By Frank Oshanugor
The reported abduction of Mr. Samuel Uzo Okoro the Personal Assistant to Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the legal adviser to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB) at Oraifite, Anambra State by security forces in the early hours of Monday 7th June, 2021 and his subsequent killing and burning of his corpse along with a vehicle reportedly removed from Ejiofor’s residence is one in the recent cases of bizzare killings by Nigeria’s security forces in the South East.
A trending video in the social media showing the charred remains of Okoro in a burnt and mangled car, to say the least; leaves a serious impression of events in an animal farm.
One finds it extremely difficult to believe that such could happen in a 21st Century Nigeria with all our pretences that we have one of the best armies and police in Africa.
Though the Anambra State Police Command immediately denied any involvement in the dastard act which reportedly took place between 2am and 4am on Monday, yet available evidence pointed out that the incident was a combined operation of police, military, DSS and civil defense operatives.
They had allegedly come for Ejiofor and held the entire premises hostage. The lawyer was able to call one or two persons including former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode intimating him of the siege on him by security forces for unknown reason.
The security agents were said to have eventually gotten access into Ejiofor’s premises, searched for him but could not get him. In his place, they shot and killed his personal assistant the corpse of whom they took away in one of the vehicles allegedly picked from Ejiofor’s premises.
The security agents finally set the car and Okoro’s corpse ablaze reducing same to near rubbles for reasons best known to them.
Add this bizzare incident to the many cases of indiscriminate arrest and killing in recent time in the South East.
The other day, some young men alleged to be killers of former presidential aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak in Owerri were reportedly shot dead by security forces without any arrest or interrogation, just like an IPoB Commander Ikonso was ambushed and gruesomely exterminated by security forces.
In all of this, one is not saying that suspected criminal elements anywhere should be pampered, but the fact that we still believe in the principles of the Rule of Law as a country makes it imperative for the security agents of the state not to take the position of prosecutor and judge at the same time.
Like many civilised Nigerians have advised in several fora, our security agents in spite of the degree of provocation should endeavor to arrest their suspects without resorting to the use of force as the first step and even where there is strong resistance, there are measures to use in getting the suspects rounded up without instant killing and possible fore-closure of what ever evidence or information that would have assisted the security agents in their job.
Time has come for a paradigm shift in our policing system. Security agents should learn to use minimal force in arresting suspects to account for any misdeeds. Resorting to indiscriminate Killing as it is now in the Southeast of Nigeria would only escalate the already tensed environment.