From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Human rights organisation International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has expressed happiness over the release of 107 residents of Obigbo in Rivers State who were arrested and detained by security operatives nine months ago.
The group said that out of 112 residents allegedly detained in Army facilities, five persons lost their lives, while 107 have been released and reunited with their families.
The Chairman of Intersociety Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi said in a statement that their release followed a Court bail granted to them a few weeks ago and the perfection of their bail conditions.
‘The 107 mostly Igbo Christian citizens of Obigbo residency have also successfully rejoined their families and other loved ones over nine months after they were waylaid by soldiers on their way back from work or going to work and other legitimate social activities and abducted and disappeared.
‘The Nigerian Army had on 21st October 2020 invaded the Obigbo part of Rivers State following the state-wide broadcast by Governor Nyesom Wike who hastily and maliciously accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of masterminding the EndSARS protests in the state that led to the death of dozens of civilians and security personnel and destruction of some public properties.
‘The governor had played into the hands of the lopsidedly composed Nigerian Army which cashed in on his broadcast to allegedly lay the area under siege and go on a killing spree leading to the death of not less than 102 civilians in two months, during which no fewer than 550 were abducted and private properties worth hundreds of millions of naira burnt or destroyed.
‘With the release of 107 Obigbo abductees in addition to release on 29/30th June 2021 of 26 others held by DSS and previous release of a total 283 other abductees; a total of 416 of the 550 abductees have been freed through various court bails.
‘In other words, not less than 134 are still not independently located and are still languishing in secret military custodies, only known to the Nigerian Army. It must be remembered that to date, the authorities of the Nigerian Army have kept mute over the abductions and disappearances; refusing to speak on why they were abducted and held in captivity for almost ten months without trial.
‘Intersociety had in its statement of 6th July 2021 released names of the 112 abductees including the four (now five in number) that died. Sadly, among those 112 abductees, secretly held at the Nigerian Army’s Alpha Military Commando Base in Suleja, Niger State, five have lost their lives,’ Umeagbalasi stated.