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HURIWA accuses Police of framing 21-year-old woman, detaining her for 72 days without charge

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the office of the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, of framing up a 21-year-old woman, Glory Okolie, and detaining her for 72 days without charging her to court.

The social media had been agog in the past one week when the story of Okolie made the headlines after it was found out that operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Imo State had arrested her in June on the suspicion of being the girlfriend to a member of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The Police was alleged to have detained her arbitrarily where she was turned into a sex-slave and house maid to the officers.

Her plight was brought to the fore by a rights activist and Director General, Behind Bars Initiative, Harrison Gwamnishu, who posted about Okolie’s unlawful detention on Facebook and how she was allegedly turned into a “sex-slave and maid, washing clothes and cooking food at the IRT office in Owerri, before she was later moved to the unit’s headquarters in Abuja.”

Gwamnishu had posted:

“21-year-old Miss Glory Okolie, who enrolled for the 2021 JAMB exam, has been in police detention since June, 2021, till date. She left the house and never returned.

“Since June, her family had searched for her in hospitals and mortuaries but couldn’t find her. Ending of June, 2021, a young man who was freed from the IRT office, Tiger Base, Owerri, told the Okolie family that he saw Glory in the custody of IRT officers cooking and washing clothes for them.

“The family immediately went to the IRT office and requested to see Glory and bail her out and till date, it’s been one story or the other. The IRT officers allegedly continued to extort the family and denied them access to see Glory. Our team launched an investigation and discovered Glory has been transferred to Abuja and tagged an IPOB/ESN member.”

The outcry that followed the post forced the IGP to set up a probe to unravel the circumstances behind the lady’s arrest and detention. This was followed by a statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Aremu Adeniran, who accused Okolie of being a member and spy of the ESN set up by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

“Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, working with the Military and other security forces, have arrested one 21-year-old female suspect, Gloria Okolie, for her complicity in the series of deliberate and well-coordinated attacks on security formations, other critical national infrastructure including INEC offices and killing of security operatives in the South-Eastern part of the country.

“The suspect, a native of Umutanza in Imo State, was arrested following ongoing investigations and implementation of special operation, Operation Restore Peace, to, amongst other things, break the information, drugs and arms supply chain to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network in the South-East region.

READ ALSO: HURIWA accuses Plateau gov, Lalong, of ‘being weak’ in wake of killings in state

“Police investigations revealed that Gloria Okolie is a member of IPOB/ESN in Imo State who worked closely with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri a.k.a “Onye Army”, one of the ESN commanders earlier declared wanted by the Police for his lead roles in planning, coordinating and executing the attack on the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and Imo State Headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service,” the Police statement read in part.

However, HURIWA, in a statement on Sunday signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, flayed the Police’ response, saying the press release by the Force Headquarters on “the missing but found girl, declaring her as a terror suspect, almost 78 hours after her case became public information courtesy of a civil Rights campaigner, Harrison Gwamnishu, who found her being allegedly converted to a maid for 72 days by the Police” is not only despicable but reprehensible and odious.

HURIWA described the arrest and detention of the victim as a clear case of criminal acts of “human rights violations and abuses inflicted on a citizen of Nigeria on account of a mere suspicion that her purported boyfriend is a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), amounted to holding a citizen as a hostage in exchange for someone being sought by the police, which is absolutely unlawful, unconstitutional and outrageous.”

“It is disappointing that at a time some people are beginning to think that the Police has eventually decided to turn a new leaf and stop spewing toxic lies and half-truths, and stop framing innocent people up.

“The same Police that has become very notorious as a violator of peoples human rights, is openly performing government magic and attempting to foist and impose a strange and utterly senseless charge on an innocent girl that her officers held hostage for over 72 days and never contacted her family nor charge her to court against the constitutional provisions that obliges the police to bring up charges within 24 hours after arrest.

“Moreover, section 36(5) presumes the girl as being totally innocent in the eye of the law but the Nigerian Police Force that is utterly despicable, kept her for many months and has only just issued a lame and tepid press statement accusing the girl of being a spy.”

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