Lawyer to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Ifeanyi Ejiofor, whose house in Oraifite, Anambra State was raided and razed by the police on December 2, has vowed to remain resolute in defending the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and all IPOB members in courts, even in the face of endless intimidations and onslaughts launched at him.
Ejiofor, who spoke to Sunday Sun from hiding, expressed shock at the bloodletting that was unleashed on him by security operatives and vowed to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. Excerpt.
Did you in any way foresee the carnage that befell you and your community on December 2, 2019?
Firstly, I never in my wildest imagination foresaw the happening of the bloodletting, carnage and murderous invasion of my home by the police aided by soldiers of Fulani extraction. I held unto the above view because the burial of my late brother (Rev. Louis Chukwukpelum Ejiofor ) was resoundingly peaceful and successfully concluded. In fact, the thanksgiving service which took place on the 1st day of December 2019, conclusively brought to an end all ceremonies and activities in connection with the burial. And I would have been on my way back to my base. Until I received a call from my elder brother alerting me of the police siege to my home. I am not a troublesome fellow, neither do I get involved in things that would have ordinarily lead to the barbaric and sacrilegious acts that took place in my home on the 2nd day of December 2019.
How have you coped since after that disturbing incident?
I was shocked and still being shocked beyond marrow that some people ostensibly led by a popular oil magnate from Oraifite (name withheld by us) who is the mastermind of the carnage, should embark upon such a deadly mission to eliminate me for no reason. Because, the manner of the execution of the deadly assignment by the well-paid and vulnerable police personnel from Anambra State command, underscored the simple fact that they are not in my home ab initio to perform police duty, but rather there to hide under the police uniforms to do the unthinkable. But in all, I still return all glory to the God Almighty for keeping me alive among the living today. If I was around at the time of this bloody invasion, I would naturally but innocently have attempted to find out from them why they are shooting in my home, and that would have been my end on the surface of this earth. I still live today by the special grace of God who has continued to keep and sustain me.
Are there memorable lessons you’ve learnt from that incident? And how has that changed you?
The only lesson I have learned from this incident is that I shall not change my path of righteousness in all my relationships with people. I have always been guided by many important teachings from the Holy Bible which had to remain the source of my strength. I shall always remain close to God, going forward. Because the speed at which the Anambra state police command wanted to turn the truth of the incident on its head was demystified by the unassailable emerged facts that truly raised a number of questions on the police’s actual mission to my house, which had all remained unanswered till date. For instance, the police stormed my home between the hours of 5:00 a.m to 6:00 a.m in the morning of 2nd day of December 2019. During this strange siege, I was able to speak with the leader of the team and assured him of my availability in his office between 10:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m. During the conversation that led to this appointment, he never mentioned to me that I was being investigated of any allegation throughout the discussion, rather he maintained that a ward in my home was involved in a local conflict. Because of my genuine belief in the rule of law and respect for constituted authority, I quickly called off my programme for the day and raced to my home. Unknown to me that a spy has been stationed at an undisclosed location to keep them informed of my return. And because of the seriousness, I attached to that appointment, which ultimately worked to save my life, I never spent up to five minutes in my house before racing out to keep to the appointment with the police. This respect for constituted authority was the magic that kept me alive till date. Otherwise, how can one explain that a lawyer in my class who has just finished the burial ceremony of his elder brother will witness the massive deployment of SARS operatives, akin to deployment obtainable in a war zone, who came to open fire at every living objects in my house, including goat and every other animal on sight? This is apart from four persons instantly gunned down by the police in their prime. It is highly unthinkable and leaves a lot to ponder upon.
We understand that you’ve sued the police to court, and further petitioned the NASS. Which other action have you taken since after the invasion?
