By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has demanded for thorough investigation and prosecution of the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, Aliyu Garba and other security personnel for claiming that 55 suspects arrested in connection with the killings in Effium communities escaped.
In a statement released to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja by the President of the association, Amb. Paschal Oluchukwu, also demanded that implicated after the investigation the said security officers should be dismissed.
The statement said Police’s claim of escape came hours after the said suspected militia were handed over to the State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba for their onward movement to the Police Command Headquarters in Abakaliki.
“That CP Garba and his men; DCOPs, DCP Chuku G.C and his orderly, Uche, 2i/c SWAT, Asp. Amaechi, Inspector Emmanuel Uko of the Anti-kidnapping Unit, Ebonyi State Police Command and other Police officers, and indeed, including the sister security agencies like some NSCDC officials involved in the said controversial escape of the arrested suspects and so indicted be made to face the full wrath of the law. They should all be diligently and uncompromisingly investigated and brought to book for their roles in the saga.
“Should they be found wanting in any way or form unbecoming of officers of the law, they should be summarily dismissed from service to serve as a deterrent to others who would wish to compromise or joke with the very serious issue of security which has become a nightmare in the present-day Nigeria.
“That the Police be made to re-arrest and produce the said 55 escapees for trial as we believe that the information which they would provide and the evidences they would deduce would help in bringing these limitless killings to an end (immediate and remote).”
While describing the development as “a soap opera” the association said it is outraged by the news reports that 55 out 66 hired militias, who were successfully arrested on Saturday Afternoon at Okpoduma village in Effium by the Nigerian military led by the GOC, Commanding 82 Division, Maj. Gen. Taoreen Lagbaja, escaped from the custody of the Nigeria Police Force.
“It is our firm discovery that the freeing of 55 out of the 66 hired militia by the said Garba and his men is undoubtedly in furtherance of the hidden agenda of the Command whose officers and men have been sternly accused by this platform and many others of undue compromise and other discriminatory cum unprofessional conducts since the violent killings broke out in Effium on January 22nd this year.
“As a matter of fact, we are most disturbed, like other sane minds eager to see the end of the carnage and wanton destruction of lives and property particularly of Ezza descents in Effium that the said arrest of the mercenaries could only happen when the GOC led his team in a very professionally coordinated operation.
“How can an entire security apparatchik including; the Police, DSS and the NSCDC in Ebonyi who were unable to unravel the mysterious supply of arms, charms and very deadly weapons in the ongoing senseless carnage needless to talk about making any reasonable arrest of the masterminds be at the heat of a controversy leading to the fleeing of 55 already-arrested suspects?
“We want to believe that it is either some conspiracy from top government officials we suspect have been funding this war were about to be busted by the said arrested and freed mercenaries or nothing, absolutely, nothing less!
“AESID is saddened that the various security outfits in the State in secret collaboration with the government appointees whose duty it is to ordinarily protect lives and property of citizens are poignantly being accused of doing the opposite of what the law and constitution requires of them.
“The fleeing of these arrested suspects have further confirmed our earlier fears and position that the warlords are merely acting a script written by some highly-placed individuals desecrating the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which they swore to uphold and defend.”
AESID however, commended the Presidency for sending Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo and Information Minister, Lai Mohammed among other dignitaries on a fact-finding mission to the troubled area.
“As we all await actions in fulfilling these words, this platform only hopes that the Umahi government which fiddles while Effium boils would act to help in bringing these horrible killings to an end, restore permanent peace and not sabotage efforts. May God heal and cleanse the land of Effium, and indeed, every crisis-ladden part of Ebonyi State!”