Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Wednesday called for the “immediate dismissal” of the Anambra State Police Commissioner, John Abang.
HURIWA, a prominent human rights group claimed that Abang’s “unguarded and irresponsible statement” warning Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, not to return to the country for his mother’s burial was responsible for the crisis between police and those it referred to as “street urchins” in Anambra State.
The group also condemned the persistent physical violence by the police against Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor which had led to the razing down of his housing assets, killing of his relatives in Oraifite area of the state.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA sympathized with families of “all those killed in the riot that ensued including the two police operatives reportedly burnt to death by riotous crowd who were displeased by the violence allegedly unleashed by the police on the premises of the legal representative of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).”
HURIWA described the invasion of the lawyer’s residence as provocative, illegal, despicable and a grave violation of Ejiofor’s constitutional rights to privacy.
Calling for immediate convocation of the Anambra State’s judicial commission of inquiry on the invasion of Ejiofor’s residence, the alleged killings by police of civilians and the alleged reprisal killing of police by some crowds, HURIWA expressed shock that the state Governor, Willie Obiano has not set up a probe panel till date.
The statement reads: “Honestly speaking, in as much as we are unhappy over the killing of civilians and policemen, we want Nigerians to hold the commissioner of police responsible for this breach of peace following his illegal, unconstitutional and unwarranted provocative statement in which he was quoted as asking Nnamdi Kanu not to return for his mother’s burial.
“This statement credited to the police commissioner is absolutely irresponsible and uncalled for because he lacks the power to stop any citizen from visiting his country of birth. The police commissioner is neither the Nigerian president nor is he the comptroller General of immigration for him to appropriate the power (a power that is null, void and of no legal effect) of stopping a citizen from his freedom of movement which even the president lacks so far as the person is a citizen of Nigeria. Why make such a careless statement and then invade the home of the legal representative of IPOB as if the lawyer has no constitutional rights to freedom of association and to meet with his clients as a practicing lawyer?”
The rights group condemned the declaration of the lawyer to IPOB as a wanted person by the police because it would seem that the “police officers and the Anambra state police command are both the prosecutor and the judge in their own case and acting as if Nigeria has become a banana republic.
“The arrogance of power by the Anambra state police commissioner must be checked since no man is above the law.
“We call on the Anambra state governor to wake up, constitute a judicial investigative panel to uncover the remote and immediate causes of the disturbances and the invasion by police of the home of the lawyer to IPOB and the alleged killings that took place as a consequence of that illegality.” the statement added.