Residents of S/East Cry Out: We’re Bleeding, Hiding, and Living in Fear After 35 Unidentified Corpses Are Dumped In FMC Owerri

The country’s south-eastern region is in shambles. Since the end of the civil war in 1970, there have been no such killings in the east. Residents are picked up from their houses and slain by both known and unknown gunmen, while numbers of unidentified corpses are placed in mortuaries on a daily basis. As indiscriminate arrests of innocent persons continue, residents are living in fear, and victims’ families are pleading for justice. In the region, it is a story of sadness, tears, and blood. In Abia, a widow, Edith Amadi, 46, described how her son, Onyebuchi Anthony Amadi, 27, and nephew, Obinna Onyebuchi Egekwu, 30, were allegedly killed by security forces during an attack on the State CID by unknown gunmen. The widow, who is from Oforola in Imo State’s Owerri West Local Government Area, lost her spouse in 2009. She accused the Nigerian Army of murdering her son and others in cold blood, claiming that her son, nephew, and another youngster simply named as “Onye Photo” (photography) were arrested in their family house in Ugwunchara, Umuahia, hours after the incident. The mother stated that her son and the other victims who were snatched away from their family home were not members of the group of unknown gunmen who supposedly stormed the police station, and she questioned the justification for their extra-judicial murders. According to a special report signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, and Chidimma Udegbunam of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, the rights group was in possession of graphic details of how soldiers, police, and other Nigerian security operatives currently deployed in the East abducted and allegedly killed innocent citizens.

According to the report, “these have resulted in not less than 170 open killings, secret abduction and permanent disappearance of not less than 550, and general arrest/abduction of not less than 2100.” The arrested/abducted are currently being imprisoned in various open and secret dungeons situated within and outside the East, including Makurdi Prisons in Benue State, where over 300 were recently discovered to have been transported and maintained. Others include conventional and unorthodox military, police, and SSS prison facilities in Abuja, Niger State, and other unknown northern locations. They are also in Owerri, Awka, Port Harcourt, and Abakiliki State CIDs, as well as prisons or correctional facilities such as Owerri Prisons, which contain over 130 people, including 107 who were remanded a few days ago. “Shockingly, not less than 30 open and secret killings by soldiers and police have occurred in the last one week, from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th May 2021, with the majority taking place in Imo State, where scores of corpses have been freshly traced to the mortuaries of the Government Medical Centers. The deceased were all victims of extra-judicial killings, including innocent civilians who were “killed after the act” at crime scenes and wrongly described as brave. The findings shown above apply to the first five months of 2021, or January to May 2021.

“Intersociety examined and discovered the following: That is, since January 2021, military, police, and other security personnel have openly shot and murdered over 170 people in the two regions, at least 145 of them are innocent residents or victims of extrajudicial executions, while 25 others are combatively involved. That is, the named security agencies have abducted over 2100 people and falsely labeled over 90% of them as “ESN hoodlums/terrorists,” with over 300 recently dumped in faraway Makurdi Prisons in Benue State, over 70 dumped at Awka State CID, and over 107 others recently remanded in Owerri Prisons following “mobile court” mumbo jumbo arraignment. “That: military were responsible for the majority of abductions and disappearances, including at least 550 people who have gone missing or are suspected of being victims of unlawful executions since January 2021. That is, more than 90% of individuals paraded by military and police as “ESN hoodlums/terrorists” are innocent, as are more than 90% of the deceased bodies labeled “ESN hoodlums killed in gun duel with security forces.” They are victims of ‘after-the-fact’ crime scene shootings and killings, they claim. They did, however, add, “The six innocent individuals of Imo State who were wrongfully imprisoned and erroneously identified by the Imo State Command have been released.” Five of the six were released late last night, June 3rd, 2021, from the Imo State CID Headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Headquarters or Prisons. Smith Amadikwa, Casmir Ugbor, Ojukwu Ukonu, Emeka Mbonu, and Engineer Ikechukwu Okomah are the five freshly released innocent persons. They were wrongfully detained on May 12th, 13th, 14th, 13th, and 19th, 2021, and publicly paraded on May 28th, 2021, and erroneously dubbed “ESN hoodlums that attacked Imo State Correctional/Prisons Headquarters and others.”

In response to the recent spate of insecurity in the region, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna, bemoaned the reckless and covert dumping of 35 unidentified corpses in the Federal Medical Centre mortuary in Owerri within a few days. The cleric was also concerned that 106 young men detained in various regions for alleged treasonable crimes were being held in Owerri Correctional Facility. Archbishop Obinna said in a statement titled “Stop the killings, Convoke a cease fire meeting, Save Imo State; A charge to Governor Hope Uzodimma and all stakeholders” that “last year, right about this time, I charged Governor Hope Uzodimma and all stakeholders.” “Now, our very lives are at jeopardy, as armed men, both officially and unofficially, are killing Imo people in broad daylight and at night. People in Imo are fleeing from both known and unknown gunmen. There is apprehension in the air and on the ground. People in Imo are hiding and living in fear. Reports of indiscriminate arrests and deaths, either as a show of power or in apparent reprisal, continue to circulate. On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, I personally went to the Federal Correctional Centre in Owerri to observe the 106 young guys detained from various areas, accused and charged collectively in court for felony planning. They have yet to be publicly released. “On Thursday, June 3, 2021, I paid a visit to the mortuary at Owerri Federal Medical Centre. As I painfully surveyed the 35 corpses, stark naked on the bare floor, dumped there in the last few days, victims of runaway killers, military, police, and unknown gunmen, with no identification on them, I reflected on the many others who have been kidnapped, taken to unknown locations, killed, and even butchered, as we continue to hear. Imo is in pain. “On behalf of those who have already been killed, and more importantly, on behalf of those who are still alive and are being threatened with brutal death on a daily basis, I charge Governor Hope Uzodimma, as the Chief Security Officer for the people of Imo, to step up and stop the killings by whoever is responsible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.