By the unconditional release and acquittal yesterday, 23rd August 2018 at Owerri Magistrate Court, of 15 Mothers of the Igbo Nation, the freedom and victory for 112 detained others are most likely certain or inexcusably secured in coming hours from now or at most in the next 48hrs. In other words, the 112 Mothers of Igbo Nation arrested, humiliated, bullied and tortured by the Imo State Police Command since 17th August 2018 and remanded in prison custody since 20th August by Magistrate S.K. Durumba are most likely going to regain their unconditional freedom in a matter of coming hours from now.
The wrongfully and unconstitutionally detained 112 Mothers of Igbo Nation are most likely going to be discharged and acquitted by the Attorney General of Imo State and his DPP within the days above mentioned. The discharge and acquittal are expected to be facilitated through the constitutional and prosecution process of nolle prosequi (notice of discontinuation).
With the AGF of Imo State (Barr Miletus Maduakolam Onukaogu Nlemedim), represented by his DPP, having applied yesterday (23rd August) for the discontinuation of the prosecution of the 15 innocent and defenseless Mothers of Igbo Nation on spurious charges of “treasonable felony” and “terrorism”, etc; for want of sufficient pieces of evidence linking and sustaining the named spurious charges, the same Imo State AG cannot turn around and go on or continue with the prosecution of 112 detained others on the same grounds.
This is more so when the latter were arrested with the former on the same date, place, time, and scene and slammed with the same spurious criminal accusations, which the Government of Imo State is now under sustained pressure to reverse. It is on clear record that but for sustained prayers, outcries and other forms of pressure from media, rights groups of Igbo Land base and other expressive concerns coming from all over the world, the Government of Imo State and its master central Government of Nigeria would have fully implemented their abominable and atrocious script. The timely hearkening to our clarion call by selected and concerned lovers of freedom, democracy and human rights is therefore exceptionally commendable and emulative.
It is recalled that the 15 discharged and acquitted Mothers of Igbo Nation could not be arraigned alongside their colleagues on 20th August 2018 owing to certain factors possibly including congestion, administrative or heath issues. They were belatedly arraigned yesterday, 23rd August 2018 before an Owerri Magistrate Court and slammed with spurious felonious charges of “treasonable felony”, “conspiracy to commit treasonable felony” and “terrorism”, etc. As it was the case on Monday, 17th August 2018, the presiding Magistrate, again, declined jurisdiction and remanded them in prison custody. The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Imo State and his DPP were also put on legal notice, immediately; leading to a follow up by the defense legal team led by Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
This paid off hours later with filing by office of the Attorney General of Imo State of written application or motion for discontinuation of the case as well as discharge and acquittal of the 15 innocent mothers. The motion was brought before the Magistrate who was still sitting; sequel to strong conviction by the said AG’s office, of lack of sufficient pieces of evidence to sustain the spurious charges slammed against the 15 detained mothers. The motion succeeded, leading to their immediate discharge, acquittal and release from detention.
The names of the fifteen discharged and acquitted Mothers of the Igbo Nation are (1) Chinyere Ubani, (2) Precious Anyanwu, (3) Nwakaego John, (4) Nwadike Chinyere, (5) Chika Uruagwu, (6) Florence Ifeanyi, (7)Cynthia Okoroagwu, (8) Chinedu Chibuzo, (9) Paulina Iroanya, (10) Josephine Ntizi, (11) Blessing Nwelele, (12) Chinyere Achonna, (13) Nneka Okoro, (14) Margret Eze and (15) Ijeoma Nwafor.
While congratulating the freed 15 mothers proper and detained 112 others for their unconditional release and freedom most likely in coming hours from now or at most in the next four dozen hours, we also wish to commend those within and beyond the shores of Nigeria that have added their voices against such unspeakable atrocities and abominations meted out on the vulnerable members of the human family by the Buhari central Government of Nigeria and the Okorocha led Government of Imo State. Also commended are dogged efforts of members of the legal team of the 127 Mothers of Igbo Nation led by Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
The motion of nolle prosequi by the Government of Imo State is not only an irrefutable confirmation of the innocence of the 127 Mothers of Igbo Nation over spurious charges slammed against them, but also a typical instance of Buhari Government unrelenting effort to visit unspeakable state violence against the Igbo Nation so as to push their defenseless citizens in particular and the old Eastern Nigeria in general to the wall of irreversible and intractable retaliation.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
•Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.,
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme