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Ebonyi govt, Police covering up abduction of five engineers on site – Group

A human rights organization, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), on Monday, slammed the Nigeria Police Force and the Ebonyi State Government for what it described as dangerous cover-up of the abduction and disappearance of five engineers.
The field engineers disappeared on November 3, 2021, at the construction site of the African Development Bank-funded $150million Ebonyi Ring Road Phase 2 project located at Effium in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.

But Intersociety, in a statement signed by its Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Obianuju Igboeli; Head, Campaign and Publicity, Chidimma Udegbunam; and Head, Policing and Law Enforcement, Chibueze Nwajiaku, said failed policing was the hallmark of the current leadership of the NPF.

According to the organization, the police under the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has been characterized by “bribery, corruption and lack of, or failure to use modern skills and techniques for criminal investigations.”

These, it said, “have given room for failed preventive policing, failed intelligence policing, failed detective policing, failed investigative policing and near-total resort to jungle justice policing, and have further led to chronic culture of commercialised policing, prosecutorial vindictiveness and hate policing.”

Intersociety in the statement titled, ‘Police, Government of Ebonyi dangerously covering up abduction and disappearance of five NELAN engineers’, also said failed policing, in addition to leadership failure on the part of the present Ebonyi State Government, was responsible for the continued abduction and disappearance of five Nigerian engineers since November 3, 2021.

The statement read in parts, “Their abduction and disappearance have lasted for almost three months or 90 days with nothing concrete coming out of same. While the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force have continued to chase shadows, including wastage of public funds and dissipation of much energy on irrelevancies and frivolities, the Government of Ebonyi State is busy dictatorially distracting the public and diverting their attention.

“The government appeared to be exploiting possible loopholes to escape complicity in furtherance of clear abdication of its constitutional and statutory responsibilities. This is to the extent that the reaction of the state government issued on December 21, 2021 was filled with contradictions and self-indictment, and failed to address the main issues to date.

“In all, Intersociety sees nothing than systematic and deliberate efforts by the duo of the Nigeria Police Force and the Government of Ebonyi State to dangerously cover up the heinous and dastardly act. The colossal failure of the Nigeria Police Force, including its Ebonyi State Police Command and the Force Headquarters’ departments of Intelligence, Investigations, Operations and Information Communications Technology to unmask the circumstances leading to the five NELAN engineers’ abduction and disappearance and the criminal citizens, entities or bodies responsible also speaks volume of the chronic decadence that has afflicted the force in recent years.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, were unsuccessful as he did not take his calls or respond to a text message.

But reacting to the statement, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, described the group’s position as “ranting,” adding, “We have made our position on this matter known and it is already in the public domain.”

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