Soldiers have allegedly assaulted a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police and President General of Imufu Town Union in Igbo Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, Lawrence Mamah, for allegedly refusing to name members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in his community.
Mamah, a former Divisional Crime Officer in the Nkanu area of the state and currently an administrative officer with the Igboeze North Central Neighbourhood Watch, was hospitalized after he was injured in the attack by soldiers in the area on Monday, July 25, 2022.
The soldiers, who were deployed to the area over the alleged activities of unknown gunmen in both Igboeze North and South Local Government Areas of the state, were staying in the same compound as the retired police officer.
It was learnt that the Commanding Officer of the troops, an Army Major, had invited the retired police officer who wondered why he had not come to greet him since his arrival.
The major then demanded that he give him the names of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network operating in the area or risk being killed.
Speaking to journalists at his hospital bedside in Enugu, Mamah said, “I went out with my wife in the evening of the believing day and came back to Shehu Shagari Low Cost Housing Estate where I stay and decided to take a shower.
“I was carrying a bucket of water to the bathroom when the soldier came and told me that his commander wanted to talk to me and that the matter was urgent. I said okay, dropped the water, got dressed again and followed them, hoping to take a bath later.
“However, when I reached the major’s office, the man barked at me and said I had been in their midst without introducing myself to him. Before I could try to explain myself, he accused me of knowing the names of all the IPOB and ESN people operating in the local government without giving them their names so that they would do them.
“I told him that it was not long ago that I retired from the police force after 35 years of service and that I was the chairman of the local chapter in my community. I also explained to him that we had a commander in the central neighborhood watch who usually reported to the chairman of the local government and the director of the state neighborhood watch in Enugu.
“The major told me that whether I wanted to or not, I had to give the names of IPOB and ESN members who were in the local government and that if I did not, I would be executed,” he said.
“When I tried to talk again, he yelled, ‘You think I am joking? I’m going to kill you and write a statement and nothing will happen!’
“He hit my right leg with a bench in the office, temporarily paralyzing me. Before that, he had ordered me to sit on the bare floor.
“After hitting me with the bench, causing me to bleed profusely, he demanded that my hands be tied behind my back, which they were immediately.
When I moaned because of the pain, my wife called my younger brother, a judge. They called the chairman of the local government, Prince Ejike Itodo, among others. It was only through their intervention that I was saved.
“I have never experienced such inhumane treatment in my life. After serving Nigeria for 35 years, I returned home only to be treated like a common criminal. Those soldiers may not have been born when I joined the police.
“I served the country in Lagos, Ogun, Taraba and Enugu states without any blemish, only to return home and be humiliated and threatened that I would be killed, only to make a statement without anything happening.
“I was admitted at St. Theresa’s Hospital, Enugu Ezike before being taken to Enugu State University Teaching Hospital for further treatment. I hope the Chief of Army Staff, GOC, 82 Division, Enugu, the media and the human rights community will intervene in my favor by investigating human rights violations against Nigerians by persons paid by taxpayers to protect them.”