… Seeks Buhari’s intervention
The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has raised an alarm over the disturbing state of violent siege, brutal killings, extortion and rape allegedly by the Ebubeagu Security outfit in some communities in Imo State and the inexplicable inaction by the State Government.
RULAAC in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma said it was seriously concerned about the rampant incidence of invasion and siege on communities in Orlu and environs and other communities in Imo state by a group of rampaging armed men said to be members of Ebebeagu Security Outfit allegedly set up by the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma to combat unknown gunmen.
Nwanguma disclosed that they operate in a convoy of vehicles allegedly provided by the state governor.
According to him, there were videos of several incidents depicting acts of savagery by those “bloodthirsty” armed men who mainly target young people adding that they carry out random arrests and invasive bodily checks on the young men for body marks and tattoos.
“Ones they see any mark on any young man, he’s automatically labeled IPOB and taken away and may never be seen again alive”, he added.
While pointing out that the Police Act 2020 prohibited profiling and arrest of persons based only on their looks, hairstyle or bodily marks, the Executive Director observed that there had been unverified but widespread reports of harvesting of body parts of some of the victims and burning of their remains beyond recognition.
“Some are allegedly brutalized and asked to transfer money in exchange for not being killed. Young women are allegedly seized, taken to bush paths or inside their vehicles and gang-raped and asked to thank God that they were not killed.
“In some cases, these Ebubeagu operatives are said to carry out joint operations with Police, Civil Defence, Military and DSS operatives. Some people arrested during such joint operations have been traced to the Tiger Base office of the IRT in Owerri Imo State. Torture, killing and extortion have been reported.
“Young men are arrested at random, taken into custody, tortured and disappeared. In few cases, lucky ones are extorted of huge sums of money and released. This siege has forced young people – mainly teenagers and youth to flee their communities leaving only old women and men and children.
“In a recent video that was shared with RULAAC from different sources, a family in Okporo Orlu was on 16th of June, 2022 allegedly invaded by the so called Ebubeagu Security outfit in search of youth in the village and they ended up shooting everybody in sight in the compound including the elderly men, leaving several of them in the pool of their blood. Why would somebody shoot elderly people in the name of security?
“Our preliminary findings revealed that a lot of militant elements without training were handed guns to go after the ‘unknown gunmen’. Their only qualifications may have been the fact that they have been shooting in the underworld. Else, nothing justifies or even rationalises the terror being unleashed on the civilian population in Orlu by men who are not by law authorized to bear assault rifles”, he said.
Nwanguma posited that the Security outfit were now feasting on soft targets, assaulting, intimidating and extorting them as unknown gunmen seemed to have gone underground, thereby making a bad situation worse!
He maintained that the activities of the security outfit had become too egregious and inhuman to condone and the outrage too loud to ignore.
“We are, therefore, concerned that despite the outcry by members of the affected communities, security agencies in the state appear helpless while the governor who set up this outfit and to whom alone they report stands aloof as a whole youth population in Orlu and environs are being decimated.
“Whatever may be the explanation for this siege cannot be in the interest of public safety and security.
“RULAAC calls on President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as the ultimate constitutional authority in control of security in Nigeria to intervene decisively in aid of these communities affected by insecurity” he concluded.
Photo: Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, RULAAC.
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