Mr. Joachim Foretemose Iroko Chinakwe and his wife, Mrs. Ifeoma Chinakwe, have intimated the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) of the rising threats to their lives.
In the evening of Thursday, 25th August, 2016 Mr. Chinakwe and his wife observed strange individuals lurking within the precinct of their residential apartment in Sango Otta, Ogun State. On noticing the suspicious movements, Chinakwe took his wife and two children to where they (his wife and two children) could get a vehicle to convey them to a relation’s house to pass the night and returned to his house.
As Mrs. Ifeoma Chinakwe who is heavily pregnant was about entering a commercial bus with her children to where their relation resides, some unidentified men who spoke in Hausa language pointed at her and made comments which she did not understand. Luckily, another female passenger who is conversant with Hausa language and heard the comments made by the men who pointed at Mrs. Ifeoma asked her if she offended the men. That the men were saying that her husband is the “troublesome” man who named his dog after President Muhammadu Buhari. That she and her husband can continue running but that they will be caught.
Upon the translation of the threatening comments made by the unknown men, Mrs. Ifeoma called her husband immediately and asked him to leave the house. Chinakwe rushed out to his friend’s apartment where he passed the night.
We have equally been informed by Chinakwe and his wife that they have observed that since Chinakwe was released from prison custody, the Complainant (by name Musa) who reported him to the police has been roaming their residential area in an observatory and very suspicious manner which has made them apprehensive.
Some spirited residents of Sango Otta community have been advising the Chinakwes’ to be very vigilant and possibly relocate from their community for their safety. Though they have expressed readiness to relocate to a safer area, they are constrained by paucity of funds.
Given this troubling state of affairs, we advised Chinakwe to make an official report of the seeming and continuous threats to his life and family to the nearest police station. Consequent to the above, Chinakwe on Saturday, 27th August, 2016 reported the threats to the Divisional Police Station, Sango Otta. The Investigation Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case at the Ogun State Police Headquarters, Abeokuta has equally been notified.
Recall that Chinakwe had earlier raised an alarm over looming threats to his life. Speaking with the Punch Newspaper on Friday, August 19, 2016 minutes before he was again locked behind bars at the State Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, after initially being released, the 41-year-old father of two stated as follows:
“I am a law-abiding citizen of this country, I have never deliberately committed any offence before, I don’t know why I am being treated like this. I only called the dog that name for the love I have for President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria, I didn’t mean to taunt or hurt anybody with it. I don’t know what next could follow this, I am afraid for my life, I am in danger, please help me,” Chinakwe said before the telephone line went off.”
Without necessarily questioning the integrity and capacity of the police, it is pertinent to observe that the Chinakwes’ are terribly afraid that the police may be siding their adversaries. Mrs. Ifeoma had earlier briefed us about negative comments by some policemen when her husband was arrested. One policeman pointedly told her that she will give birth to her unborn child while her husband is in detention and that they will suffer.
It should also be noted that while Chinakwe was in custody, his pet dog, ‘Buhari’ was killed by unknown persons. Could it be that those who killed the dog are planning to also kill the owner of the dog?
Since Thursday, 25th August, Chinakwe and his family have been squatting outside. They only visit their apartment in the day. They are currently restless because of this pervasive sense of insecurity. It has been a harrowing experience for them, especially for the heavily pregnant Mrs. Ifeoma and their two children.
We solicit the urgent intervention of the government, human rights community, security agencies, media, government, international community and the general public in this matter.
The right to life is sacred and guaranteed by the provisions of Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 1981 and Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
Every citizen of Nigeria, irrespective of his or her ethnic, religious or political identity and economic or social status should be treated with dignity and accorded equal protection by the law and the government.
Injury to one, is injury to all.
Inibehe Effiong, ESQ.
Convener, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).
August 27, 2016.