Soldiers have allegedly assaulted a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police and President General of Imufu Town Union, in Igbo Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, Lawrence Mamah, for alleged refusal to name members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in his community.
Mamah, who was a former Divisional Crime Officer in the Nkanu area of the state and currently an administrative officer in the Igboeze North Central Neighbourhood Watch, has been hospitalised following injuries he sustained from the soldiers’ assault, which took place on Monday, July 25, 2022, in the area.
The PUNCH gathered on Monday that the soldiers who were deployed in the area following the alleged activities of unknown gunmen in both Igboeze North and South Local Government Areas of the state were staying in the same estate as the retired police officer.
It was learnt that the Commander of the troops, an Army Major, had invited the retired officer, who queried why he hasn’t come to greet him since he arrived.
The Major subsequently asked him the names of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network operating in the area or risk being killed.
Speaking to journalists at his hospital bed in Enugu, Mamah said, “I went out with my wife in the evening of the faithful day and came back to the Shehu Shagari Low Cost Housing Estate where I am living and decided to go and have a shower.
“I was carrying a bucket of water into the bathroom when the soldier came and told me that his commander wanted to see me and that the matter was urgent. I said okay, dropped the water, put on my clothes again, and followed them, hoping to take my bath later.
“However, on reaching the Major’s office, the man barked at me saying I had been in their midst without coming to introduce myself to him. Before I made attempts 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 go and finish them.
“I told him that it wasn’t long since I retired from the police after 35 years of service and that I was the Town Union President of my community. I also explained to him that we had a commander in the Central Neighbourhood Watch, who usually reported to the Local Government Chairman and the State Neighbourhood Watch Director in Enugu.
“The Major told me that whether I liked it or not, I must provide the names of the IPOB and ESN members operating in the local government and that I would be executed if I failed to do.
“When I tried to talk again, he roared, ‘you think I am joking? I will kill you and write a statement and nothing will happen!’
“He hit my right leg with a bench in the office, which temporarily paralysed me. Earlier, he had ordered me to sit down on the bare floor.
“After hitting me with the bench, which caused a lot of bleeding, he asked that my hand should be tied behind my back and they were immediately tied. As I was groaning due to the pain I was having, my wife called my younger brother, a Magistrate. They called the Local Government Chairman, Prince Ejike Itodo, among others. It was their intervention that saved me.
“I have never received such inhuman treatment since my life. After serving Nigeria for 35 years, I returned home only to be treated as a common criminal. These soldiers may not have been borne by the time I enlisted in the police.
“I served the country in Lagos, Ogun, Taraba, and Enugu States respectively without blemish, only to return home to be humiliated and threatened that I would be killed and follow it up with a statement, and nothing will happen.
“I was rushed to St. Theresa’s Hospital in Enugu Ezike, before I was taken to the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital for further treatment. I hope that the Chief of Army Staff, the GOC, 82 Division, Enugu, the media and the human rights community will intervene on my behalf by investigating the human rights abuses against Nigerians by persons who are paid by tax payers to protect them.”