Civil Rights Council Calls For Restrain Over Human Rights Abuses At Omuegbelegbe, Ubima In Ikwerre LGA
C.R.C ON THE DISTURBANCES AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OMUEGBELEGBE IN OMUOGOROWHOR OMUORDU UBIMA IN IKWERRE LGA OF RIVERS STATE
The Civil Rights Council is a not for profit and non-governmental human rights organization with particular interest in the promotion of the rule of law, human rights, advancement of democracy, probity, accountability and openness in government business.
The organization has offices across the country partnering with non-governmental organizations, community people, volunteers and community based organizations to deepen its work in the rural areas and serve as a platform for community people, the urban poor and socially disadvantage to participate in governance processes by lending their voice in policing making and confront the challenges of development in their localities.
The organization has received disturbing reports of the prevailing situation in many villages in Ubima Community involving the gross abuse of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the rule of law and human rights in general. Of particular interest was the event of 28th and 29th of August, 2023 when some community youths invaded the premises of Elder Christopher Igwe the head of Omuegbelegbe in Omuogorowhor Omuordu Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State leaving the compound of the Eighty-Seven (87) year old Elder Christopher Igwe in a sorry state of vandalism and destruction so inhuman even to be associated with man in prehistoric societies.
On the said date on 28th August 2023 around 9:00pm, one Mr. Azubuike Wali the head of OSPAC otherwise called Ubispac that is Ubima Security Planning and Advisory Committee in the company of four (4) others and many other youths unknown in the community destroyed the entire economic trees in the compound of Elder Christopher Igwe. An operation carried out with savagery and butchery. Not satisfied with this level of rapacious annihilation of valuable economic trees they descended on the water bole hole, water tank and some other facilities attached to the house of the said Elder Christopher Igwe and got it totally damaged after breaking windows and some other fixtures in the house. During these untoward acts of barbarism the group boasted that the police can do them nothing as they tapped current from the highest voltage of the Nigeria Police Force.
In the course of this orgy of violence, the octogenarian Elder Christopher Igwe was driven out of his compound together with his aged wife and other members of his household. Unsatisfied with this blatant act of terrorism on the 28th of August, 2023, on the morning of 29th of August, 2023 around 8:00am, whatever economic tree or flowers that was left standing in and within the compound the previous day was macheted and brought down.
These ugly development and trend in the community particularly in the compound of Elder Christopher Igwe is barbaric to say the least if not criminal. In the tradition of our democracy, citizens are discouraged from taking the laws into their own hands rather advised to take leverage to the civilized conduct of seeking redress in the court of law. Assuming without conceding that the octogenarian Elder Christopher Igwe or any member of his household had committed any offence or civil wrong, it would have been proper for those who feel aggrieved to seek redress in the court of law.
The conduct of Mr. Azubuike Wali and his co-travelers is reprehensible and antithetical to civilized conduct, human rights, the rule of law and a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of Elder Christopher Igwe and requires urgent government attention. We call upon the government of Rivers State and the security agencies within and outside the state to take cognizant of this early warning signs of an impending crisis capable of engulfing Ubima Community and other surrounding towns. If this kind of conduct is allowed to persist, it is a negative pointer that anybody could do anything and get away with it. A recipe for the breakdown of law and order and the rule of might instead of law.
Experiences from other parts of the Niger Delta were this kind of development have persisted show the connivance and active participation of ruling class elements in such societies. Hence, the Ubima ruling class should search their consciences for their involvement in the ongoing crisis. It would be difficult to believe that the irresponsible conduct of the youths in this instance and other similar cases int eh community is unconnected with possible power tussle and the struggle for the control of the commanding heights of power and resources in the community. However, no one is above the law and the security agencies should focus their investigation of the incident of 28th and 29th of August, 2023 and many other similar developments on the leadership of the community, ruling class elements and even business or dominant economic interest therein to dig deeper into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis while making efforts to arrest and interrogate the perpetrators.
Furthermore, we have received reports of effort made to gag freedom of association, press, communication and the right of free assembly by undermining certain groups in the community. This is undemocratic, unacceptable and draconian in nature and character. Citizens are free to associate and form assembly under Nigerian laws and democratic practice. Any attempt to undermine progressive discussions by members of the community is unacceptable and totally wrong. We urge all concerned to conduct themselves responsibly under the law and avoid circumstances that may lead or trigger conflict under any circumstance. Let us give peace a chance.
We were reliably informed that the state of human rights, rule of law, peace and security in Ubima Community have long been compromised by the desperate quest of a few members of the community to corner community resources for their self aggrandizement and to accentuate their selfish claim to power and leadership in the community. This is unacceptable. Once more we call on the security agencies to take note of these ugly trends and take preemptive measures to contain with it by searching out the purveyors of violence in the community and dealing with them accordingly with the law without regards to position, personality or status.
We once more reinstate our position that all aggrieved persons in the community should seek appropriate legal redress from necessary state institutions and department to wit: The Nigerian Police, The Law Court, Arbitral Institutions and where necessary from the Department of State Security Services etc. and avoid conducts capable of compromising the security of the community. The Civil Rights Council will continue to monitor the state of human rights in Ubima Community with particular interest on the roles of individuals in this regards. As a responsible human rights organization, we will not hesitate to inform necessary state institutions of any ugly trends involved in human rights abuse irrespective of persons or institutions involved in the gross violation of human rights and on this note we call once more on the Police to investigate the events of the 28th and 29th of August, 2023, in the compound of Elder Christopher Igwe and ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly inhuman act is brought to justice.
Nigeria is not a failed state and we cannot condone bare faced rascality by any person or group of persons that will take the laws into their hands and perpetrate mayhem. The Civil Rights Council will continue to condemn oppression, fight human rights abuse and ensure justice is done to all in line with extent Nigerian laws.
Port Harcourt Civil Rights Council