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Release suspected IPOB informant or charge her to court, NHRC tells police

Release suspected IPOB informant or charge her to court, NHRC tells police
August 24
19:48 2021

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the police to charge Glory Okolie to court or release her from custody.

Okolie, a 22-year-old woman, was arrested for allegedly being friends with a suspected member of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

TheCable had reported that officers of the intelligence response team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) arrested Okolie in Imo state on June 17.

She was later transferred to Abuja, while her parents have made efforts to secure her release.

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After 66 days in detention, the police, in a statement on Sunday, said she was arrested for alleged membership of IPOB and working with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri to attack officers and stations in Imo.

Since her detention, many Nigerians and civil society organisations have called for her release.

In a statement on Tuesday, Tony Ojukwu, executive secretary of the NHRC, said it is disturbing that the victim is allegedly  being used as a slave to officers, adding that the commission will not hesitate to institute legal action against the NPF.

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“The Commission is therefore using this medium to demand the immediate and unconstitutional release of the detainee, or in alternative charge her to a court of competent jurisdiction so that she will enjoy the right to fair hearing and the opportunity to defend the allegations against her, if any,” the statement reads.

“The Chief Human Rights Officer in Nigeria stated that though these allegations are yet to be verified ‘We will not hesitate to condemn such unprofessional conduct which undoubtedly resulted in further violation of the rights of the lady in question, because her rights to freedom of movement and liberty among several others had been allegedly violated with impunity by the very personnel charged with the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens’.

“On our part as a national institution saddled with the responsibilities of promotion, protection and enforcement of rights of citizens and foreigners resident in Nigeria, we have not missed any available opportunity to educate and train Police personnel and indeed other law enforcement agents on human rights issues, the NHRC Act (as amended) as well as other National, Regional and International human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“Besides, the executive secretary recalled efforts of the Commission in assisting the government to reform and reposition the Nigerian Police Force, saying that in-depth investigations into cases of human rights violations by the Independent Investigation Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct SARS conducted by the Commission and the various states are testimonies to our determination to bring sanity to the system and banish impunity like SARS was disbanded.

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“He restated that there is no official state policy in Nigeria that approves the act of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, but regretted that some adamant law enforcement officers act according to their wicked whims and caprices to engage in dishonorable conduct of debasing and subjecting their fellow human beings to the lowest status that cannot be equated to treatment of beasts and other lower animals, and such is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, international covenant on civil and political rights, (ICCPR) international covenant on Economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR), and other relevant Bills of Rights to which Nigeria is a party.”



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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