Rights group petition Police over alleged kidnap of Enugu indigenes by Anambra Monarch

SouthEaastPost

Enugu--------The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, has petitioned the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Suleiman Balarabe, over alleged kidnap of two people from Ibitolo in Eziagu Local Government Area of the state by alleged of a traditional ruler from the neighbouring Awka in Ansmbra State. In a petition dated June 17, 2019, and signed on behalf of CRRAN by its President, Olu Omotayo, it said that the victims included Cosmas Etugo and Mrs Ifeonu Okoye. The petition entitled "Re: Appeal for justice and urgent action: Hostage taking and kidnapping ...and further terrorising of Ibitolo Community," and addressed to the state police commissioner,read , "We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter on behalf of Chief Ernest Otugo, the President General of Ibitolo Autonomous Community, Ezeagu Local Government, Enugu State, who is representing his community in this matter. "Chief Otugo informed us that on March 28, 2019, some bandits attacked the Ibitolo community and started damaging properties and felling economic trees. The combined team of the vigilante of the community and officers of Iwollo Police Station came to the scene and stopped the further damage. "The bandits in the process ran away and the combined team of vigilante and the police recovered 4, Dormer engine blade saw and one jack, while the attackers fled into the bush. According to Chief Otugo, on April 5 2019, two members of Ibitolo community namely: Cosmas Otugo and Mrs. Ifeonu Okoye were kidnapped at a place called Ugbo Ozoume in Ibitolo Autonomous community. "Chief Otugo said he sent a search party to look for the kidnapped persons in the nearby forest but they were not found, adding that he was surprised when the Divisional Police Officer, Iwollo Police Station, called him on phone and said Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna of Awba Ofemili in Awka North, Anambra State, called him, DPO, on phone that if the DPO, did not release the 4, Dorma engine blade saw and the jack, he will not release the two kidnapped indigenes of Ibitolo. Chief Otugo further stated that the DPO, later called him that he has released the Dorma engine blade to the agents of Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna in order to secure the release of the two captives. The two kidnapped persons, Cosmas Otugo and Mrs. Ifeonu Okoye were later released by their captors and they made statement to the Police at Ibitolo Police Station immediately after their release and case was thereafter transferred to Police Headquarters and assigned to D9 section of the State CID Enugu, which have refused to investigate the issue of kidnapping and hostage taking by the said Igwe Maduagwuna. "Chief Ernest Otugo said the community now lives in fear as bandits regularly terrorize the community and even on June 13, 2019, these bandits invaded the community and set the house of a community leader, Chief Reuben Iloka on fire. The said Igwe Maduagwuna who is behind the atrocities going on in the community keeps on boasting that he has influence in Anambra State government and cannot be arrested. DEMAND /ACTION SOUGHT: We submit that no individual is above the law of the land. If a citizen can order the kidnap of other citizens and held them hostage and still have the effrontery to tell the Divisional Police Officer,DPO) of the area, that he was responsible for the criminal act and that if the equipment seized from hoodlums are not returned the victims will continue to be in his custody; that means the country is in problem and nobody is safe. We condemn in an unequivocal terms the action and attitude of the DPO in allowing himself to be intimidated by the said Igwe who chose to resort to the rule of the jungle. The action of the DPO is not only shameful but also unbecoming of a public official. The Ibitolo community led by their President General Chief Ernest Otugo maintained that the investigation by D9 section of the State CID, is bias and not thoroughly done as the said Igwe was never invited for questioning in respect of the case of Kidnapping and hostage taking made against him. We associate our self with the demand of Ibitolo community for a thorough investigation of this matter and subsequent prosecution of Igwe Maduagwuna and his cohorts for commission of this heinous crime." The petition was also, copied to the Chairman, Police Service Commission, Abuja."

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