Enugu Nurse Murder And CSOs Questionable Ultimatum To Enugu Govt
By Dr. Simeon Ugwu
Universally, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are known for what they stand for. They are the mirror of the society, voice of the voiceless, champions of human rights and watchdogs of the society. In Nigeria, the CSOs are not different and are not expected to be no matter the circumstances or situations. They have fought tough battles and set agenda for government. They have fought for the powerless, the oppressed and the downtrodden.
Nigerians have witnessed, experienced and enjoyed their great exploits. Many of thier members both the dead and the living are reverred for the noble causes they fought and are still fighting for the benefits of mankind.
Things that are very consistent in their activities and objectives are respect for rule, due process, judiciary, democratic process and constitution or the laws. They usually operate within the confines of the law.
But it appears that the proliferation of the CSOs in Nigeria in recent years for mercantile and selfish purposes is gradually eroding the people’s confidence in the groups and derailing their activities.
The CSOs now recklessly and blatantly blow hot and cold, depending on where their breads are being buttered. Some of their members have deviated from their core mandates of being the light of the society, to do hatchet jobs for criminals and others in the society.
Since fund does not come from government to them and their foreign sponsors and donors have developed cold feet about their activities, many of their members have adopted the food-is-ready mode of operation to operate and remain afloat or active on the scene.
Typical example of such CSOs’ misdemeanor was the recent ultimatum issued by the acclaimed Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Enugu led by one Onyebuchi Igboke, asking Enugu State government to within two weeks, free the suspects arrested and being tried in court in connection with the brutal murder of Dr Mrs Maria Amadi of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu sometimes last year.
What a questionable and compromised ultimatum by a compromised CSOs. It is time for their members and leaders to bury their heads in shame for selling their souls.
Since Dr. Mrs Maria Amadi was brutally shot infront of her house in Trans Ekulu last year by gunmen, what has been the efforts of the Enugu CSOs in ensuring that her killers were brought to book?
Even when members of Enugu branch of National Association of Nurses and Midwives and Health workers of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu took to the streets of Enugu and Lion Building Enugu to demand that her killers should be brought to book, where were the Enugu CSOs?
This is even when it is a public knowledge they were aware of the murder and were once approached by the family of the deceased to help in pressuring the security agents to fish out the killers of the daughter, sister and mother. Instead the CSOs chose to be dormant and docile since then simply, because the family of the deceased was not able to offer them the financial gratifications their convener demanded from them.
Not deterred by this, the leadership of Aku General Assembly (AGA) and Aku Diewa Lawyers Forum (ADLAF) petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and addressed several press conferences, asking the security agencies to bring the killers of their daughter, sister and mother (Dr. Mrs. Maria Amadi ) to book.
Before this, Enugu State Police Command had arrested some key suspects immediately after the nurse was shot and she made dying declaration in presence of some police personnel including the then DPO of Trans Ekulu Police Station Enugu, before giving up the ghost.
Also on the strength of the petitions from AGA and ADLAF to the IGP, the IGP sent a team of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) from Abuja to Enugu to investigate the matter for almost two months. When they concluded their investigations and submitted report, the matter was charged to court, where trial has been ongoing since then.
It is on record that the bail applications for the 1st and 2nd Defendants (Buzo Maduka Ruth and Afam Ndu) were argued last year and they were refused bail on the solid ground that there is prima facie case for the accused persons to answer. Police personnel have been crossexamined alongside other witnesses called by both the complainant and defendants in the matter.
Since these were ongoing smoothly, neither Enugu State Police Command nor the Police hierarchy has issued a statement calling for the withdrawal of the case or appeared in court to ask for such illegality. After all, the Police Spokespersons in Enugu and Abuja are known to the publics.
Is it not curious and suspicious how the dormant and slumbering Coalition of Enugu Civil Society Groups led by one Onyebuchi Igboke suddenly woke up and dragged Enugu State government into a matter that the government knows nothing about, by issuing the government two-week ultimatum to withdraw from the case against the key suspects?
What kind of person is Onyebuchi Igboke and what kind of CSOs is he leading for him not to know that it is subjudice and illegal to discuss in public an ongoing case in court? Is Igboke saying that he is now both convener of the Coalition of Enugu CSOs and spokesman of the Nigerian Police?
Is it not obvious now that Igboke and his cohorts were hired to do a hatchet job, which includes blackmailing the Enugu State government, ambushing the Judiciary, diverting attention and misleading the general public on the matter.
For this singular action, Onyebuchi Igboke has shown that he is a bad example of what CSOs leaders should be and the Coalition of Enugu State Civil Society Groups is a bad example of what civil society organisations should represent.
In this case, it is not in contention that Onyebuchi Igboke and his cohorts are playing a written script. It is a clear case of hand of Esau and voice of Jacob. This is very shameful, unethical and demeaning.
Just like the leadership of Aku General Assembly, Aku Diewa Lawyers Forum and the husband of the murdered nurse, Mr Felix Amadi said in a recent press conference in response to Igboke’s false claims, “the general public should discountenance the purported news making the round in some selected online and print media that Enugu CSOs give Enugu State government two weeks ultimatum to withdraw from court a case” which trial is already ongoing.
“From day one, Enugu State government has no hand in the matter. We have been following the matter in court. What we are asking for is justice. Nothing but justice for our murdered daughter, sister and mother. No amount of blackmail or threat will deter our quest for justice in this matter. We are not worried by Igboke and his sponsors’ antics. We are looking unto the judiciary which is the last hope of a common man to do justice to the matter. Our daughter’s blood cannot be wasted in vain.”
“The so-called ultimatum to government is ridiculous, cheap blackmail and attempt to truncate the wheel of justice. It is a desperate move to intimidate the Judiciary and obstruct justice. In this regard, Onyebuchi Igboke and his cohorts alongside their sponsors are warned to henceforth desist from toeing this line or should be prepared to face the legal consequences.”
In the same vein, Coalition of Enugu Youths had also berated the leadership of the Coalition of Enugu Civil Society Groups for engaging in a wild goose chase of blackmailing Enugu State government and intimidating the Judiciary.
Meanwhile, enough of this shameful and ridiculous postures by Onyebuchi Igboke hiding under the auspices of the amorphous CSOs. This is uncalled for in a murder case of this magnitude. It is heartbreaking to know that Onyebuchi Igboke, who is being used to champion this despicable act in this case hails from the same area with the murdered nurse. What a shocking sell-out for stomach infrastructure and peanut. Where lies the conscience of man? May God forgive Onyebuchi Igboke, his cohorts and the sponsors. The God of justice will not allow the blood of late Dr. Mrs. Maria Amadi to be wasted in vain.
Dr. Simeon Ugwu, a community leader wrote from Aku, Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State