The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has accused the police of bias in the arrest of 33 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) over the killing of a police inspector in Nnewi, during a rally of the group.
The police had in Awka, Anambra State on Sunday paraded the suspects, saying that they would be charged for terrorism and murder, among others.
But Intersociety, in a press release made available to DAILY POST in Awka said the speed at which the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ordered the parade of the alleged IPOB members even when investigations on the matter had hardly begun, was suspicious.
The release signed by the board of trustees chairman of the group, Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi stated that most of the arrested suspects were traders and not IPOB members as alleged. While accusing police of hate policy, racial profiling and selective law enforcement in the country, Intersociety noted that in areas where the herdsmen openly massacred Nigerians with impunity, the police under Idris had not acted so furiously and brazenly.
It condemned police’s system where suspects were being paraded as guilty even when they remained innocent before the law. Part of the release read, “While Intersociety is not condoning the criminal act of attacking police officers on duty resulting in their death or injury anywhere in Nigeria, but the rush with which the Inspector General of Police responded and flew the Force Public Relations Officer to Anambra State for the purpose of effecting the criminal parading of the arrested citizens before the media without comprehensive and conclusive investigations is roundly viewed with utter shock and condemnation.
“It is also a clear confirmation of “selective enforcement of the law and racial profiling of citizens of Igbo Nation under complaint. “Countless number of police officers have been targeted and killed in the North particularly in the Middle Belt by Fulani jihadists, yet the IGP did not shut down the Force Information Bureau or relocated same to the crime scene the way and manner he responded to the alleged beating to death of a Police Inspector in Nnewi or in the case of hundreds of defenceless civilians that are killed on basis monthly in the Middle Belt of Nigeria.
“By recent account of the Government of Benue State, no fewer than 50 police personnel were killed in recent violent attacks in the State by Fulani jihadists; with no single culprit (Fulani jihadist) arrested, prosecuted and convicted till date. “The Nigeria Police Force has also failed woefully in securing ordinary Nigerians and turned the Force into a cult; interested or responding only when its personnel are said to have been killed or attacked.
“It is also the handiwork of failed intelligence, bias and hate policy that led to the mistaken identity and transfer of criminal responsibility in the instant case; whereby innocent traders retiring off their market stalls and premises were unlawfully rounded up or arrested and detained and-criminally paraded as killers, arsonists and “terrorists”.
The group called for the immediate release of the 32 suspects, and an unreserved apology from the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, to the traders, their market leaders and the general public.