An Igbo group, Nzuko Umunna, has threatened to drag governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to court in the next four weeks if he fails to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to unravel the cause of the clash between the Department of State Services, Nigeria Police Force and the Indigenous People of Biafra, which left many dead on August 23.
The incident, which led to the death of some IPOB members, reportedly happened while they were in a meeting in Emene area of Enugu State.
In a statement, Coordinator of the group, Ngozi Odumuko, through their solicitor, Edwin Anikwem, said the unprovoked attack and murder of innocent and unarmed indigenes of Enugu had caused unrest within the state and environs, adding that the citizens were living in fear of who may be the next victim.
Mr Anikwem urged the governor to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry as provided under the Enugu State Commission of Inquiry Law, Laws of Enugu State 2004 to ascertain the immediate and remote cause(s) of the persons involved in the aforementioned killings at Emeni and recommend appropriate sanctions.
He said, “It would be noted that sometimes around the 23rd August 2020, persons suspected to be state security officials opened fire on unarmed youths who were having various physical exercise/training in Emeni, Enugu State, and massacred them in cold blood.
“Your Excellency, this unprovoked attack and murder of innocent and unarmed indigenes of Enugu has caused unrest within Enugu and its environs as the citizens are living in fear of who may be the next victim. We wish to state that as the Chief Security Officer of Enugu State, one of your primary responsibilities is the protection of the lives and properties of citizens of Enugu.
“Given the above, we urge Your Excellency to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry as provided under the Enugu State Commission of Inquiry Law, Laws of Enugu State 2004 to ascertain the immediate and remote cause(s) of the persons involved in the aforementioned killings at Emeni, Enugu State, recommend appropriate sanctions to be meted out to persons identified to be related with the massacre and also profer solutions on how to prevent the future occurrence in the state.
“We believe that the execution of the above request will help to restore peace amongst citizens of Enugu State and its environs especially Emeni where the incident occurred.
“Please take notice that if after four weeks from the date of service of this letter on you, you fail, neglect and/or refuse to set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry as requested, we shall institute an action against you without further notice. The cause of action of which will be failure to set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding the killings of youths at Emeni Enugu by persons suspected to be security officials to prevent future occurrences.”
The proposed relief to be sought in the court matter, according to him will include among others, “A declaration that the massacre of 22 unarmed youths who were various physical exercise/training by the police and officials of Department of State Services on or about 22nd August 2020 violated Section 33(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN 2004 which guaranteed right to life and prohibits the killing of human beings without an order of the court.
“That the extrajudicial killing and/or massacre of 22 unarmed youths at Emeni by the officers of the Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Services on or about 22nd August 2020 violates the fundamental rights to life of the deceased and is therefore unconstitutional, illegal and unlawful.
“That the failure and/or refusal of the Governor of Enugu State to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the unlawful killing of over 22 unarmed youths on or about 22nd August 2020 at Emeni, Enugu State, by persons suspected to be security officials amounts to a dereliction of duty.”