Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, a human and environmental rights advocacy group learns with anger, disappointment and utter dismay the demise of Mr. Eziyi Uchendu, a motorist who met his end after an altercation over bribe between him and law enforcement agencies (officers and men of Nigerian Road Safety Corps, FRSC and the Nigeria Navy, NA) while enroute to Umuahia from Aba along the Umuahia-Aba axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway leading to Owerrinta.
This, FENRAD says, is unacceptable and illegal to the maximum extent. The fact that after various outcries and protests, including the famous youth-powered #EndSARS# Protests, the Nigerian custodian of arms keep turning their arms against those they are by law meant to protect and defend with them is highly regrettable.
In a press statement signed by the FENRAD Executive Director, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor and Barr. Akande Femisi, Head Corporate Accountability and Human Rights Enforcement – the Rights group condemned the incident, stressing that most of the extrajudicial killings has been swept under the carpet despite public outcry.
“This condemnable incident, it should be recalled, is happening at a time the Inspector-General of Police and the National Assembly had, for countless times, ordered that “road blocks” be removed in various parts of the country, especially the Southeast,” FENRAD said in a statement.
According to the group, “The presence of Nigerian navy along Umuikaa/Owerrinta axis is beginning to create an ugly scene rather than boost security and public confidence.
The full statement reads:
“FENRAD condemns the use of sandbags as barricade along Umuikaa/Owerrinta expressway by men of the Nigeria Navy deployed thereto; an act which today causes traffic issues for motorists and other road users – private and public.
“By this release, FENRAD makes bold to also condemn in its entirety the use of hawkers, sometimes underaged/ children/minors as fronts for collecting money (bribe) from motorists and road users for soldiers; a cruel act of child labour.
“Having stated this, FENRAD calls on the leadership of the Navy and Federal Road Safety Corps to name the officers involved in the incident that led to Uchendu’s demise. According to available news sources, the shooting occurred when late Mr. Eziyi Uchendu declined to bribe an officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps who later raised an alarm for which the trigger-happy navy officer fatally shot Uchendu at close range.
“FENRAD is of the view that only when the officers involved in the killing of Uchendu are produced by the named security agencies and publicly tried or prosecuted at a law court could justice be said to have been done and dispensed.
“FENRAD recalls that killing of motorists by law enforcement agents, became the “norm” during the 2020 lockdown, and that some of these cases have no closure as of yet.
“It is indeed worrisome that it was at the same Umuikaa Junction which is close to Owerrinta that an officer attached to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC killed a driver said to be conveying essential commodities during the lockdown. The state government, FENRAD says, should look into this matter, especially the activities of law enforcement officers at Umuikaa/Owerrinta expressway.
“FENRAD condemns the blocking of the federal way by the Army and Naval officers and continuous extortion of motorist through the use of proxy and stress that the numbers of extra judicial execution experienced in this checkpoint is as result of the motorist refusal to part with some bribe
“Lastly, if by the end of fourteen (14) working days following this release, nothing is heard about this dastardly killing and continuous blocking of the federal Highway, FENRAD will institute a legal action against the Nigerian navy and the FRSC accordingly.