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Rights violations: Ex-Ebonyi Commissioner petitions NHRC

Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State

By Douglas Okoro
A former commissioner for Education in Ebonyi , Mr Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over alleged human rights violations in some parts of Ebonyi.
Chibueze-Agbo disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
He said that the petition addressed to the Executive Secretary, NHRC, was dated March 13, 2018, and contained the names of victims of rights abuses from Ikwo.

Chibueze-Agbo, a legal practitioner said that his law chamber had received no fewer than 300 reported cases from victims of alleged rights abuses between January 2017 and March 2018.
He said that most of the cases were politically motivated, and expressed concern that the number could increase with the 2019 elections drawing closer.
He urged security agencies, the judiciary and other relevant authorities to do the needful to arrest and prosecute alleged rights violators.
He also urged victims of rights abuses to report to the Police and other relevant rights institutions.
He said that he had petitioned the NHRC over the unlawful torture, banishment, deprivation and confiscation of property of over 25 indigenes of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
He alleged that the inhuman treatments were meted out to the victims in March 2017.
Chibueze-Agbo who described the action of the leadership of Echera Ikwo community, as uncivilised,  urged the NHRC to investigate the matter and bring culprits to justice.
“Right to Life, right to shelter, right to personal property and rights to liberty are some of the fundamental rights which are inalienable to the human person and our constitution and laws have made provisions to safe-guard these rights.
“No individual, group of individuals, community or institutions of government can abridge these rights except through the pronouncement of courts of competent jurisdiction.
“But we are faced with a situation where the fundamental rights of the citizens are trampled with impunity.’’
According to him, Nigeria is a country governed by constitution, thus every action taken by anybody, groups including government officials must be guided by the provisions of the constitution.
“The torture, deprivation and banishment given to the over 25 indigenes of Omege Echera Ikwo in Ikwo Local Government Area amounted to gross abuse of their fundamental human rights.
“The victims have remained refugees and have been denied access to their community and their property for a year now.
“Their crimes were alleged refusal to be coerced to join a particular political party in clear breach of their right to freedom of association, ” Chibueze-Agbo said.
Meanwhile, attempt to speak with the chairman, Omege Echera community, Mr Moses Elom, was not successful as he was said to have gone to farm when NAN visited the community.

However, an official of the community, Mr Benjamin Alaobu, said that the victims were punished and banished because they contravened the customs and traditions of the community.
Alaobu noted that the victims were punished in accordance with the traditions and laws of the community, and dismissed insinuations that the actions of the community were politically motivated.
“The victims violated the customs and traditions of our community, they were tried in line with our customary laws and found guilty and were banished in accordance with the custom and traditions of our people.
“We attached no political motive because all of us belong to different political parties, hence it will be wrong for anybody to say that the action we took against the affected people were politically motivated, “Alaobu said.
Some of the victims include: Jacob Egburu, Lazarus Nwokpoku, Ifeanyi Nwakpu, Nwafoagu Nwakweke and Chukwuma Nwafor, among others.

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