The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, said the Nigerian security agencies have proved themselves to be official enemies of democracy in Nigeria because they have joined criminal entities to wage war against the people.
The group also said that the constant issuance of threats and use of same by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army and SSS against unarmed and defenseless Nigerians is an indication of how the professional ethics of the trio decayed over the years.
In a statement issued on August 4th, 2019 signed by Lawyers Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program, Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance Program, Catherine Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program, Evangeline Chidinma Udegbunam, Head of Campaign & Publicity Dept and Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies and Board Chair of Intersociety; the group said it is saddening how the security agencies have turned against the people.
It said apart from joining hands to destroy the country’s democracy, the trio, till date, has no answers to the country’s unchecked killings and property crimes and destructions. ‘’What truly remains of the trio is reactive policing or securitization or medicine after death security approaches.
‘’Issues of preventive, proactive, electronic and intelligence policing or securitization are no longer locatable anywhere in the confines of the trio; except chasing, threatening, corking and shooting innocent and defenseless Nigerians with reckless abandon; while at the same time red-carpeting, celebrating and shielding the criminal Nigerians and their entities’’.
Intersociety said that not less than six Catholic Priests have been targeted and shot dead by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and other marksman entities in Benue, Enugu, Anambra and Delta States in less than three years.
According to the group apart from the recent abduction and killing by Fulani Jihadists of Rev Father Clement Ugwu of Enugu Catholic Diocese in March 2019, and Rev Father Paul Offu of St James Greater Catholic Church, Enugu State on 1st August 2019; the Catholic Church in Nigeria have also lost not less than four Priests mostly to Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen between late 2016 and beginning of August 2019; with not less than ten others kidnapped or abducted.
‘’While Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha were gruesomely murdered by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, alongside seventeen other worshippers on 25th April 2018 in Benue State, three Catholic priests (Fathers Dim, Ezeokana and Chukwuemeka) returning from Nsukka to Onitsha and Nnewi were attacked by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in Sept 2016. The attack took place along Nkpologwu-Nimbo Road in Enugu State. One of them later died.
‘’On a separate place the same Monday 26th September, 2016, a Vincentian priest whose name was not given was also kidnapped with his brother along Abuja Lokoja express way. Another Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ugwu had earlier been kidnapped on August 9, 2014 along Ugwuogo-Nike-Opi Road, Nsukka. Few weeks back, a senior seminarian was killed in cold blooded in Attakwu, Enugu State. Five pastors of the Enoch Adeboye owned RCCG; all Igbo citizens were abducted on Friday, 2nd August 2019, but later freed; with identities of their abductors and offense crimes shrouded in secrecy and controversy by the Police. The five Igbo-pastors are: Deaconess Ibelegbo Chidinma, Chidozie Eluwa, Chiemela Iroha, Okoro Ohowukwe and Ndubuisi Owuabueze.
‘’In November 2018, four Catholic Priests were kidnapped in Delta State. They were identified as Rev Frs Victor Adigboluja of the Ijebu Ode diocese; Anthony Otegbola, Abeokuta Diocese; Joseph Ediae, Benin Archdiocese; and Emmanuel Obadjere, Warri Diocese.
‘’They were abducted by suspected Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen between Agbor and Umutu in Ukwani Local Government Area of Delta State. In Jan 2019, another Catholic Priest, Rev Fr Isaac Agabi was abducted along Auchi-Igarra Road in Edo State. He was the priest in charge of Holy Name Catholic Church, Ikpeshi. In Dec 2018, two Catholic Priests were abducted by gunmen suspected to be Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. The two Priests were of St Teresa’s Catholic Church Umueze Anam in Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State. The source said the priests were abducted at Umuleri while returning from an official function’’.
The statement called on the Nigerian Government to direct its DG of SSS to release detained Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore and others like him already arrested or to be arrested. ‘’It is sad that the same Government that is sponsoring by proxy the anti-Amnesty Int’l protests could turn around to declare dissenting street protesters as ‘persona non gratae’ in Nigeria and their protests as ‘terrorism’ or ‘treason’.