Dismiss Enugu CP over Emene massacre, rights group tells Police Commission

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.… Condemns death of two DSS operatives

By Ikechukwu Odu

The International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, has urged the Police Service Commission, PSC, to dismiss the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Ahmad Abdurrahman, over his unprofessional handling of the incident which led to the massacre of unarmed civians at Emene, Enugu State, last Sunday.

The group further described  the method used by  the Commissioner as crude, arguing that his actions undermined the powers of the state goveror  who alone has the power to deploy Security Joint Taskforce to carry out such operation when necessary.

In a letter to the Commission dated 28th August, 2020 and signed by  the board chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the group quoting section 6 (1) of Police Service Commission Act, 2004, demanded for the dismissal of the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State for his unprofessional dispositions which led to the killings of unarmed members of the the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB and other law-abiding residents of Enugu State.

It equally condemned the death of two DSS operatives who allegedly died during the incident, adding that it stand against any form of killings outside the law.

The letter reads “Our writing Your Commission is to formally bring the attention of same to Black Sunday Massacre of dozens of unarmed citizens at the Community High School Field and environs, located in Emene in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, Eastern Nigeria. The massacred and the injured included sports enthusiasts engaging in various sporting activities in the School’s Premises or Field. The sporting activities include football, gymnastics, martial arts, volley ball, physical fitness exercises, etc; as well as those in church services and leisure and mental rehearsal activists, etc. The war-like shootings and killings had violently disrupted various church services involving Catholic Church and Pentecostals; forcing the converged and the converging to run helter skelter in a bid to doge and escape from raining police and military live bullets.

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“The shootings and killings were professionally and secularly avoidable but owing to crude, unprofessional, hate and racial policing applied in the instant case, the reverse was brutally the case. For instance, the Department of State Services, DSS, instigator of the massacre, acted crudely unprofessional in its so called “gathered intelligence” by playing the role of “jack of all trades and master of none”. The Enugu State Police Commissioner, CP Ahmad Abdurrahman, manifested the crudest form of ‘butchery policing’ when he incompetently mismanaged the incident and turned same into a war theatre and killing field of “the war-like armed versus the defenselessly unarmed”. He not only ordered the massacre but also usurped the powers of the Executive Governor and Chief Security Officer of Enugu State. This the CP did by unlawfully and unconventionally deploying the State’s Security Joint Taskforce-JTF (comprising soldiers, air force, DSS and various police crack squads,etc). By law and convention, it is only the Governor of Enugu State that can deploy same under situations of extreme complex security threats (i.e. bloody inter communal conflict).

“Contrary to Police and DSS reports, independent eyewitnesses including residents of the area factually and believably disclosed that the Community High School Field had for years played host to various categories of sports enthusiasts and leisure and mental rehearsal activists including children who gathered every Sunday for the referenced purposes. Joining them are different Pentecostal Church congregants and those of the nearby St Joseph Catholic Church who conduct their Sunday church services.

“But last Sunday, 23rd August 2020, armed DSS personnel stormed the School Premises and violently disrupted clusters of persons assembling peacefully including some pro Biafra activists and religionists engaging in civil sporting activities such as martial arts and foot balling. The violence used had included violent arrest and firing of live bullets at close range with intent to massacre as administratively ordered or directed; leading to those bearing anti bullet charms withstanding same and refusing to run. Live bullets fired at close range by DSS personnel eventually hit and felled some “ordinary” or non-anti bullets charm bearers, leading to angers and tempers rising to a boiling proportion, forcing the SSS personnel to retreat. The crude and butchery deployment of armed soldiers, air force, DSS and various police crack squads by CP Ahmad Abdulrrahman escalated the shootings and killings and turned same into a massacre.

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“Therefore, our writing Your Commission, Sir, is in line with powers and duties vested on same  by Sections 6(1) of the Police Service Commission Act of 2004 and 153 (m) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and its Paragraph 30 of Pat 1 of the Third Schedule. By the provision of Paragraph 30 under Section 153 in the Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the Police Service Commission under you, Sir, is constitutionally empowered to: (a) appoint persons to offices other than the office of the Inspector General of Police in the Nigeria Police Force; and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this Paragraph (other than the IGP). The persons holding such offices are all sworn or serving members of the Nigeria Police Force, from Constable to Deputy Inspector General of Police including CP Ahmad Abdurrahman, Commissioner of Police Enugu State Command.

“CP Ahmad Abdurrahman Should Be Dismissed: We hereby strongly demand for thorough investigation over his role in the massacre. He should also be dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force. Apart from his manifest bias and perceived crude and hate policing method applied, the CP recklessly abused his office and power, contrary to Section 15 (5) of the Constitution when he unilaterally and magisterially undermined the status of the Enugu Gov as “the chief security officer of Enugu State” and “chairman and capital financier of the State’s Joint Security Taskforce or JTF”. A well trained, intelligent, unbiased and ethno-religiously secular CP should not have acted the way he did including deployment of war-like soldiers and police officers and ordering them to shoot and kill defenseless citizens at close range.

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“We also strongly condemn the reported death during the massacre of two DSS operatives who are of Igbo extraction, including one who hailed from Afikpo North LGA of Ebonyi State. Intersociety is strongly opposed to all forms of deaths or killings outside the law, including killing of security personnel and unarmed citizens. However, by convention, it is better for ‘ten weaponized security agents to die than to lose an innocent and defenseless citizen.”

 

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