Mr. Philip Ejiogu, a member of the Imo State House of Assembly has been accused by the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) of allegedly detaining three brothers in his house for three days during the last Christmas period over alleged breakdown of commercial transaction between the lawmaker and a rice supplier who had contracted the three truck delivery operators to deliver the products at his home in Owerri.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA listed those who were illegally detained by the Imo legislator in his Owerri house as (a) Anayo Nwosu; (b) Ifeanyi Nwosu and (c) Ekene Nwodu, just as the Rights group confirmed that the Principal Staff Secretary to the Anambra State Governor Mr. Willie Nwokoye who is an uncle to the alleged victims of the human rights violations’ called her attention to the alleged breach of human rights after the Imo State House of Assembly member had failed to release the boys after high profile intervention from the Anambra State Director of the Department of State Services and the Imo State Commissioner of Police.
In a media Statement, HURIWA confirmed speaking to someone believed to be the alleged violator who confirmed that the three boys mentioned have been with him for days just as he denied detaining them but stated that he just wanted to use them as a bait to get to the direct rice supplier whom the lawmaker accused of breaching the commercial agreement to brand the hundreds of bags of rice he had paid for.
But HURIWA reminded him that under the Law, no private individual has the legal authority to maintain a private detention facility in his home just as the Rights group told him emphatically that even the police as a constitutionally recognised law enforcement agency has no power of detention of citizens in conflict with the law arbitrarily without a court order.
In a media statement by the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National director of media Miss Zainab Yusuf, said that the brief history of the ordeals of the boys whose rights were allegedly violated by the Imo State House of Assembly member Philip Ejiogu as made available to HURIWA by the complainant are as follows: ( 1.) On Wednesday December 29, 2021, the above-mentioned 3 relations of mine were engaged by Ikedu Kingsley Global Resources, Awka to freight about 260 bags of 10kg rice, for delivery to one Hon Philip Ejiogu, said to be a member of Imo State House of Assembly. The destination is the Honourable’s house on Umuaku Street, Emekuku, Owerri. (2. )Hon Philip Ejiogu had given the task of the rice purchase to a lady. Apparently the bags were rather not branded and probably of a lower kg than requested by Philip. In fury Philip rejected the supply. His effort to reach his lady supplier was futile. (2.) My 3 young relations were on their way back to return the rejected rice when Philip dispatched his armed security personnel to abduct them back to his house, where they were held hostage as a ransom for the supplier-at-large. (3.) The youngmen’s entreaty that they are mere freighters hired to deliver, knowing nothing else regarding the transaction was completely rebuffed by Philip. The 3 became prisoners of sort sleeping in the open. Two of them were magnanimously let go but one and their truck are being held up to this third night as I write this at 12midnight Friday December 31. (4). I reached Philip informally through the Anambra State Director of State Services and the Imo State Commissioner of Police through a third-party here in Anambra State Government. Their brief from me was to alert Philip to his impunity. But he apparently made small of it by casually promising to release his captive tomorrow being New Year. (5.) Vulgar power blinds persons of this ilk to the grave infringements of people’s rights by this kind of conduct and to the serious commercial loss the captivity of both persons and their money-making truck has inflicted on the poor boys in this Christmas high season. (6). From a scanned copy of the waybill, I got that Philip’s phone number is (withheld by us) , through which my informal contacts reached him.”
HURIWA lamented that upon speaking to the person believed to be the member of Imo State House of Assembly and warning him to desist from further illegally detaining the boys, he took his last hostage to a police station identified as Toronto whereby he the victim of human rights violations was forced by the police in Owerri to write a statement after which he was released exactly four days after his illegal incarceration however their truck is still being held in his house in Owerri. The truck is the family’s only source of livelihood.
HURIWA also spoke with the last of the three illegally detained delivery team of three relations and he told us thus:
“This is Nwosu Ifeanyichukwu William who was involved in illegal detention from honourable Philip of Emekuku village in Owerri north.
I was contacted by one trader at Nkwo Amenyi in Awka to transport 55 bags of 25kg and 260 bags of 10kg to Owerri at 60,000 which I was given 10,000 for diesel to transport the goods that the honourable Philip was to give us+(me, and my two brothers) our balance of 45,000 so when we return to Awka the supplier will balance me 5000 on my return so we left for the job and we reached at 29th December 2021at his compound at around 7:39pm and he didn’t pick up the call again until the following morning he ordered his boys to offload the bags of rice after the offload I called him and asked honourable Philip about my balance but he said he paid in full for the transport and sent us out of his place and we left without our balance on reaching at Akokwa his Hilux and police men stopped us there and turned our truck back to his place and he said that the 10kg is not up to standard, that it was not what he ordered for and detained me, my brothers and the truck at his compound without food or water and later released my brothers to go, without giving them transport fare still detained me and my truck there without food or water, I was left helpless there than to use the little money I have to buy bread and drink to eat, since then I have been fending for myself and on 1st January 2022 he took me to Toronto police station for statement and the police released me to go back to Anambra without my truck and I asked about my truck but the said the will still hold on to the truck which is still at honourable Philip house and I left Owerri around 7pm without any transport money after I told the driver what happened and I paid the driver on getting to Anambra, I got money from a Keke driver and paid the bus driver who took me to my place around 11:30pm which I paid him back his money and thanked him for his help”.
HURIWA condemned this resort to self help measures by the Imo State House of Assembly member and has asked the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly to investigate this gross violation of the fundamental human rights of three citizens of Anambra State who were abducted and held hostage allegedly for three days and then four days for the remaining hostage at his Emekuku home.
The Rights group stated that it will be petitioning the USA, UK, AUSTRALIA and Canada about this so they can deny the Imo State Assembly member Visa to travel to these civilised democracies. In addition, other legal steps to seek redress for the victims of these egregious human rights violations will be activated to get the legislator to pay for his alleged infractions.