Group demands judicial investigation on Ozubulu killings
Pro-Democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned what it called cocktails of rumor mills instigated by the Police Commissioner in Anambra State, Alhaji Baba Garba Umar, and Governor Willy Obiano on the causes of the Sunday morning mass murder at the Saint Philips Catholic Church Ozubulu, Anambra State. The group demanded for immediate judicial investigation into the Catholic Church killings Ozubulu, Anambra State.
In its second reaction to the dastardly criminal act of premeditated killings of scores of worshippers in Ozubulu, HURIWA has demanded for the convocation of a judicial commission of inquiry made up of top Federal Judicial officers, and credible senior Lawyers and credible civil society leaders to uncover the remote and immediate causes of the early morning killings.
The Rights group anchored its clarion call for an independent investigation on emerging eye-witness accounts which Cleary contradicts the official narratives spewed out by Anambra police commissioner and the governor tracing the shooting to a “fight between two feuding brothers”.
The Rights group which also asked the South East governors to hold an emergency meeting over the issue to come up with a well-funded south east security commission with head office in former Eastern regional capital of Enugu, also affirmed that the Anambra State police commissioner largely relied on fairy tales, unscientific innuendos, hear-says and rumors even without ever conducting forensic investigations before reaching a determination.
HURIWA condemned the practice whereby the crime scene was violated and left open for many hours without the security forces ever securing the premises and wondered how the police plans to collate and generate meaningful body of scientific and forensic evidence to be used in the court of law to obtain quality conviction if the suspects are apprehended. “Why is the Anambra police command not operate within global best practices in the investigation of crime? Why rely on market place rumors to reach a determination of an investigative activity of a bloody crime? This is pathetic and despicable”.
The group also carpeted the Anambra state government and the Police command for the poor response time following eye-witness accounts that the police arrived clear one hour after the shooters had fled the scene of the bloody crime and the governor arrived about two hours later.
The group wondered what has become of the much advertised police anti-crime patrol helicopter in Anambra state and the drones purportedly bought by the immediate past Peter Obi’s administration.
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HURIWA asked that the judicial commission of investigation into the Ozubulu Massacre should take evidence in cameral from living survivors of the early morning mass murders some of which completely depart from the rehearsed official claims of a drug war emanating from South Africa.
In a statement by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA recalled that a certain eye witness had documented his evidence alleging that the gunmen who stormed the Ozubulu church wore Military uniforms and drove in Military vehicle.
The Rights group wrote thus: “An eye witness account had narrated that they all were in the church during the 6am morning mass on Sunday, we saw two cars that drove into the church; because it was a Church premises we over looked it and we considered them to be people that came for morning mass(service). But to the surprise of everyone, the car halted at the center of the gate, meaning you cannot close the gate, since it is open already”.
“The driver came out of the car pretending he was fixing a problem; so everyone still ignored the drama happening outside the premises,” the witness wrote.
The witness quoted by HURIWA continued: “Suddenly, some men came out from the car, fully armed, all in Army uniform. I was lucky because I was sitting at the back, just beside the door, but I was clearly seeing what was happening. The sky was cloudy and everywhere seemed dark; no one saw what they were carrying, whether it was gun, but surely they were fully equipped.”
“They immediately rushed to the front door. I was too lucky to jump the fence, but before I had jumped, I heard gunshot everywhere in the building. They obstructed the front gate, because for women that is their only route to escape. That was why women were killed more than men. Children were killed as well, many were seriously injured”.
“After I had escaped, I started making calls to link my church members who were in the church, but they were not picking up; not knowing they were dead already.”
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“The gun men were not Igbos, because their language were not Igbo, the government should stop lying, I heard they said That, they gun Men were flashing touch light on us, but it a lie, because the whole church was so lighted that even from outside you will see who is inside. Even at that, if they were really flashing touch light to know who is their target, those that were killed, are they their target.”
The witness asserted also that: “Like I said before and I will say it again, I was at the back door, I saw all that happened, they were with Army uniform, face covered, standing at the Front door, holding their trigger, and shooting at anything that moves.”
“When the police came, I was waiting for them to ask questions of what happened, so that I will explain, but they were busy taking pictures of the dead ones, without knowing the fact”
“Not too long after they had gone, I went back to the church. I was shocked with what I saw; my Mother was lying dead! Many people were unconscious but later succumbed to death.
The eye witness who identified himself as Ejike Ofoegbyu wrote also thus: “After about one hour of the killings, the Police arrived the church. Two hours later, the Governor, Willie Obiano arrived too. Everyone was shocked, wandering how the perpetrators stormed in Army uniform. Questions began to arise: “Who gave them the Army uniform?” Who gave them the Army car?”
HURIWA is therefore demanding an unbiased judicial probe to look at all the sides to this unfortunate mass killings that took place sacrilegiously in a Church environment where innocent persons had gone to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion and freedom of peaceful assembly.