Anambra killings: CSOs tackle police over whistleblower’s detention
A coalition of civil society organisations has told the Nigeria Police authorities to drop “trumped-up” charges against a whistleblower, Emeh Nnamdi.
Nnamdi, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps and an IT consultant serving with the Anambra State Police Command, was declared wanted by the command on February 20.
He was accused of unlawful possession of firearms, money laundering, defamation of character, fraud and impersonation.
The 26-year-old was subsequently arrested on March 3 by INTERPOL after two weeks of being on the run. He has since been detained at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Nnamdi had on February 16, 2023, through an online platform, Gistlover, revealed shocking details about how senior police officers in Zone 13 and Anambra State command were involved in extortion, extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance, and organ harvesting of detainees in their custody.
In a statement signed by the various groups and made available to journalists in Awka, on Tuesday, the CSOs accused the police of high-handedness.
They also demanded prompt release of the report of a panel set up by the police authorities to investigate the allegation against the top police officers in Anambra State.
They insisted on the prosecution of all culpable officers.
The groups include African Centre for Media & Information Literacy; HEDA Resource Centre Accountability Lab; Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development; Social Development Integrated Centre; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; Sterling Centre for Law & Development Access To Justice; among others.
The statement read, “We are a group of civil society organisations working to preserve whistleblowing as a fundamental right of free expression.
“To this end, we are calling on the Nigeria Police Force to immediately drop the trumped-up charges of ‘unlawful possession of firearm, money laundering, defamation of character, fraud, and impersonation’ levelled against Emeh Nnamdi, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps and an IT consultant to the Anambra State Police Command.
“Nnamdi’s crime was that he revealed shocking details about police extortion, torture, extrajudicial executions, and organ harvesting by senior police officers in Anambra State.
“He is currently detained at the Force Headquarters in Abuja where he faces the possibility of ill-treatment, instead of being protected by the police, for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and exposing human rights violations.
“On February 16, 2023, Gistlover, an independent digital news and entertainment platform, revealed the shocking details about how senior police officers in Zone 13 and Anambra State Command were involved in extortion, extrajudicial execution, enforced disappearance, and organ harvesting of detainees in their custody.
“The story was corroborated by video evidence of former detainees who were forced to confess serious crimes and who disappeared shortly after. Some families of the victims have since confirmed the story.
“Shortly after the revelation, the police announced that it will launch a full-scale investigation into the allegations, but instead of taking the accused police officers into custody they declared Nnamdi, who works with the accused police team, wanted for sundry offences including suspicion that he must have passed the vital information to Gistlover blog.
“We urge the police to immediately release him or charge him accordingly,” the CSOs said.