List Names of Missing Persons
Several groups and individuals have faulted the Department of State Security(DSS) claim that the agency does not enforce the disappearance of Nigerians in their custody. The DSS spokesman Peter Afunanya had on Thursday denied a report by an online newspaper that the agency was responsible for the disappearance of suspects in their custody. Afunanya had described the publication as “an absolute lie and a make-up narrative designed to bring the Service to disrepute.”
However, a human rights group, Sterling Law Center, and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), have challenged the claim by the DSS. According to these groups, the claim by the DSS is false and shameful.
In a statement issued by Sterling Law Centre and signed by its Executive Director, Deji Ajare, the group faulted the claim by the DSS and cited the case of Imoleayo Adeyeu who was forcefully taken from his home on the 13th day of November 2020, at about 2:30 am by heavily armed DSS operatives. Despite the request by Imoleayo and his wife that the operatives identify themselves, this was rebuffed as no reason was given for his abduction. When Imoleayo’s wife demanded to know where her husband was being taken to, they threatened to shoot her.
“How else can a person be made to disappear apart from the security agency responsible for his arrest failing to comply with the safeguards provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act?” Mr. Ajare asked.
He advised that rather than busying itself with incredible denials, the DSS should rather look inwards, make its erring agents accountable, reform its style and strategies and justify the taxpayers’ funds spent on maintaining it.
The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) also dismissed the DSS’s denial of the enforced disappearance of arrested persons in its custody.
In a press statement issued by its Lawyer, Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, IPOB stated that:
“May I remind Mr. Afunanya that my office has a countless number of Judgement and orders from courts of competent jurisdiction, compelling the DSS to produce those they abducted at the wee hours of the night, and release them unconditionally? The list is endless.”
The IPOB lawyer cited the siege by DSS on his home on the 6th day of June 2021 to buttress his point.
According to him:
,“ The operatives of DSS led a bloody onslaught on my peaceful home in Oraifite, Anambra State and during that murderous assault, the invaders gruesomely murdered my personal assistant, dumped his lifeless body inside the boot of my car, zoomed off with his corpse, which they later set ablaze inside my car around Neni town, in Anambra state.”
He said his office had “ countless number of Judgement and Orders from Courts of competent jurisdiction, compelling the DSS to produce those they abducted at the wee hours of the night, and release them unconditionally. The list is endless.”
He listed the following names to substantiate his position:
- Jude Chuks Obasi – abducted on 31st March, 2021.
- Chidiebere Echefu – abducted on 8th November 2021
- Godwin, Joy Idara – abducted on 8th November 2021;
- Ikechukwu Henry – abducted on 23rd August 2021.
- Mr. and Mrs. Ifedi Sunday (Husband and Wife) abducted on 15th November 2021;
- Solomon Onyegbulam- abducted on 8th March 2021;
- Ezike Wisdom Nwambam – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Kenneth Ojima – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Onyeibe Chinonso – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Igwe Johnson- Abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Okezie Fortune – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- David Ogbonnaya – abducted on 26th June, 2021;
- Chinedu Nwaoba – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Aja Joseph – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Barrister Awoke – abducted on 26th June 2021;
- Kingsley Chima – abducted on 26th February 2021;
- Emeka Ngonadi – abducted on 10th April 2021;
- Ukpai Michael – abducted on 20th March 2021;
- Ibeleme Tochukwu – abducted on 15th June 2021;
- Chinaedu Ejesu – abducted in November 2021.
Ejiofor further stated, “Nigerians should be bold enough to demand from Mr. Afunanya the whereabouts of the underlisted civilians who were forced to disappear by DSS. It is to be noted that no one has ever seen these persons since the day they were abducted. Even their lawyers, and relatives have been bluntly denied access to them by DSS. Our team of lawyers has separately commenced Fundamental Rights enforcement actions on their behalf and to date, we are yet to set our eyes on them. This includes some of them for whom judgment has been obtained, directing for their unconditional release. Yet, the DSS has failed to comply.”
Efforts to contact Afunanya for his reaction were futile as he did not pick up his call or reply to our text message.