The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), South East Zone, has absolved the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, of blames and grievances surrounding the Ezu River killings and highly discussed atrocities reportedly committed by Anambra SARS in the past.
This was made known on Wednesday in a position paper signed by its Zonal Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah.
CLO, which is one of the most vocal groups involved in the promotion and defense of human rights in Nigeria, expressed worries over what they described as the political slant some of the issues raised by the protesters were taking. They decried the way some persons or groups have decided to politicize the recent ENDSARS protests degenerating to the level of names calling and fingers pointing.
“It is worrisome that issues that should be addressed on its own merit as cases of human rights violations, abuse of office and extra judicial killings are now taken to the ridiculous level of name calling, settling political scores and rivalry as well as instrument of the Nigerian Pull-Him-Down-Syndrome,” the rights group wrote.
It explained that they had been on the forefront of the campaign against extra judicial killings, cash for bail and detention without trial as was then perpetuated by SARS under the headship of James Oshin Nwafor as Officer in Charge (OC).
CLO noted that atrocities and violations at the SARS Awkuzu predates the time of Nwafor and the Ezu River killings of 2012/2013. They noted that the Ezu River Killings was just one out of the many evils perpetuated by SARS.
The group however stated that it would be unfair to lump the blame of SARS atrocities and the Ezu River Killings on Peter Obi, the then governor of Anambra State. They said that instead of blames, Obi’s administration should be praised for the way they handled the saga. They maintained that Anambra SARS under OC James Nwafor should be held responsible for extra judicial killings that saw to the dumping of dead bodies in Ezu River.
“In investigating the Ezu River dumping of murdered suspects by security agents, panel reports and independent findings by civil society and human rights groups including the CLO , never in any way indicted the then Governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi over the incident. Infact, his administration’s efforts to unravel the circumstances surrounding the whole saga and find justice for the victims was glaring and commended.
“The present concoction of lies linking him to the saga is uncalled for and a distraction from the real demands of the Nigerian youths who are seeking not only for an end to the dark era of SARS atrocities but education, police and economy reforms, accountability, good governance among others,” CLO stated.
The human rights group explained that the Ezu River Killings during the said period brought to fore the need for restructuring in the country.
“A situation where the Governor of a state is the Chief Security Officer in paper while the Commissioner of Police is answerable to the IGP through the President makes mockery of the whole system.
“Such was the scenario then when the then Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi even as a sitting Governor couldn’t exercise much powers to see the end of the saga because the Federal Government took over the investigation and panel of inquiry over the matter without coming up with any concrete recommendations and white paper,” the rights group said.
On the demolition of Upper Class Hotel, Onitsha, CLO condemned what it described as the hasty demolition of the hotel without exhaustive investigation and court pronouncements. “The government’s action in that regard remains condemnable,” it said.
Describing government as a continuum, the rights group urged the Anambra State Government to take a second look at the hotel demolition and possibly compensate the hotel owners for any physical and emotional damage the demolition caused them.