By ANDY NWOGHA, Abakaliki
The Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly (ECA), has called on the federal government to sack the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, CP Aliyu Garba, the state Director of DSS and the Commandant of the Nigeria Civil Defense Corps (NCDC) for allegedly aiding the escape of not less than 55 hired militias arrested Saturday afternoon in Okpoduma village of the war-torn Effium Community.
In a press statement on Sunday morning, signed by the Chairman of the Assembly, Mr. Aligwe Mathias Chukwuma and Secretary, Mr. Bernard Orichi, the Assembly noted with dismay how 55 out of the 66 arrested militias by the GOC, 82 Division, Enugu Maj. Gen. Taoreen Lagbaja and handed over to the police would be said to have escaped.
Full text of the press statement reads:
“The attention of Ezza-Effium Consultative Assembly has been drawn to the news of the escape from the police custody, a total of 55 out of 66 hired militias, who were nabbed with arms and charms in their hideouts on Saturday afternoon at Okpuduma village in Effium community, during a raid of the area by General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Maj.Gen. Taoreen Lagbaja and his men.
“We were reliably informed that Maj. Gen. Lagbaja who led the operation having successfully arrested the militias, handed them over to the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command, CP Aliyu Garba, for onward movement to the police headquarters, Abakaliki, for further investigation and prosecution.
“But, the already compromised personnel of Ebonyi Police Command under CP Garba, chose to do the bidding of their paymasters who are hellbent on exterminating Ezza-Effium people who constitute 80% of the population in Effium community, by freeing 55 of the militias handed over to them for prosecution by the GOC, 82 Division, Enugu.
“Indeed, it beats our imagination that despite the operation of the Nigeria Police, the DSS, the NCDC, in the state and in the area, no meaningful arrest of the hired militias were made until GOC came and arrested 66 out of which 55 were said to have escaped. This is unbelievable, except that all the security agencies; the Police, the DSS and the NCDC have been bought over by the sponsors of the carnage against our people who are using them to aid the annihilation of Ezza-Effium people in Effium Community.
“This further goes a long way to confirm various reports of these hired militias wearing military uniforms with the aid of the Police to launch attacks against our people, killing them in droves.
“It is against this backdrop that we wish to state our stance, on this ugly development, thus:
“1. The freeing of the 55 militias from the police custody has confirmed our earlier stance that the security agencies sent on a peace mission in Effium community had been badly compromised and are biased with the mission of annihilating our people from Effium Community.
“2. The arrest of the 66 militias working for Ufiom people and their sponsors on Saturday (out of which 55 of them were freed by compromised security agents), is an incontrovertible prove of our earlier position that militias from different parts of Nigeria had been hired and commissioned to exterminate Ezza-Effium people in Effium community by selfish individuals who place political and economic interests above human lives. This evil assignment that has been going-on since January this year in Effium community is already a near success as over 500 Ezza-Effium natives have been killed so far and their properties worth billions of Naira destroyed by the hired militias.
“3. We are constrained to further note that for the men of the Nigeria police to boldly indulge in such a broad day security sabotage in a joint security operation with other sister agencies and before the watchful eyes of Ebonyi State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, and other officials of the state government, is a clear confirmation that there is a hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob in the ongoing carnage in Effium community. This, also confirms the earlier alarm raised by this august body that the security agents have been aiding the killings of Ezza-Effium people since the tribal cleansing started in January.
“4.We, therefore, call on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to prevail on CP Aliyu Garba, to provide, within 48 hours, the 55 militias freed under his watch, so that they would be made to face trial for their involvement in the ongoing genocide against the peace loving people of Ezza-Effium in Effium community.
“5. We equally call on the IGP to redeploy CP Aliyu Garba to another state within 72 hours after he had given account of the hired militias he complacently freed in fulfilment of his paymasters’ bidding who are hell-bent on exterminating Ezza-Effium people.
“6. We also implore the IGP to ensure that every other person or group of persons that are directly or indirectly involved in this security sabotage, no matter how highly placed, are arrested and made to face the full weight of the law.
“7. We call on Governor David Umahi, to prove that he is not culpable in this evil plot to exterminate Ezza-Effium people in Effium community by ensuring that this security sabotage is not swept under the carpet. He should ensure that these 55 militias freed by the compromised personnel of Ebonyi State Police Command, are properly accounted for, by them, by possibly parading them for the public to see.
“8. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to transfer to other states, CP Garba, State Director of DSS, State Commandant, of Nigeria Civil Defense Corps, NCDC for being biased in their professional duties. We equally call on the Federal government to ensure that unbiased security agents are deployed to Effium community in order to end the persistent killings of unarmed Ezza-Effium people by hired militias.
“9.We invite the National Human Rights Commission; the Amnesty International and the whole world to note these questionable developments arising from the ongoing genocide against Ezza-Effium people in Effium community”.