Posted by News Express | 16 December 2021 | 416 times
The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) on Thursday, December 16, 2021, wrote to the Nigeria Police and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), demanding thorough investigation into the abduction and disappearance of five engineers executing the Ebonyi Ring Road project for the State Government.
The open letter was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair; Lawyer Chidimma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity Department; Lawyer Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Department; and Comrade Chibueze Nwajiaku, Deputy Head, Policing and Law Enforcement Department.
It was addressed to Joseph Egbunike, Deputy-Inspector General of Police In-Charge of Force Criminal Investigations (FCID); Tijani Baba, Deputy-Inspector General of Police In-Charge of Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB); and Tony Ojukwu, Esquire
Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The letter was entitled, “Ebonyi Ring Road Project Engineers’ Abduction And Related Killings: Ongoing Investigations Must Be Thorough, Forensic, Conclusive And Devoid Of Biases And Undue Political Interferences Or Influences”. It reads in full:
“The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY is by this open-letter calling on the above named three statutory Government criminal and civil investigative bodies and their named superior heads to ensure that no stoned is left unturned concerning the underlined subject matter above. The investigative handling of Ebonyi Ring Road Project Engineers’ abduction and associated killings and other prohibited acts is also a test case for the referenced authorities in particular and the country’s integrity and professionalism challenged Criminal Justice System in general.
“For too long especially under the present central Government of Nigeria, mental and electronic skill based criminal investigations have been brutally related to background and in their place presently are ‘hearsay opinions and biases’ or jungle justice as the “Gateway” of the country’s Criminal Justice System including its Administration and Administrators. Thousands of defenseless and innocent citizens have as a result been sent and are still being sent to their early graves by policy makers and criminal justice administrators. Forgotten is the fact that “the Gateway into Criminal Justice and the Gateway out of same are INVESTIGATION powered by logic and critical thinking and aided by mental skills, technologies and their technical know-how. In law and criminology, criminal justice stands nailed or crucified once it does not stand on INVESTIGATION.
“Therefore, what is involved in the Ebonyi AfDB Ring Road Project Engineers’ abduction and disappearance is no longer news of same or its reportage, but rested on critical questions as to: who abducted the five NELAN Civil Engineers, where were they abducted, why were they abducted, how were they abducted, who abducted them, who sent those that abducted them, were they abducted alive, taken away alive and still kept in captivity alive; or were they killed instantly or later in captivity; if killed in captivity, where are their bodies; what are the present conditions of their professional colleagues and family members; where did their abductors and possible killers come from and who recruited or instructed them; where does the dastardly act place Ebonyi State and Nigeria before the int’l community or regional and international development institutions; what about the justice remedies-are they sufficiently available and accessible to their families and professional colleagues and to what extent have they been responded to or applied by the Criminal and Civil Justice authorities in the instant case.
“It is therefore on the basis of the above that Intersociety is invoking its power of writing in matters involving issues of extreme public and urgent importance to demand from the three named bodies and their superior heads to inexcusably rise to the occasion and do the needful. Having thoroughly gone through several dimensions to the dastardly act and having carefully followed same; in addition to our verse knowledge regarding crime, society and law including the statutory functions and legislations concerning the trio of the Nigeria Police Force CID, FIB (competent authorities for criminal investigations including intelligence) and NHRC (competent authority for civil investigations), we are urging them not to fail in their duties or allow Biases And Undue Political Interferences Or Influences to rob their works of reliability, validity and credibility. This is more so when the popularity, credibility and integrity of the three bodies have waned and depreciated badly in recent times.
“Attached here…. Is a link to our special report or findings on the subject matter, released on Tuesday, 14th Dec 2021. It must also be stated that available ‘leads’ into the Ebonyi Ring Road Project Engineers’ abduction and disappearance are documented evidence base and circumstantially derived. They included several ‘gubernatorial pronouncements’ which carry weight in law and criminology. Therefore, all those involved including serving public office holders such as Governors (i.e. Governor or Deputy Governor) and Commissioners or Security Chiefs and no State actor others can legally be conclusively investigated. Several Decided Cases abound concerning those who may hide under ‘office tenure immunities’.
“For instance, by the Nigeria’s Apex Court decision in Chief Gani Fawehinmi V. Inspector-General of Police And 2 Others (SC201/2000) (2002) 6 (10th May 2002) (involving then Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu of Lagos State), “a sitting Governor can be conclusively investigated and if indicted, he or she can be prosecuted after the expiration of his or her tenure of office or upon loss of his or her office immunity in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution”. It is also our strong demand that there shall be issuance of a written “Criminal Investigation Report” into the Ebonyi Ring Road Project Engineers’ abduction and disappearance or abduction and captivity killing by the duo of FCID and FCIB and “Investigative (Enquiry) Report” into same by the National Human Rights Commission. That of the NHRC must be made public through a Press Conference while that of the FCID/FCIB shall be issued in writing and deposited in the custody of the Supreme Court of Nigeria by way of ‘deposed Affidavit’ or through other allowed means and in the knowledge of critical stakeholders especially legal representatives of the victim families, NHRC, Ebonyi State Government, AfDB, NELAN Consultants and their Engineers, Ebonyi State Police Command especially its State CID and relevant others. The sum total of the above is to strictly guide against doctoring of the original version of the Report.”
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