I have carefully petitioned notable foreign governments and institutions like the United States of America Embassy, United Kingdom, United Nations, European Unions, Amnesty International, and others who are too numerous to be mentioned here, including the Police Service Commission, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Anambra State governor. Today, some of them have formally acknowledged the receipt of our petitions and have embarked on their discrete investigations of our complaints. Amnesty International has taken a step further by formally writing the Inspector General of Police to set up an independent and unbiased inquiry into the murderous attack on my home. I am very delighted today that the truths of what happened in my home and roles played by the hired security agencies involved in the carnage/ heinous crime, including the chief mastermind (name withheld by us) are now in the open. The truth can no longer be hidden again. As part of their strategy to suppress the facts and truths of the bloodletting in my peaceful/mourning homes, and the ignoble roles played by the police specifically hired to perpetuate the mayhem, the Anambra State Police Command quickly issued a public notice and declared me wanted. Thank God that the court order granted on the 13th day of December 2019 has put that to rest particularly against the recent volte-face by the government at the centre to ensure that all court orders are now obeyed. From the credible information available to me, the Commissioner of Police Anambra State has directed his subordinates to shoot me on sight anywhere I am sighted without making any form to contact with me. Though the international community has equally been alerted about this recent murderous directive, the Commissioner of Police should be told that my God is bigger than his evil plans. I am innocent and shall fight to ensure that justice is done in this case. In doing that I shall fear nobody because I am living today by the grace of God whom alone I own all the glory. The matter came up last Friday in the Federal High Court Port Harcourt, but due to the bureaucratic bottleneck, the case file could not be transmitted to the vacation court in Port Harcourt. From every indication, a new date for the hearing will be communicated to all parties, as to the next venue too. But the order of court directing that status quo be maintained by all parties and consequently stopping in effect my arrest by any security agency still subsist pending the time the originating motion is heard and determined upon. It’s interesting to point that the police and every other security agency joined as respondents in the suit have all been served with the originating motion accompanied with a court order and a letter introducing the court order as directed by the court. None of the security agents including the police has filed any response to our application to date despite being timeously served with all the originating court processes.
Who do you suspect is behind your ordeal, and why do you think they are after you?
I have no doubt whatsoever that a popular oil billionaire from Oraifite (name withheld by us) embarked upon this failed mission to kill me so that he will use the killing to curry favour from the Establishment (the Federal Government of Nigeria). So that a space will be offered him for killing the troubling and stubborn IPOB lawyer. Otherwise, how can one explain the snail pace manner in which the government is handling the crime against humanity committed in my home by the police? Because this oil billionaire from Oraifite is all over the places in Abuja making possible contacts that will bury the case. My entire family, as well as many more families in my village that were completely burnt down by the invading police personnel, are still homeless to date. The corpse of innocent unarmed civilians murdered in their prime by assailants in police uniform during this murderous invasion of my home is still crying for justice. Not even a word has been heard from the government despite the avalanche of well-detailed petitions to them on the heinous activities in my home. Only last Thursday, this oil billionaire intercepted a team of police personnel purportedly on inspection of the damage in my home on investigation and, cornered them to the venue of Oraifite Improvement Union’s December 26th meeting, and started making a mockery of the carnage in my home, right in front of them. This billionaire boasted that Buhari specifically asked the officers to work directly with him on their arrival for the investigation and requested people to participate in hosting them in his house later in the night. As a lawyer who is well familiar with the dictates of the law, I am not oblivious of the legal consequences of the bloodletting, killings, carnage and massive destruction that took place in my home, that actually informed my petitions to foreign governments and institutions to ensure an unbiased investigation into the matter. In a saner clime, this oraifite billionaire should be cooling off in custody while providing answers to a number of teething questions raised by his involvement which is now in the public domain. But be assured, that Justice shall run its full course in this case, even if it will entail me paying visits to the heads of foreign governments I would do that.
Would this incident affect your willingness and preparedness to continue your stoic defense of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and his members?
My representation of Nnamdi Kanu and all IPOB members in courts is total. I cannot be intimidated into abdicating this legal undertaking. The simple reason is that IPOB members are exercising their rights as constitutionally empowered, and they have at all times acted within the confines of the law in the exercise of these rights. They are non-violent group and do not carry any form of arms in their civil agitation for the independent state of Biafra. Even the political terrorist tag on them has been technically defeated by my humble self in all courts. Mention any charge that was ever filed against the members of IPOB by the government which was not all struck out at the no-case submission stage, for those that got to that stage. I have maintained a robust edge over the Establishment in court over all political instigated matters they had filed against IPOB and has won in all. I cannot be deterred or stop by any mortal from rendering my professional services to IPOB which has always been done within the precincts of my professional ethics. Any moment from now, the Court of Appeal will most probably bury the issue of terrorist tag on the IPOB as every process incidental to this judgement on appeal has been exchanged. The way the order proscribing IPOB was secured through the backdoor by the government, will be the same way it will cease to exist in the coming days. You cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand, it must fail, and fail woefully.