From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) has said that Nigeria Army allegedly arrested and detained over 400 Obigbo residents in Rivers state, all Christians and mostly Igbo citizens.
The human rights group said out of the 400 or more, 150 have been discovered to be held indefinitely and incommunicado in secret army and police dungeons located in Abuja, FCT, without court trial.
Intersociety Chairman Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi said in a statement that 52 defenceless Obigbo residents, all Judeo-Christian Igbos, were recently rescued and their release secured through three different courts and four processes in Niger State.
‘The 52 rescued abductees exclude three that died from torture in soldiers’ captivity. While one died on the road during their secret and night long transportation from Obigbo-to-Obinze (Army Barracks)-Abuja, two others died in secret Army detention custodies in Niger State,’ he alleged.
‘It was further discovered that most of the abductees were transported by road while others including elderly ones among them were airlifted through the local wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State and the Sam Mbakwe Air Port in Imo State.
‘One major attribute of the dreaded Decree 2 now being used clandestinely by the Lt Gen Buratai led Nigerian Army is the extrajudicial transfer and incarceration of citizens abducted by Army at Prison facilities without recourse to Court orders or remands.
‘In other words, citizens abducted by soldiers are now sent directly to Prisons from military custodies on orders of the Army High Commands including the COAS or the C-in-C. This is one of the dreaded features of the obnoxious Decree 2 now in clandestine practice in the country.
‘The Nigerian Army and the Government of Nigeria must, as a matter of extreme urgency, release the remaining 348 Obigbo abductees including 150 presently being held incommunicado since two months in Abuja and secret military and spy police detention facilities in other parts of the North.
‘The Army must also account for the death of three abductees (late Citizens Kingsley Iwuagwu, Okechukwu Anyanwu and Chijioke). The UN, EU, US, UK, Canada and others are hereby called upon to prevail on the Nigerian authorities to retrace its steps before it plunges the country into crises of unquenchable proportion.
‘The attention of the ICC and internationally respected rights bodies and personalities are also drawn,’ Umeagbalasi stated.