The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has endorsed the call by the branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Imo State for a prompt, decisive, and open investigation of the allegation of assault, humiliation, torture and unlawful detention of a lawyer, Chigozie Chinaka, Esq., by ACP David Ogenyi, the Police Area Commander, Owerri Municipality.
The NBA branches in Imo State had earlier issued a press statement on October 9, 2023, detailing the ordeal of Chinaka, who was arrested and detained by Ogenyi and his men for taking pictures of a vehicle belonging to his client, who was also in police custody since June 5, 2023.
The NBA branches accused Ogenyi of abusing his power and violating the rights of Chinaka and his client. They also lamented the incessant harassment and intimidation of lawyers by police officers in the discharge of their professional duties.
They expressed solidarity with the NBA branches and condemned the actions of Ogenyi and his men as “barbaric” and “unacceptable”. The group said such acts amount to “an affront to the rule of law and a threat to democracy”.
HURIWA in a statement by its national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko emphasized the need for the Police Service Commission (PSC) to wake up to its statutory duties and fish out killers and violators of human rights embedded in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The group said the PSC should not allow the NPF to become a “lawless” and “corrupt” institution that undermines the administration of justice and the dignity of citizens.
HURIWA urged the federal government, the Inspector General of Police, and the Attorney General of the Federation to take immediate steps to investigate and prosecute Ogenyi and his men for their alleged crimes. The group also called on the public to support the NBA branches in their quest for justice and accountability.