Defenseless women in Eastern Nigeria belonging to Judeo-Christian Igbo Ethnic Nationality, mostly in their non-menopausal age brackets have continued to bear the brunt of the Nigerian Military, Police and DSS conduct atrocities against members of defenseless civilian population in the Region in the past two years or Oct 2020 to Oct 2022.
Generally speaking, not less than 300 defenseless women have been arrested in connection with false “Biafra Membership” accusation and out of this number; no fewer than 150 were brutally tortured and degraded and others paid through the nose to secure their freedom Among the worst affected 150, scores have been momentarily or permanently disappeared by their Police, Army and DSS captors.
The dignity of womanhood and sanctity of life and civil liberties of the affected women have egregiously and grisly been targeted for abuse and violence by the country’s crude and barbarous security forces. This is to the extent of attacking and abducting women in labor and newly delivered nursing mothers.
Under the guise of “crushing Biafra agitation and agitators”, the authorities of the Nigerian Military, DSS and Police through their “crack squads” or “special forces” have had a field day, abusing defenseless women in Eastern Nigeria with utter alacrity or reckless abandon.
The litany of abuses and violations against women include falsely and baselessly labeling them “IPOB members” or “wives and mothers of IPOB/ESN members” or “cooks and nurses for IPOB members” or “mothers-in-law, sisters and girlfriends of IPOB members”, etc.
Others custodial atrocities against defenseless women are indiscriminate arrest, indecent assault, verbal abuses, stigmatization, trumped up charges or accusations, custodial and outside custodial sexual harassment, torture including deprivation of sanitary pads and toiletries, rape, de-virginity and other virginal abuses such as torturing detained pregnant females till they pass out. The rest are reckless use of prosecutorial vindictiveness leading to long detention (six months-18 months or more)
without trial, denial of custodial liberties such as being left under inhuman and degrading conditions, custodial extortion, and denial of access to family members, doctors and lawyers and lack of fair trial and fair hearing during trial, etc.
Aside the atrocities of the Military, DSS and Police against defenseless Eastern Judeo-Christian women, dozens, if not hundreds of them, especially those in the non-menopausal age bracket, have also in the past two years under become rape or sexual assault and lethal victims of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen protected by the Nigerian security forces in Eastern forests, bushes and farmlands. The operational crudity and brigandage adopted by the Nigerian Military (Army), Police and Spy Police are very strange and alien to Nigeria’s body of laws such as the Chapter Four (Fundamental Human Rights) of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and the Nigeria’s Treaty Laws or regional and international instruments including the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention Against Torture, etc.
Different Patterns Of Culpability By Army, Police And DSS
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has investigated and found the trio of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and the DSS to be behind the conduct atrocities against defenseless women in Eastern Nigeria. These they have perpetrated using different patterns. DSS and Army are notorious for denial of arrest and detention responsibility as in most cases when families go to them to enquire about the whereabouts of their ‘missing mothers’, denial of responsibility is usually the answer given to such families. This is a clear case of security abduction and disappearance without traces in the eyes of int’l law. The Police crack squads such as “IRT”, “STS” and “Anti Terrorism” Squads on the other hand are noted, in some
cases, for admitting arrest and detention responsibility but earned notoriety for torturing and holding such women for long period without trial spanning from six to eighteen months or above.
No Single Conviction Ever Secured
The purpose of arresting and detaining citizens for crimes is to secure conviction under the principle of fair trial and fair hearing or administrative or court discharge and acquittal with payment of adequate compensation if the accusation leading to the arrest and detention was made in fatal error or in bad faith. But in the case of the three security agencies mentioned especially the Police and the DSS which have civil prosecutorial powers, it is on record that no single conviction has been secured against any of the defenseless women wrongly arrested and spuriously accused of “Biafra Membership”. The three security agencies are now an outlaw by gravely detaining the defenseless and wrongly accused women beyond the constitutionally provided sixty days without bail in the case of
accusation bordering on committing capital offenses. The inability of the named security agencies to secure a single conviction is occasioned by spurious and trumped-up nature of accusations or charges leveled with no single evidence to sustain them at court trial. These, they have been doing using prosecutorial vindictiveness.
