Awkuzu slaughter slab harbours #EndSARS ghost, stays abode of horror

IKENNA OBIANERI writes on the allegations of extra-judicial killings levelled towards some officers of the Nigeria Police in Anambra State and likewise the outcries of human rights teams, residents, victims and their family, who’re demanding  equity, and justice within the investigations

ANAMBRA State has bled within the palms of daredevil hoodlums who’ve been unleashing all method of mayhem on public services.  Previously three weeks, a sequence of assaults carried out on police stations have left no fewer than 24 individuals lifeless, together with civilians and law enforcement officials.

The state, other than grappling with these ‘faceless’ hoodlums, has additionally been trending in the previous couple of days on account of allegations of extra-judicial killings, organ harvesting, and torturing levelled towards some law enforcement officials within the state police command.

This follows allegations printed by a web-based platform, Gistlover, which recognized one CSP Patrick Agbazue, the officer-in-charge of the Fast Response Squad, Awkuzu, within the state command as being a member of a syndicate concerned within the alleged kidnappings, torture, and homicide of residents.

Additionally fingered had been an officer of Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo-Dunukofia,  and an inspector, who’s connected to the RRS within the state, in addition to some distinguished figures within the state.

The Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo, controls Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi States police instructions, and it’s positioned on the Onitsha-Awka Expressway, the identical axis because the dreaded Awkuzu Police Station. Each formations are only some kilometres away from one another. Anybody visiting there for the primary time would suppose it’s a “automobile mart” due to the heavy presence of vehicles parked within the area every day, displaying how busy that place is.

Earlier than these allegations grew to become the topic of public discourse as soon as once more, there have been reported circumstances of victims allegedly tortured to loss of life, lacking, or killed within the dreaded Awkuzu RRS Police Command, also called the State Legal Investigation Division Annex, Awkuzu, which was the infamous SARS Awkuzu, the place quite a few human rights atrocities had been documented.

After it was transformed to SCID Annex, the atrocities of the inglorious days of the infamous SARS had been mentioned to have continued to be dedicated at that focus camp. This made residents of the state nickname the police facility “The Awkuzu Slaughter Slab,” the place no suspect goes in and comes out the identical, at most lifeless.

The Awkuzu can be considered the deadliest unit of SARS in Nigeria due to the experiences and eyewitness accounts of a number of victims and indigenes of the communities who had been terrorised and dehumanised by operatives.

The allegations towards these indicted officers and others should not new, as they’ve turn into a recurring theme; it’s simply that the present ones got here with extra damning information and proof from insider sources who’re believed to have fallen out of favour with the alleged syndicate.

This newest improvement has been receiving widespread condemnations and outcries within the state as residents and numerous teams have expressed critical concern, particularly concerning the delicate nature of the matter.

They, subsequently, known as for thorough investigations on the matter, insisting that it not be swept beneath the rug like different earlier ones.

Aside from the alleged extrajudicial killings, hacking right into a suspect’s checking account and withdrawing the suspect’s cash allegedly grew to become the pastime of those indicted law enforcement officials. They’re additionally accused of allegedly killing suspects of their custody and taking their cash.

One of the vital current occurrences of those extra-judicial killings was the alleged loss of life of an accused teenager, Uchenna Okafor, who allegedly died on the Awkuzu SCID detention centre in December 2022, three days after he was arrested over alleged “two preventing.” To this point, the circumstances of his loss of life haven’t been unravelled.

The information of Uchenna’s loss of life on the police facility was made identified by  a Twitter consumer earlier than the state police command, by its spokesman, Tochukwu Ikenga, reacted and mentioned {the teenager} died when “he fell down after hitting his head on the wall.”

One other notable sufferer was the cousin of a well-liked entertainer, Mind Jotter, whose cousin was mentioned to have additionally fallen sufferer to those law enforcement officials.

Following this improvement, the Inspector-Basic of Police, Usman Baba, on Saturday introduced the organising of a particular investigation panel to research the weighty allegations towards these senior law enforcement officials, a panel that has commenced a full-scale investigation, in response to an announcement launched by the Pressure Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, on Tuesday.

Adejobi acknowledged that the investigators had moved to the scene and websites for an on-site evaluation and rapidly identified that the indicted officers had been by no means arrested or detained. He assured that the Anambra RRS, Awkuzu, would undoubtedly be reorganised and sanitised to go well with the current ideologies and administrative kinds of the Pressure management in conformity with worldwide finest practices.

However the Pressure spokesman didn’t state when and the place the investigation panel can be sitting, whether or not in Anambra or Abuja, and didn’t additionally state whether or not victims or relations of those circumstances can be invited to testify.

The state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, whereas commending the police boss for organising the particular investigation panel, urged members of the general public to be affected person whereas awaiting the result of the investigations, which is predicted soonest.

One of many victims of the police brutality, Chisom Uche, expressed delight within the improvement, including that he appeared ahead to the panel inviting him and different victims or relations of victims who’ve suffered extra-judicial killings within the state to testify quickly.

Uche, a resident of Onitsha, mentioned he was a type of who testified on the #EndSARS panel, and up till now, he and members of his household have but to obtain any beneficial response.

He mentioned, “I used to be additionally a sufferer of police brutality in Awkuzu RRS. I had gone to choose up my elder brother, who got here again from overseas in 2018, and as we had been driving residence, we met some law enforcement officials who stopped us at Nkwelle Junction, alongside the Onitsha-Nteje-Awka Expressway.

“After we launched ourselves, they weren’t glad. They insisted we comply with them to the station. Two of them, closely armed, jumped into our car and took us to the Awkwuzu Police Station, the place we had been unlawfully detained and stripped of all the pieces we had, together with arduous currencies.

“We had been stored in an underground cell on the Awkuzu police station. We had been significantly tortured for 3 days; our cellphones had been seized, and our relations couldn’t attain us. It was a horrible second for us.

“If not for luck and the massive cash they collected from us and from our account, we’d have been killed. It’s a lengthy story. It’s a good factor that the IG has arrange a panel of inquiry to research the atrocities of those law enforcement officials, and I’ll file my petition.”

One other sufferer, a public servant who recognized himself as Gilbert Obinwa, a local of Kopo neighborhood in Ekwulobia, Aguata Native Authorities Space of Anambra State, recounted his ordeal, saying that his 22-year-old son, collectively along with his two buddies, was taken by some law enforcement officials from Awkuzu in April 2020, and until date, that they had not seen these kids.

Ndukka Ekene, a resident of Ogidi in Idemili North LGA, mentioned, “Three days after some law enforcement officials arrested my junior brother and took him to Awkuzu SARS in 2022 over trumped-up costs, we visited the place and we had been instructed that he had died. We insisted they supply the corpse, however they refused. It was after we concerned our lawyer and different those who they went and introduced the corpse of an 80-year-old man.

“To this point, we haven’t seen our brother or his mentioned corpse. It’s a good factor that this investigation is coming, and it’s concerning the first time such will likely be occurring. We hope it is going to be an open panel sitting in Anambra in order to afford victims of the state of affairs the chance to testify. If the panel doesn’t hear from victims, then the essence would have been defeated. This is a chance to right the errors within the police system of this state.”

The Press Secretary to the Anambra State governor, Christian Aburime, when contacted on the newest improvement, mentioned the state authorities would subject an announcement on the matter quickly.

When requested concerning the mode of operation to be adopted by the IG investigation panel, each Adejobi and Ikenga didn’t reply.

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