By Nna Anulumadu
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, based in Onitsha, Anambra state has given the Nigeria Police a 30-day ultimatum within which to produce a middle aged man, Mr. Innocent Ezeani whom they declared wanted some time ago.
In a communiqué signed by the group’s Spokesperson, Chief Emeka Okoye, the group noted that the ultimatum was stemmed out of the fact that Innocent’s father, Hyginus Ezeani and other family members have been searching for him ever since he was declared wanted by the police to no avail..
They recalled that sometime in the month of August 2015, a mammoth crowd of pro-Biafran agitators numbering over 30,000 had thronged street of Onitsha with hands in the air, some bearing placards with inscriptions such as “Biafra must be free, Let Biafra go, Biafra Independence now, Stop killing Biafrans, Don’t kill Biafran dream, Let my people go, No to herdsmen domination”, among others, while chanting Biafran liberation songs.
“As the crowd passed street after streets, highways after highways, the number swelled up with some folks joining the crowd with its infectious messages. The crowd, innocuous and harmless as they seemed, was getting favours after favours from the bystanders who splashed cold drinks, snacks and bottled/sachet water on them to refresh themselves”.
“As the energy of the protesters was reverberating across the state and nationwide, like a bolt from the blue, truckloads of the army together with police suddenly emerged from a corner and started shooting indiscriminately into the crowd, dispersing the protesters forcibly by using tear gas cannisters and applying brute force”.
The armless and peaceful protesters began to run helter skelter, some blindly running into the cold hands of death. It was in this kind of sordid and grimy melee that citizen Innocent Ezeani haplessly found himself in the hands of the murderous soldiers who beat up, brutalized and tortured him until he fell into a gutter full of sewage waste”.
” With a torch of providence, he scampered off and engaged in a zigzag run, a skill he acquired in IPoB training away from the clutches of the security operatives who fired some live bullets at him. Fortunately for him, he escaped and sought shelter at his homestead in Ichida, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra state. Shortly after, he headed back to Onitsha”.
“The story of Mr. Innocent Ezeani evokes tremendous amount of pathos as he had been earning a living innocently as a petty trader at Onitsha, after some years of apprenticeship without settlement till this date and his local church in Onitsha still misses him”.
But the CSO insisted that Innocent’s father informed them and they verily believed him that since after his narrow escape from the hands of the murderous security agencies and the police declared him wanted, the family members have searched all the nooks and crannies of police and military formations in the state in an effort to get his whereabouts but to no avail till date.
CSO regretted that in Igbo land, Fulani herdsmen are busy kidnapping and slaughtering the people and at the same time raping the rural women, both old and young, while using their cows to destroy farm lands, seize their ancestral lands, and consequently propagate their Islamic doctrines to the conquered natives.
According to them, “operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN are commonly found in the woods and forests pushing back the menace of Fulani herdsmen. Much to the astonishment of most Nigerians and the international communities, the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government treats the transgressions of Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves”.
“The government shields them from being prosecuted legally, while clamping down forcibly with every instrument of the state on any person or persons like the IPoB members whose major aims and aspirations are merely for the restoration of independent state of Biafra”.