A Case Of Ifeyinwa Egole, Maria Ezediaru, Ngozi Umeadi And Others
Ifeyinwa Egole: She was running a successful maternity hospital when she was arrested by Police IRT from Tiger Base in Owerri on 13th Feb 2021. She was arrested alongside her husband, (Sabbath) Pastor Cletus Egole. After taken them to Police IRT Owerri Tiger Base, the arsonist police officers went back and threw petrol bombs on her maternity, her husband church and their family home and burned them to ashes. Not done, they located her husband’s immediate younger brother, Eugene and made him to disappear. Crime leveled against the Egoles was that their first son was a “member of IPOB”. Police also labeled them “IPOB family” and their Sabbath Church as “IPOB training camp”. The Police IRT under the Force Bureau of Intelligence also killed her husband (Cletus) in custody at Abattoir in Abuja in June 2021. The Police IRT had earlier lured her husband’s youngest brother, (Pentecostal) Pastor Chinedu Egole, based in Port Harcourt, to “come and bail his innocent eldest brother in Abuja”; only to be abducted and dumped at Imo Police IRT Tiger Base, Owerri when he was also killed in custody in May 2021 after his arrest in April 2021. Madam Ifeyinwa Egole remained in Police IRT custody in Abuja till June 2022 when she was granted court bail after spending 18 months in killer police dungeon where she was mercilessly tortured.
Maria Ezediaru: She was arrested by Police IRT in Owerri on 25th Feb 2021, tortured, degraded and held for a year and three months at Abattoir, Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja. She was granted court bail in May 2022. Madam Ezediaru, a respected mother of children, is a certified Nurse in Owerri where she was based before being arrested by the Police for “taking food and medicine to detained “IPOB members”.
Melody Anyanwu and Oluchi Mmadumere: They were 22 years of age when they were respectively arrested by Police IRT in Owerri, Imo State. Melody was arrested on 21st May 2021 alongside her father, 62 years-old Linus Anyanwu and Georgina Obiajuru, her fiance’s relative and they were thrown into detention where her father was tortured to death weeks after. Melody was accused of “being a girlfriend to a member of IPOB Member”. Her four months old pregnancy was lost as a result of torture inflicted on her. She was transferred to Abattoir, Abuja where she was detained without trial till 8th Oct 2021 or a period of six months.
Oluchi Onwumere, on her part, was arrested on 25th May 2021 and held for over five months or till 8th Oct 2021. She was accused of being a “girlfriend to an IPOB member (Joseph)” who was arrested unarmed and killed extra-judicially on 6th June 2021. Oluchi was forced to point her father’s house days after her arrest and moments after she did, the Police IRT squad threw petrol bombs and burned the house to ashes.
Ngozi Umeadi: She was a nursing mother with a newly delivered infant arrested by the Police on 16th Feb 2021 and detained at Police IRT, Abuja for a year and six months. Mrs. Umeadi, a respected mother of five and an Insurance worker was arrested and accused of “IPOB membership”. She was severely tortured and held without trial from 16th Feb 2021 to 24th Oct 2022 when she was granted court bail. These are just to mention but a few.
Remembering 53 Defenseless Obigbo Women: They were abducted by soldiers at night in Obigbo, Rivers State and taken to 34 Brigade, Obinze in Owerri, Imo State from the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army Port Harcourt from where they were bundled to secret Army detention facilities in Abuja, tortured and sexually assaulted and held for several months since Oct 2020. Their release followed discovery of the secret detention facilities where they were held and advocacy that followed. They are: Ijeoma Francisca, Pauline anyanwu, Grace Samson, Rebecca Ibeanusi, Ebere Uchechi, Emmanuella Oluchukwu, Okafor Uloma, Peace Amaka, Eberechi ibe, Ekene Silver, Grace Anwulika, Mba Asiegbu, Modestus Umeazie, Blessing Paulina, Joy Anozie, Amarachukwu Believe, Amadi Chinasa, Onwuka Uzoma, Chidinma Ukachukwu, Chioma Isaac, Peace Isaac, Ebube Aneto, Tina Emeka,, Stephanie Sunday, Mercy Chidinma, Diri Ibe, Mirabel Angel, Nwosu Abigail, Uwaoma Queen, Sarah Alo, Sandra Evoh, Cynthia Evoh, Bridget Dede, Erica Ndubisi, Oluchi Mercy, Uchendu
Priscilla,Goodness Kaima, Ujunwa Ndubisi, Mama Nnamdi, Ekpere Odinanka, Nwoji Mary, Rosemary Ogudike, Happiness Odinaka, Georgina Umunze, Ngozi White, Atumofe Charity, Atumofe Precious, Amaka Ebere, Clementina Obiageli, Success Florence, Dike Amara, Kelechi Orji and Ukaamaka Oluchi.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair
Chinwe Umeche Esquire, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program @Intersociety
Obianuju Joy Igboeli Esquire, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program @ Intersociety
Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, Head, Campaign and Publicity Department @ Intersocie
Contacts: Mobile Phone: +2348174090052, Email: email@example.com, Website: https://intersociety-ng.org