The most decorated police officer in the history of the Nigeria Police, DCP Abba Kyari, is in Owerri, Imo State, with the directive to fish out and arrest members of the Eastern Security Network, a group linked to IPOB. In the last three weeks, there have been several reported cases of clashes between the ESN and the national security agencies which on some occasions led to loss of lives and properties.
A source informed News Echo that the essence of Kyari’s mission to Owerri was to “ensure that ESN does not grow in size and strength like Boko Haram in the North or start replicating in the South East what OPC and the militants did in the South West and South – South respectively. You know, if the ESN gains ground and begin to engage the security forces fire –for – fire, it will be too much for the security agencies to contend with. So, you know the capacity and antecedent of Kyari in the area of undercover operations”.
However, investigation has pointed out that other intervening factors have combined to making Kyari’s assignment a difficult mission. The revelation indicates that law abiding members of the public are being arrested and arraigned as ESN and IPOB members.
According to it, “The International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law is strongly calling for immediate discharge and acquittal of those paraded recently by the Nigerian Army, 82 Division in Enugu and its satellite formations: the 34 Brigade, Owerri and the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, to be released unconditionally. The army must also release about 30 other members of the public abducted and currently languishing in cells numbering over 30. For the nine abductees arraigned and remanded, charges against them must be withdrawn and they must be discharged and acquitted. Citizens numbering over 33 were paraded by the Nigerian Army and labeled “IPOB/ESN terrorists and murderers who recently killed soldiers and innocent civilians in Orlu”.
The statement continued, “On the contrary, investigations carried out by Intersociety clearly shows that most, if not all the paraded citizens are innocent and defenseless citizens abducted in their homes, church sanctuaries and other quiet places in Orlu, Njaba, Orsu and Oru East Local Government Areas of Imo State and some parts of Ihiala and Nnewi South Local Government Areas of Anambra State. They include Christian clerics of the African Instituted Churches – a branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and some mentally challenged citizens. The abducted and paraded included nine persons secretly arraigned last week Friday, 19th Feb 2021 at the Magistrate Court 16 in Owerri, Imo State, labeled “murderers of soldiers in Orlu” and remanded in Prison or Correctional custody”.
The release went on to give a detailed account of the identities of those arrested and arraigned. It said, “Among the mentally challenged persons abducted, paraded, arraigned and remanded in Prison or Correctional custody are Citizens Amuche Oguaju and Ambrose Ibeanuka. Citizen Oguaju was a 200 Level Zoology Student of the Imo State University, Owerri who dropped out because of his mental illness. He was subsequently admitted at a Psychiatric Hospital in Owerri from where he was referred to a spiritual healing center run by the House of Prayer International Covenant Church in Okporo-Orlu where he was responding to treatment before his abduction by soldiers in the early morning of on 22nd Jan 2021.
Citizen Ibeanuka, on his part, is an elderly man in his seventies and a mentally challenged person. He was also receiving treatment at the same House of Prayer International Covenant Church before he was abducted same date and time by soldiers. Also abducted same day at the church were the presiding priest, Pastor Paulinus Izuchukwu Offor and seven others; namely: Johnson Francis, Izuchukwu Osuzuigbo, Chigozie Onyekaigwe, Obi Nzubechukwu Daniel, Chukwudi Chukwubueze, Ezenwa Chisindi and Emmanuel Chiadi. Citizen Johnson Francis and six others were later granted bail at the Imo State CID”.
It must be pointed out that every available information points to the fact that Kyari is doing everything professionally possible to ensure that those arrested by his team are indeed members of the ESN guards. Meanwhile, other security agencies seem not to be in agreement with the style of Kyari. As a source explained it, “all that they are doing (as explained above) is to arrest anybody anywhere and label such person as a member of the ESN or IPOB. This is wrong. The security forces must sit down and do their job thoroughly. We learnt that Kyari is in town.
We welcome him because we have his confidence based on his record. We are aware of his well articulated jobs including arrest of Nigeria’s most notorious kidnap kingpin billionaire kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwaumadike aka Evans in Lagos State and his gang members. He also led the squad that arrested the killers of former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Air Marshal Alex Badeh ‘rtd’ along Keffi-Gitata Kaduna Road. Of course, he captured the deadly Kidnapper, Henry Chibueze aka “Vampire” in Owerri, Imo State and his gang members. But we are against what the other security operatives are doing here in Orlu and some other places in the South East”.
It will be recalled that Orlu Local Government Area, was recently in turmoil as military men allegedly went on rampage, killing several civilians in revenge for their dead colleagues. Investigation said that a body, Eastern Security Network (ESN) said to be linked to IPOB sponsored by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu engaged the military in a bloody confrontation. The crisis worsened and ultimately some shops, business centres and houses were burnt. On this account, the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma invited the military to quench the crisis.