Group decries, reveals secrets behind Emeka Ozuomba’s illegal detention by Army, demands immediate, unconditional release
By Caleb Onwe, Esq.
OCHIE Igbo, a social cultural group wishes to draw the attention of all well-meaning Nigerians and rational minds globally to an unfortunate incident involving the Nigerian military wherein Chief Emeka Ozuomba was abducted and has been kept in solitary confinement by the Nigerian Army for six months since March 17, 2023.
Sequel to the above, OCHIE Igbo wish to call the attention of the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defense Staff, the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the National Security Adviser to this worrisome trend and development, where politicians have conscripted the army into their private militia to serve their self-serving and primitive motives; just to massage their ego and sustain the intimidation of the people and to keep them in servile fearfulness.
Remarkably, this has been the sad trend in Imo State under the watch of Governor Hope Uzodimma. Since his assumption of office, lives and properties worth billions of naira have been wasted on issues that would have naturally been resolved through dialogue.
Ordinarily, Uzodimma’s approach to governance and his disposition to the people he claims to be leading shows a man quite low in emotional intelligence and the operational dynamics of any modern state. He is cold, crude, timid and unrefined and sees intimidation and subjugation as the only means of presiding over the people.
Understanding that he is ostensibly lacking in the art of intellectual engagement, Uzodimma shies away from any form of constructive debate and considers any perspective contrary to his as opposition. Clearly, his psychological state is doubtful.
Contemporary human society has evolved beyond Uzodimma’s level and mode of operation. Hence, it is pitiable how Uzodimma finds the time to engage in petty and pedestrian squabbles.
Apparently, this informs why the army is still keeping Emeka. It is simply to retire the funds that Hope Uzodimma gave them.
The true worth and professionalism of Nigerian’s intelligence community will be put to test by the time Hope Uzodimma concludes his tenure in office; because it will reveal one of the most horrendous and nightmarish administration in the annals of our nation’s history; perhaps, after Mallam El – Rufai.
The idea of the army descending so low into constituting itself into Uzodimma’s instrument for the abuse of the human rights of Ndi Imo, which it swore to protect in the face of external aggression is a serious aberration that shouldn’t be treated with levity. That this kind of action is being linked to the Nigerian Army which is being primed to lead the restoration of democracy in Niger Republic is distasteful.
Consequently, this has remained the reason for the poor perception of our army, within and outside the country. It also contributes immensely to the lack of confidence which the citizens repeatedly express towards partnering the army in the fight against crime and recently terrorism, which weakens the benign crusade against the two aforementioned evils.
Instinctively, the fundamental principles of democracy rests on the frames of self-preservation as the first law of nature and the inalienable right of the citizens to express themselves and appreciate the dictum that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. These factors and elements form the foundations of a healthy society and strengthens its peace, whilst advancing its development.
It is on this basis that one finds it ultimately difficult to understand why the Nigerian Army is still keeping Chief Emeka Ozuomba in its custody for the past six months.
Chief Emeka Ozuomba, is the President General of Ihube town and a renowned community leader as well as a reputable business man who is jovial and sociable in nature.
Our findings reveal that on March 17, 2023, he was lodged at Pego Hotels Okigwe, prior to the House Assembly election on March 18, 2023. But, unfortunately, Chief Emeka was picked up by some military men in uniform under the pretense that they want to interrogate him on some security related issues, bothering on what’s happening at his community at Ihube.
As a gentleman and a law-abiding citizen, Emeka followed them, because he has nothing to hide. Uknown to him, some people in the community acting on the instruction of Uzodimma had been primed to write a petition to the army alleging that Emeka is a security risk. Prior to his arrest, Uzodimma’s proteges at Ihube community had already started boasting that they will teach Emeka a bitter lesson.
While the army took Emeka to Obinze barracks, they kept it a secret and used all forms of intimidation and harassment to keep prying eyes from this illegal, dirty and nasty operation. All the attempts made by Emeka’s lawyer and his wife to gain access to him were repeatedly frustrated by the Army.
The question is this, what has the Nigerian Army got to do with detaining a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its custody for this long? Is Emeka a war captive? Is it now the prerogative of the military to arrest people and detain them without trial?
Undoubtedly, the method the Army had employed in this matter makes any INTELLIGENCE they may claim to have gotten therefrom SUSPECT, ILLEGAL and UNRELIABLE. Intelligence gathering follows a natural modest logical pyramid.
The Army has no right to have denied Emeka access to his prescribed drugs, diet and access to his lawyer. Painfully, Emeka has lost considerable weight and the once loquacious and vivacious Emeka is now a figment, and now murmurs intermittently to himself, which is indicative of deplorable mental state. These weighty fundamental human right issues have rendered whatever the Army may claim they have on Emeka puerile and unreliable.
The way and manner Emeka was arrested, and by keeping it secret shows that the army knew that what they were doing was illegal. This put immense pressure and tension on Emeka’s wife and the family. It took the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians to find out that Emeka was actually being held at Obinze barracks. Yet, the army kept denying this.
Similarly, on March 23, 2023, the family instructed a lawyer, Watts Law Firm (Iyiakaimo Chambers) to write to the Commandant of Obinze Barracks. The lawyer did, and obtained an acknowledgement copy which can be provided at any time. They asked him to return after a week, which he did. Sadly, the second visit yielded no result.
Regrettably, in search of her husband, Emeka’s wife abandoned his children at Enugu and relocated to Obinze barracks, where she spent two months to no avail.
Currently, Emeka has been taken to 82 Division Enugu, just as Pilate handed Jesus over to Herod, he has spent some months at Enugu custody. Despite all these, Emeka has not been tried. How can the army be operating like this in this time and era?
Surely, if Emeka was a security threat as alleged in the flimsy petition written against him, why hasn’t the army handed him over to the police or the Department of State Services (DSS) for adequate diligence into the matter.
It is just glaring that the army was acting a script in line with the sponsors of the petition written against Emeka, to defile him, demean and debase him; just to please their paymasters.
It is on this note that we call on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of Defense Staff, Defense Intelligence Agency and Directorate of Military Intelligence to weigh into this matter and save the image of the military and release Chief Emeka Ozuomba and tender an apology to the family. This will go a long way towards aligning the military on the path of self-redemption.
Actions like this perpetrated by some bad eggs in the military pitch the citizens against the Army and make it difficult to cultivate proper symbiotic relationship between the duo.
Our demands are as follows;
(a) We demand that a proper medical test be conducted on Emeka to check his medical status. We want to ensure he is in sound health and his organs intact.
(b) We demand that his bank account(s) be checked since he has been in detention to ascertain that he was not being unduly exploited and extorted by his captors.
(c) We demand that a Commission of Military Inquiry be set up by the military high command to investigate this matter and make public its findings; especially the names of the military men that directed this disgraceful operation.
Let Emeka’s case serve as a deterrent to all that collaborated in perpetrating this uncanny treatment on a responsible citizen of this great nation of ours.
Caleb Onwe, Esq
National Publicity Secretary,