International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law says the Nigerian Army lied over its claim that the commander of Eastern Security Network was arrested.
The group made this known in a press statement on Wednesday titled, ‘How Nigerian Army disrupted Christmas Eve church services and movements at Egudene-Nkanu, killed two and arrested a 40-year-old mason and labelled him ‘ESN Commander’”.
The Nigerian Army had on December 26 said its troops arrested one Godwin Nnamdi, a suspected leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network.
Army spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, who confirmed the arrest in a statement, said the “notorious leader” was nabbed in Nkanu East LGA of Enugu during a clearance operation in the area.
But the rights group said the army “cooked up the statement to cover backlash and outcries arising from its murderous operation of the night of December 24-25, 2021 at the Egudene-Ekpofu; a third murderous operation and invasion in the row since the start of 2021”.
The group said, “By a detailed investigation carried out by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law and contrary to the Nigerian Army claims, the so-called “ESN Commander”, identified by the Army as “Godwin Nnamdi”, is a 40-year-old mason and struggling father of two children. His true name is Citizen Godwin Nnaji (not Godwin Nnamdi). His other identities are: He is a 40-year-old born in 1981 and hails from Umuode Ega Kindred of Egudene in Ajame Amaeze Autonomous Community, Ekpofu in Nkanu East, Enugu State.
“He is unarmed and never used offensive violence. He is a mason by occupation who struggles to feed himself, his wife, and two children. Abducted and falsely labelled Citizen Godwin Nnaji is married to Mrs. Blessing Nnaji (nee Nnaji) from Ogonogo-Eji Ndiagu Akpugo Autonomous Community in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.
“He was abducted from his rest and sleep following his sick-rest arising from work-related stress and pains. He had taken some pain relief tablets and was sleeping when soldiers stormed his family house at about 12:21 am on Christmas Eve/early morning of 25th December 2021 and abducted him. Present in the family’s dwelling house during his abduction was his mother, Madam Theresa Nnaji and two of his siblings, including his blind younger brother, Onyema Nnaji, who was also rough-handled and assaulted.
“Citizen Godwin Nnaji was fallaciously labelled “ESN Commander” because a bangle with ‘rising sun’ insignia was found on him. The soldiers later took him alongside other abductees to the 82 Division Headquarters in Enugu through Inyaba River into Oruku town and drove to their 82 Division Headquarters through Emene.
“After his abduction, Citizen Godwin Nnaji was bundled alongside others to Onokolo Market Square in the Community where he was mercilessly beaten and stripped half-naked. He has been located to be detained at the ‘Galaxy Detention Camp’ of the 82 Division in Enugu and one of his younger brothers who went to see him was denied access by the lady Army officer in charge who said she was under superior instructions not to allow him to be visited or seen by anybody.
“Therefore, the claims by the Nigerian Army highlighted above are circumstantially fallacious and a trademark of the Nigerian security forces particularly, the Nigerian Army with which they have framed, abducted, and killed hundreds of defenceless and unarmed citizens of the South-East and South-South Nigeria especially between October 2020 and December 2021.”