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After 72 days of abuse in detention, Police claim lady arrested in Imo is IPOB’s spy

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AFTER being abused and unlawfully held in detention for 72 days by the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Police have claimed that Glory Okolie, the 22-year-old lady arrested in Imo, is a spy for the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Okolie was arrested in Imo State on June 17 by IRT officers as bait to arrest her boyfriend, who is a suspected IPOB member.

Director-General of Behind Bars Human Rights Foundation Harrison Gwamnishu, who raised the alarm of her arrest in a statement on Facebook, said Okorie’s family had been searching for her, only to be informed by a detainee who had just regained her freedom from the IRT that their daughter was in the custody of IRT in Imo, allegedly cooking and washing for the officers.

Gwamnishu alleged that the Police extorted the family when they went to ask for her bail. He said Okolie was later transferred to Abuja.

According to him, the released suspect was rearrested by the IRT operatives after it was discovered he was the one that revealed Okorie’s whereabouts to her family.

The activist said his team met with the newly-appointed IRT Director Olatunji Disu on Thursday, but the Police could not link the lady with any offence apart from being the girlfriend of a suspected member of IPOB.

But in a statement signed by Force Deputy Public Relations Officer Aremu Adeniran on Sunday, the Police claimed that Okolie was  a member of IPOB, who worked with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri to unleash violent attacks on Police officers and Police stations in Imo State.

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“Okolie takes advantage of her gender and seemingly innocuous looks as camouflage to carry out espionage against military and police,” he said.

“The suspect, a native of Umutanza in Imo State, was arrested following ongoing investigations and implementation of special operation, Operation Restore Peace, to, amongst other things, break the information, drugs and arms supply chain to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network in the South-East region.”

The statement said she was complicit in the series of deliberate and well-coordinated attacks on security formations, other critical national infrastructure, including offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and killings of security operatives in the south-eastern part of the country.

It added that investigations revealed that she was a member of IPOB/ESN in Imo State who worked closely with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri (a.k.a ‘Onye Army’), a purported ESN commander earlier declared wanted by the Police for his roles in planning, coordinating and executing the attack on the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and Imo State headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service.

The Police said her arrest and the revelations from her confession assisted it in the ‘Onye Army’ arrest.

Gwamnishu kicks

Reacting, Gwamnishu expressed shock at the statement by the Police, saying that Okorie was being demonised after the news of her arrest and abuse had become known to the world.

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He wondered what took the Police so long before it released a statement on the possible cause of her arrest and detention.

“It is obvious that this belated press statement was designed as a ruse to cover up some police atrocities,” he said in part.

“The first few questions to the IGP are these: Why was she detained and used as a beast of burden to cook and help police officers wash their clothes at Tiger Base in Owerri, Imo State if she is so dangerous? Why not issue this release since her arrest 70 days ago? Why wasn’t she charged to court since her arrest when the law says you have no right to detain beyond 48 hours? Why was the fellow who exposed her unlawful detention also detained?”

In its recent report, Amnesty International documented 115 incidents of unlawful killing and 62 cases of arbitrary arrest and torture carried out by security operatives since January 2021 in the South-East Nigeria.

 

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