David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A group, Igbo Ekunie Initiative, which prides itself as a coalition of professionals from Igboland in Nigeria and the Diaspora, has called for the immediate release of some women arrested by the police in Imo State last week for protesting the continuous disappearance of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The group in a statement made available to THISDAY in Awka, the Anambra State capital, and signed by its President and Secretary, Tochukwu Ezeoke and Lawrence Nwobu, respectively, said the women did not act beyond their rights, and should not have been arrested for any reason.
They described the arrest of the women as cowardly, primitive and illegal, saying the innocent and unarmed women were within their rights under the Nigerian constitution, engaging in a peaceful demonstration and protest over the continued disappearance of Kanu.
“We strongly and unequivocally condemn the arrest and detention of these women by the Nigerian security forces, led by the Imo State commissioner of Police, Dasuki and hereby call for their immediate and unconditional release.
“We are supposed to be in a practicing democracy and we cannot understand why the magistrate Mrs. S.K. Durumba before whom the arrested women were charged in Owerri would refuse to discharge and acquit the women or at least grant them bail as prescribed under the law, especially as she made it clear in her ruling that her court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought before her.”
The group further described the arrest as “The brazen parochialism of the Nigerian security forces”, adding that it was ever eager to arrest and detain innocent people from the South-east part of Nigeria but opt to protect, aid and abet terrorist herdsmen from the Northern part of the country.
It said the arrest by security forces was not only a fundamental breach of constitutional responsibility but also capable of igniting an existential crisis of unfathomable consequences in an already fragile nation.
“We find it strange that an organisation that goes to sleep when hundreds and even thousands are massacred across Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen can hurriedly embark on arresting and assaulting harmless and unarmed Igbo mothers that are protesting peacefully in Owerri, Imo State.