…Intersociety raises alarm, demands refund, punishment for the erring policemen

From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

Nigeria’s leading civil rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has petitioned the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Aderemi Adeoye over the reported arrest, detention, brutality and extortion of 30 students of Chukwumeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University , Igbariam Campus who were clamped down by policemen from Obosi Anti-Cult Squad after allegedly labelling them as cultists.

Intersociety in the petition signed by its Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Obianuju Igboeli Esq, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program and Chidinma Udegbunam, Esq Head, Campaign and Publicity disclosed that the incident happened at the unlawful hour of 3am on Monday, March 11, 2024 when a group of masked men, numbering about ten or more stormed the AGMAC Hostel of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State and broke into the mixed Hostel; arresting over 30 students at sleep.


The group said the invading masked men were later found by its field volunteers to be personnel of the Police Anti Cult of the State Command extra-jurisdictionally and unlawfully operating from Obosi Unit located off Obosi-Nkpor Road in Idemmili North Local Government Area of Anambra State said headed by one Police SUPOL Danladi.


Intersociety further disclosed that the AGMAC (Igbariam Campus) Hostel is a mixed Hostel, housing both male and female undergraduates numbering dozens while the abducted students were meted with varying degrees of physical and mental torture using fists, gun buts, iron metals, herders’ sticks and verbal threats and abuses”; after which they were taken away in hired or seized commercial buses without disclosing the corporate and individual identities of the officers involved or offenses alleged to have been committed by the abducted students.


“The unlawful operation lasted for less than half an hour during which the students were bundled to the “Obosi Police Anti Cult Unit” and subjected to more beatings, torture and other inhuman or degrading treatments or punishments.

“It is our information that the Gestapo styled operation generated tumultuous fears and panics around the University Hostel Community with most fearing that the students must have been abducted for ritual or ransom purposes by members of a non-state actor violent criminal entity. It took several calls within several police circles and hierarchies and physical traces by a team of Intersociety volunteers before the abducted students and their abductor-police personnel could be located and physically traced to the Obosi Unit (located off Obosi-Nkpor Road) of the Anambra State Police Anti Cult Department under your command.


“The Intersociety field volunteers that tracked and located them were led by Comrades Chinenye Nwanebe and Chibueze Nwajiaku. By the time our field volunteers arrived at the Obosi Police Anti Cult Unit, several hours after the Hostel invasion and attack, many of the abducted students have been terrorized and forced to secure their freedom with amounts ranging from N40, 000 to N70, 000 each (as case may be) and forced to leave the Anti Cult Unit Premises”.


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“Intersociety met about twelve of them stranded and looking for how to find their way back to their University Hostel and School and this was after they were forced to pay unlawful amounts ranging from N30, 000, N40, 000, N50, 000 to N70, 000 each. They later spoke to Intersociety on tape disclosing how they were attacked in their sleep at the hours of the blue law (unlawful hours) and abducted and taken to the Obosi Unit of the Police Anti Cult where they were accused of “being cultists”; with ladies among them accused of “being girlfriends of the cultists”. The differences in the amounts forcefully and unlawfully collected were attributed to circumstances ranging from gender factors, fears and panics to personal/parental/guardian’s financial status and cash/mobile banking money availability”.


“In the end, Sir, over N1.2m was estimated to have been unlawfully or criminally collected from more than thirty (30) abducted students including males and females and about twelve (12) who later spoke to Intersociety on tape”.

While calling for immediate return of the extorted N1.2M and immediate dismissal of the officers involved, Intersociety called on the police authority to to identify the officers involved in the dastardly act including compelling them to refund all the amounts extorted/criminally collected which must be returned to the victim-students numbering more than thirty (30).

“It must be pointed out generally, Sir that the officers involved conducted themselves in a most brazen and unlawful manner which is unbecoming of officers of the law including members of the Nigeria Police Force. The operational code of conduct of the Force was also observed in gross breach.

“It is our finding that the whole idea behind the referenced operation was to molest, degrade, humiliate, brutalize and extort the innocent and defenseless students using false labeling and class criminalization (.i.e. “involvement in cultism”). The cluelesssness and crudity exhibited by the officers are also shocking.


“This is more so when it was gathered in the course of our investigation that raiding female and male hostels by Police Anti Cult Units across the State particularly those attached to Enugu-Ukwu, Ukpo and Obosi in recent times has become a conduit pipe for indiscriminate and unchecked extortion and brigandage. It has further been found that the Igbariam Campus hostels of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University have become a cash-cow for the State Police Anti Cult personnel in recent times.


“We therefore call on you, Sir, to sanitize and refocus the Police Anti Cult Units and other police crack squads of the Anambra State Police Command under your watch. Their law enforcement operations conducted by officers and personnel of the State Police Command must henceforth be thoroughly evidence and intelligence base, reinforced by non-manipulative tracking or detective devices. It is also operationally abominable to invade and mass arrest or attack hostels of defenseless female and male university students especially during ungodly/unlawful hours.

“The dastardly act is clearly a grave violation of the constitutional Fundamental Human Rights to Privacy and Dignity of Human Person as well as Rights to Life and Personal Liberty; in conjunction with Right to Freedom of Conscience and Thought/Education. Totality of the above is more so when tracking and detective devices have made it much easier to fish out those in conflict with the criminal law including cultism, abduction-for-ransom, armed robbery, etc.” The group stated.