  at close range an innocent ASTA contracted driver, Citizen Chuka Nwankwo on 18th day of December, 2012; and John Mark of the Fegge Police Station, who lacerated the body of Mrs. Chika Obikwelu on 15th day of December, 2012. Mrs. Obikwelu is a mother of five children (see our report: NPF: the Good versus the Bad & the Ugly: 21-01-2013). Strong efforts should be made by the Force High Command to ensure the total stoppage of these criminal conducts of its officers and men not only in Anambra State but also in its entire 6,551 field formations in Nigeria.

3.       The Special Anti Robbery Squad in Anambra State should be disbanded and collapsed into the State CID and rebranded as specially and conventionally trained crime detectives and investigators or rebranded special anti violent crimes’ squad. In the process of rebranding them through in-service examinations, re-orientations and trainings including ICT  literacy courses, the Ape-like ones  should be identified and transferred to the Nigeria Police Force Animal Division. The present State CID headquarters should be relocated with a befitting structure adorned with modern crime fighting, detection and investigation toolkits, knowhow and management as highlighted above. Alternatively, Anambra SARS should be surgically operated and made to be headquartered  at the new expanded headquarters of the State CID under recommendation, with a view to enabling them share modern technical crime’s aids and information together as it is the case in USA and other organized climes.
4.       Federal Government of Nigeria should expeditiously set up a special independent and credible panel of enquiry to unravel the circumstances leading to the horrific tragedy. Part of its terms of reference will be to exhume all the bodies hurriedly evacuated and buried for credible autopsy to credibly establish the circumstances of their death. Maximum security should be provided for victims and witnesses wishing to testify before the panel or observe and contribute during its proceedings.  
5.       Federal Government should undertake the sole responsibility of paying adequate compensations to the families of the nine MASSOB activists killed extra judicially by its Police Force as well as their funeral expenditures. In paying the compensations to their family members, each, especially their wives or mothers, should receive compensation equivalent to the five years salaries and allowances of the serving Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police.

6.       The Government of Anambra State should, immediately, undertake the responsibility of reforming its criminal law and justice system. Example of reformed criminal justice law and system in Nigeria is that of Lagos State. Among 20 serving High Court Judges in Anambra State manning various High Court divisions, Criminal High Courts can be designated to speed off criminal trials. Particular attention should also be paid to the legal qualifications of the State serving High Court Judges. Criminal trials should be presided over by Judges with requisite qualifications in criminal law and criminology. Inviting Judges with degrees in marine, family and cannon laws, etc, to preside over criminal trials make the process professionally quackly. Arraigning suspects with capital crimes’ charges in the courts of inferior records should be discontinued. 
7.       Nigeria’s leading rights, labour and other social voice groups like National Human Rights Commission, NLC, NBA, etc, should not only speak out but also ensure that the horrific saga under reference is not swept under the carpet at the end.
8.       Respected international voices should step up consistent pressures on the Nigeria’s municipal authorities to ensure that those behind the dastardly act directly or remotely, are brought before the law.
9.       In the event, the Nigeria’s municipal political authorities failed to bring the culprits to book, then the international community including the International Criminal Court, the UN Human Rights Council, offices of the UN Reportuers on Extra Judicial Executions and Torture, among other international groups and governments, should take over  the matter or influence its takeover by the internationally qualified groups and individuals, with a view to ensure  the untainted justice is done.

Signed:
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

No comments:

Post a Comment