Lawyers representing hundreds of victims of forced disappearance from the custody of the Nigeria State Security Service, the Police and the Nigerian Army have said their continued detention shows their body parts might have been balkinised and sold.
The lawyers said 24 persons alleged to be Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or close associates of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who were arrested from various parts of Nigeria on various dates have not been seen till date.
The lawyers listed the names as Ikechukwu Henry, Joy Godwin Udoh aka (Idara Gold), Emeka Ngonadi, Barr. Pius I. Awoke, Chinedu Nwoba, Igwe Johnson Dike, Ogbonna Joseph Ajah, Kingsley Onovu 9. Ogbonna David, Kenneth Ojima and Fortune Okezie.
Others are Joseph Okafor Eze, Emmanuel Onyibe Chinonso, Uket Godwin, Ogbonna Christian Ndubisi, Eze Ernest Chukwuemeka, Ibeleme Tochukwu, Emmanuel Ike, Rev Cletus Egole, Pst Philip Chinedu Egole, Chinonso Anyanwu, Kelechi Okeke, Godspower Chilemu and Chukwuma Nwaokike.
The lawyers said that the men and women who are of Igbo and Ibibio extractions are accused by the Federal Government of Nigeria of belonging to IPOB.
P. A. N Ejiofor Esq., Solicitor to the families of the disappeared victims in a statement said that Ikechukwu Henry – A father of a 4-month-old baby at the time of arrest and a husband was arrested alongside his wife and the baby by members of the Nigerian Army at about 2 am from their residence at Akwuke Akwnano, Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State on the 23 August 2021.
“He was detained at the military police detention room in Enugu until 1 September 2021 when he was moved with a military Air force jet Dunia to Abuja and kept in the counterintelligence command under the chief of military intelligence, Brigade General Onoja and as at 23rd December 2021, he was in cell 5 of the counterintelligence command. He has not been allowed access to his lawyers and family members who led to the family instituting a case at the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu before Hon Justice Buba I. N.
“His lordship on 23 March 2022 ordered the Nigerian Army to produce Ikechukwu Henry before him on the next adjourned date 25th March 2022. On the 30th March 2022, the Nigerian Army filed a counter affidavit deposed to by one Lt. Col, Chidi Egbom informing the court that Ikechukwu Henry was transferred to the custody of State Security Services consequent upon which the state security services was made a party in the suit. The state security services filed a counter affidavit denying that they have or received Ikechukwu Henry into its custody. The court consequently made an order for oral evidence to be taken so as to clear the difference in the deposition of both the Nigerian Army and the state security service.
“Both parties appeared in court on 21 June 2022 and each party, the SSS and the Army maintained their positions. Despite the various opportunities given to the Nigerian Army to prove that it indeed transferred Ikechukwu Henry to the state security service, they could not to date and the matter has been adjourned for judgment. To date, Ikechukwu Henry’s whereabouts is unknown.
“JOY GODWIN UDOH (IDARA GOLD) This 20-year-old lady went to celebrate her birthday with her fiancée when officers of the state security services stormed the fiancée’s house in search of the fiancée Mazi Chuks Egwuatu. She was arrested alongside all the siblings of her fiancée. While her fiancée’s siblings were released after about 5 days in detention; she was transferred to the Abuja office of the state security services on the 16th day of November 2021. Joy Godwin Udoh’s offence was that she dressed in a certain coloured dress for her birthday and the state security service concluded that such coloured dress was advertising and influencing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). See annexure 5. Joy Godwin Udoh like the others before and after her in this report was transferred to a military holding cell without an order of the court and contrary to all known laws in Nigeria.
“The Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Maha deprecated the action of the state security service and ordered that JOY GODWIN UDOH be allowed access to her lawyers and family members but despite the order of the court the state security service has consistently failed to allow us, her lawyers, family members, access to her. Joy Godwin Udoh was subsequently charged to court for being a member of IPOB but on the date slated for her to be brought to court, the Federal Government through the officers of the Attorney General’s office said she could not be brought to court due to logistic challenges. (Whatever that means). Till today, we do not know where Joy Godwin Udoh is neither has any of us including her family been able to see or meet or hear from her.
“Pius I. Awoke, Fortune Okezie, Chinedu Nwoba, Chinonso Onyeibe, Eze Joseph, David Ogbonnaya, Ajah Joseph, Igwe Johnson, Kenneth Ojima, Widom Ezika Nwambana, Uket Godwin. The above eleven persons were amongst those who came from Ebonyi State, Eastern Nigeria to witness the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on the 26th July 2021. After the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on the said date at the Federal High Court, Abuja, they boarded two vehicles back to Ebonyi State only to be intercepted by a Navy Unit stationed at Lokoja, Kogi State. They were held down at the checkpoint for over 5 hours till a team of the state security service came to take them back to Abuja.
“Upon being sued in court to challenge their arrest and detention, they were said to have been transferred to WAWA Military Barracks in Niger State. Neither their lawyers nor their families have seen them or spoken to them nor have they been brought before any court for trial.
“EMEKA NGONADI – Emeka Ngonadi was arrested by men of the State Security Services on 10 April, 2021 on his way back from Lagos where he had gone to buy goods for his trade. He was taken to Abuja office of the State Security Services where he was detained and subsequently moved to the military detention facility on the 23rd September 2021 according to an affidavit by the State Security Services. The federal government has failed to charge him to court and has not allowed his lawyers or family members to visit him till date. The state security services also confiscated all his goods worth over 60 million Naira which he was bringing into Onitsha from Lagos.
“Ogbonna Christian Ndubisi was arrested amidst serious beating by a combined team of SSS and Police on the 20th August 2022 at about 2:30am from his house at No.29 Ukwuagor Road, Abakpa near Ahia 4, Enugu State. His wife was not spared in the beating. He was transferred to the Abuja office of the State Security Services and nobody has heard or seen him since then. It is important to note that all the victims here are all of Igbo extraction except for Joy Godwin Udoh whose mother is Igbo and Uket Godwin both of whom are from Akwa-Ibom State and with close affinity with the Igbos.
“The offences of these men and woman are that they are members of IPOB or close Associates of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. None of these victims of enforced disappearance have received anything like a trial since their arrests. None of them has ever been allowed to contact their lawyers or family and all judicial efforts made to see them or get them released has been illegally thwarted and frustrated.
“These victims are just a fraction of the number of persons who were arrested and disappeared as so many very gory and scary reports of extrajudicial execution, murder in the cruellest manner such as by suffocation, starvation and or summary execution abound.
“We sincerely urge you gentlemen of the press to intervene by interrogating the federal government of Nigeria on the where about of these individuals.
“We urge you to query the federal government as to why it has refused to charge them to court or where charged why they have failed to produce them in court to face their trial.
“We urge your Excellency to ask why the federal government has not allowed these victims to meet with their lawyers and or family since from the time of their arrest to date even when there is a valid and subsisting court order in some cases.
“We urge you to find out from the federal government by what law it detained civilians in a military detention even when these civilian victims are not and have never been military personnel of any sort.
“At the response of the federal government to these issues and questions, you will have no choice but come to the irresistible conclusions that the action of the federal government using their Army and state security service constitutes a gross violation of all know local and international laws and protocols to which Nigeria claims to subscribe to.
“The federal government and its security and military agencies’ actions under the circumstances in review offend civilization and democracy in its entire ramification.
“Once a person is forced to disappear, such a person loses the protection of the law. The persons under this unlawful detention are purely under the state of nature and in these days of trading in human parts, one cannot tell if they have been balkanized and sold in bits and pieces”