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Elombah detention: Rights groups call for removal of IGP Idris

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A coalition of civil society organisations, Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Good Governance Organizations, (SBCHROs) has called for an immediate sacking of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris for over-stepping boundaries while exercising his constitutional power to arrest and detained an accused person.

The Inspector General was accused of allowing his personal interest and bias to override and erode his public duties and powers in the arrest saga of Citizen Timothy Elombah who has been detained for 17 days and subjected to torture, intimidation, harassment and detention without trial.

The group made this demand in a release signed by ;Emeka Umeagbala, Comrade Aloysius Emeka Attah, Barr Chinwe Umeche, Comrade Nelson Nnana Nwofor, Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro, PhD and Mazi Tochukwu Ezeoke


The group called on the Presidency to relieve the IGP of his position with immediate effect. “having grossly breached his oaths of office and allegiance by brazenly breaching and making mockery of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended; and has therefore overstayed his welcome as Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police”.

The group as well demanded immediate and unconditional release of Citizen Timothy Elombah and release of all items confiscated and seized or possessed from the family members on 1st Jan 2018 including laptops, smart phones and seized travelling documents and total end to indiscriminate arrest, torture, intimidation, harassment and detention without trial of all members of journalism profession in Nigeria.

It is now 17 days after the ancestral home of the Elombah Family in Otolo, Nnewi, Anambra State was cordoned off and surrendered by over fifteen operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) in the early morning or between 5am and 5.30am on the New Year Day of 1st January 2018; a nationally proclaimed public holiday or a day of the blue law when government offices and other public establishments are closed for businesses or official activities.

“During the invasion, the entire Elombah family including their wives, children and the aging mother were held hostage, threatened and traumatized. The entire family house and all its rooms were also ransacked and thoroughly searched without warrant; after which valuable items including smart phones and laptops were made away with till date.

“The invasion of the Family of the Elombahs on a national holiday was singlehandedly ordered and officially sealed by the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Kpotum Idris; using the Federal SARS; a police department established for sole purpose of combating violent crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping. In the course of the ungodly and unconstitutional invasion, all adult male members of the Elombah Family; numbering six, were abducted; after which three were freed at the Awkuzu State SARS headquarters, Anambra State and three others, namely Daniel (UK based lawyer), Timothy (editor of Elombah online news) and Izuchukwu (a businessman trading in Niger State) were taken to the Federal SARS Headquarters at Abuja where Citizens Daniel and Izuchukwu Elombah were granted bail the next day; leaving Timothy detained without trial till date”, the group alleged..

Allegation levelled against him was that of “criminal defamation against the person of IGP”; claiming that the Elombahs via Timothy wrote and published an online article against the IGP titled: “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies”. The article was published in a number of news sites on 22nd December 2017 by one Ebiowei Dickson.

SBCHROs stated further that “as if this was not enough, the IGP, in a clear case of prosecutorial vindictiveness, refused to free and discharge the Elombahs with an apology and compensation; but went and secured, questionably, a seven days investigative remand order from Mpape Area Court in Abuja to further detain Citizen Tim Elombah. The seven days investigative remand order, secured on 2nd Jan 2018 has expired without renewal since 9th January 2018; yet Citizen Tim Elombah has been detained for nine more days without bail or trial; over an alleged misdemeanour offence carrying only maximum 3years imprisonment on conviction.

“At the expiration of the seven days investigative remand order on 9th January 2018, the Family of Tim Elombah and his lawyers went to secure his release or observe his arraignment and trial in court, but were told by the authorities of Federal SARS, under the instruction of IGP that “he cannot be released but will remain with us until we tidy up his file to arraign and charge him for Cyber Stalking before an Abuja Federal High Court”.

“When reminded by his lawyers of the expiration of the court remand order since 9th Jan and non-renewal of same or arraignment of their captive, the Federal SARS authorities told them to remember that “this is IG’s personal matter under whose order and instructions your brother is with us here until otherwise instructed or directed”.

The group therefore, requested that the post administrative bail undertaking signed by the duo of Daniel and Izuchukwu Elombah at Federal SARS Headquarters making it mandatory for them to be reporting at Federal SARS at the beck and call of the investigating officers must be revoked and discontinued.

It also demanded a duly written and signed apology from the IGP to be published in major print, visual and online dailies. “The IGP must also publicly apologize for visiting the Elombahs and their families especially their children with crude and disproportionate force of arms through his special anti robbery operatives as if they are repeat-offender armed robbers”.

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