From Magnus Eze, Enugu

Four indigenes of Umugwuakum Akwuke community in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ngene, Charles Ugwu, Prince Reginald Nwoye and Sunday Egbo, have sued the state Commissioner for Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, CSP Chidiebere Ijioma of the IGP’s Special Unit (Octopus), Enugu State and the officer-in-charge of the Anti-cult Unit in the state, SP Chidolue Ekeleme.

In separate suits filed at the Federal High Court Enugu Division with Nos. FHC/EN/C8/59/24, FHC/EN/C8/60/24, FHC/EN/C8/61/24 and FHC/EN/C8/62/24, on April 17, 2024, they accused the three defendants of gross violation of their fundamental human rights.

Their counsel, Ifeanyichukwu Obasi-Nweze in the statements in support of the applications, averred that the first defendant (Commissioner of Police), second defendant (Ijioma) and third defendant (Ekeleme) arrested, tortured and incarcerated the applicants on account of a purported community land dispute between Etiti-Ngwo in Udi LGA and Umugwuakum Akwuke community, in Enugu South LGA.

Reliefs sought were for the court to declare that what the defendants did constituted gross violation and infringement of the applicants’ fundamental right to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, peaceful assembly and association, access to court.

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They are also seeking an order of court releasing the applicants unconditionally, an order of court, restraining the respondents from harassing, intimidating, arresting or causing the arrest of the applicants in connection with the purported land dispute or related disputes in the community among others.

Individually, the applicants are seeking N200m jointly and severally against all the respondents as general damages.

A supporting affidavit deposed by Nnaemeka Nwoye, averred “that Etiti-Ngwo people procured CSP Chidiebere Ijeoma to arrest, detain and torture the applicant and other members of the community in other to humiliate and intimidate them from claiming the land of Umuogwuakum which was not in dispute as a portion that was in dispute was clearly marked and referred to by a judgment of the Court of Appeal in favour of Etiti-Ngwo community and the judgment clearly states that the land in dispute is the portion verged red in the dispute plan.

“That the Etiti-Ngwo people are using the instrumentality of 1st to 3rd respondents as officers of the Nigeria Police Force to brutalise, harass and intimidate the applicant and other innocent people of Umuogwuakum Akwuke in other to annex for themselves the other land of Umuogwuakum Akwuke which was never in dispute.”