A human rights group, Citizens Rights Realization and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has demanded for the immediate release of 76 farmers from Awgu in Enugu State who were arrested and thrown into prison, following a clash between the community and Fulani herdsmen.
The group made this demand in a human rights update released by its president, Olu Omotayo, in Enugu on Friday. The human rights update was titled, “Re: Illegal Arrest, Abduction of 76 Farmers From Awgu local government area and their subsequent arraignment and remand in prison by Magistrate Court Abia State, a Grievous Human Rights Violation, which portends Danger in the South-East zone.”
Omotayo also called for the immediate dismissal of the Magistrate in Abia State who remanded the 76 detainees in prison for an offence that did not fall within the jurisdiction of that Court.
He regretted that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, instead of condemning the act went to the scene and was talking of compensating the people of the community.
Omotayo said human lives and liberty should be the first priority, describing the action of the Governor as a wrong step in a wrong direction.
“It is no longer news that 76 farmers in Ugwuneshi Autonomous Community, Awgu, Awgu Local Government of Enugu State were arrested and abducted by the military and handed over to the Police in Abia State, who arraigned them on a phantom charge before a Magistrates’ Court in Abia State, which remanded them in prison custody, but the worrisome aspect is that it took the state government over a week to even believe that such an incident happened.
“In a normal democracy it is the leadership of the Local government is supposed to have taken immediate action and thereafter informed the state government for stronger and urgent steps, but reverse was the case in this case. The appointed Sole Administrators appointed by Governor Ugwuanyi are all resident in Enugu the state capital and some only visit their respective Local government headquarters once in a month when the monthly allocation comes from the Federal Government and immediately the moneys are shared they return to Enugu and continue enjoying” Omotayo said.