HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP CONDEMNS POLICE LABELLING OF GLORIA OKOLIE AS ESN SPY AFTER OVER 60 DAYS DETENTION, FORCED LABOUR
… Demands her release and compensation
A human rights group, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative has condemned the labelling of Miss Gloria Okolie by the Nigeria Police, over 60 days after her arrest and continued detention.
A statement issued on Monday, 23rd August, 2021 by Comrade Osmond Ugwu, President, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative read as follows: “The attention of International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative has been drawn to the injustices meted to one Gloria Okolie reported to be a native of Umutanze in Imo state by the Nigeria Police.
Report has it that Gloria has been in detention for over 60 days in the Police custody without being charged to court.. Not only that she was refused bail and denied access to Judicial trial, she is being subjected to forced labour while in Police custody where she is being subjected to menial jobs of cooking and washing of clothes for the men and Officers of Intelligence and Response Team of the force in Imo state. The worst scenario is that when the information about the inhuman treatment meted to her was leaked to the public via social media, the Police quickly rushed to the Press and subjected her to Media trial, castigation and blackmail through a
Press statement issued by the Force Headquarters of Police on Sunday, 22nd August 2021
The Police in their Press statement signed by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, CSP, Aremu Adeniran and dated 22nd August, 2021 stated that “Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, working with the Military and other security forces have arrested one 22-year-old female suspect, Gloria Okolie for her complicity in the series of deliberate and well coordinated attacks on Security formations, other critical national infrastructures including INEC office and Killing of Security Operatives in the South Eastern part of the country”
The statement further stated that “investigation revealed that Gloria Okolie is a member of IPOB/ESN in Imo State who worked closely with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri a.k.a “onye Army”, one of the ESN commanders earlier declared wanted” and that she “carried espionage against the Military and Police targets and served. as intermediate person who received cash, drugs and weapons on behalf of IPOB/ESN and deliver same to their commanders in their camps”.
The statement which was published by Punch and other media on 22nd August, 2021 did not however state when, where and under which circumstance she was arrested but just created an impression to uninformed readers as if the arrest was done just a few days ago.
According to Sahara Reporters, Gloria Okolie is 21 years of age and was arrested since 17th June, 2021 by IRT, Imo state and has since then been in detention and subjected to all manners of exploitation, abuses and dehumanisation by the men and Officers of the force who have refused to grant her bail or charge her to court as required by law.
The fact that the Police issued the statement is not main issue but the main issues of great concern is why the Police statement is coming up now when the suspect was actually arrested on 17th June, over 60 days before their Press statement. Another thing of worry is why linking her to act of terrorism when the Police men themselves know in their good conscience that she is not. If she is actually a dangerous terrorist they painted her to be, why using her in their homes and offices in cooking for them and washing their clothes for them.
Sahara Reporters also revealed a Social Media report of
a human right Activist, Omoloye Showore revealing how he (Sowore) had visited Gloria in IRT Abuja with a lawyer, discovered the unjust condition of Gloria and how she had been subjected to forced labour by the Police and posted it in his Facebook page.
It is our conclusion therefore that the Press statement of the Police came up as a cover up the revealed injustices meted against Gloria and a blackmail against her to instigate the public against her.
The Police also revealed their blackmail further and their seemingly frailty in their statement which reads “further investigation by Police team revealed that Gloria Okolie takes advantage of gender and seemingly innocuous looks as camouflage to carry out espionage military and police targets on behalf of IPOB/ESN”
It is revealed that before taking to Force Headquarters, she has been in the custody of Intelligence Response Team of the force in Imo state without the knowledge of her parents or friends and that eventually when the parents became aware, they were seriously extorted on the promise of going to release her, but all to no avail.
Report also had it that the day she was arrested was the same day she was to sit for her UTME exam. Instead of her writing her exam she was arrested and converted to cooking, cleaning and laundry services for the Men and Officers of the force without renumeration.
The acts of the Police constitute against Gloria Okolie for detaining her since 17th June, subjecting her to forced labour, maligning and blackmailing her with the press, raising of trumped up allegation of terrorism related acts to justify her continued detention, etc constitute a monumental injustice, torture, exploitation and gross violation of her fundamental human rights of the highest degrees and are condemnable in all ramifications.
The allegations of espionage, recieving and delivering money etc for IPOB Commanders are bailable offences and her continued detention for such duration is gross violation of Principle of presumption of innocence and her fundamental human rights as provided in 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as ammended. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, UN Charter and Declaration on Human Rights, Conventiond and Declarations which Nigeria is a signatory to. The actions of the police also violate basic provisions of Police Act 2020 on the treatment of accused persons.
Precisely, her continued detention, forced labour, media trial and use of derogatory terms and the commendation statement of IGP in the Press statement amount to violation of her fundamental human rights in various categories and by extension are tantamount to violation of sections 34(1), 35(1) and (4), 36(1) and 41(1) of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, fundamental provisions of African Charter on Human and Peoples’Rights, UN Charter on Human Rights , International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, UN Code if Conducts for Law Enforcement Officers, UN Declaration on the protection of all persons from being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment,
DEMANDS AND APPEAL
We therefore make the following demands and appeal.
1. Demand from the Inspector General of Police in Nigeria to order for the immediate release of Gloria from the police custody .
2. Demand that Police should the trump-up allegation that bother on terrorism because the fact that sge is being used for domestic services has shown that she is not a terrorist as been branded in the press by the Police.
3. Demand that IGP should Investigate the allegation of forced labour meted to her by some Officers and men of the force while in their custody, discipline the officers accordingly and pay Gloria compensation for the torture and trauma she has been subjected to including the trauma if denial of educational opportunity of entering University with her pearls.
4. We appeal to National Human Rights Commission to take up the matter and for Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and other Pro human right organisations, Activists, men and women of good conscience in the world to rise in solidarity with Gloria to ensure that she is is set free, safe from trumped up charges, protected and adequately compensated.