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Unlawful Detention Of Igbos: Group Demands Urgent Intervention

A group of lawyers in Anambra State have released a statement over the unlawful detention of Igbos in Anambra State in particular and in the whole of the Southeast. They copied the President-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, the attorney general of the federation, Governor Willie Obiano, and all governors of the southeast region.

Here is the statement in full:

Unlawful Detention In Correctional Centres In Anambra Of Igbo Men, Women, And Children Of Conscience, Wanton Incarceration, Abuse Of Their Human Rights, Abject Neglect Of Citizens In Custody, Deprivation Of Justice And Call For Urgent Intervention By All Concerned Stakeholders.

The peace and tranquillity of Anambra State and indeed the South East region has been truncated by myriads of activities ranging from participation in nationwide mass actions against Police Brutality and human rights abuses as well as citizen protests in support of good governance.

Youth groups have been at the forefront of these protests naturally being the highest victims of such atrocious actions by Law Enforcement Agencies. Men and Women of goodwill have lent their voices accordingly all in a bid to entrench a new leaf in the relationship between citizens and their Government especially the Law Enforcement agencies and the Police.


While the successes of those actions cannot be overemphasized, the reality is that human rights abuses still abound.

This press conference is therefore primarily dedicated to the urgent need to address such abuses, some lasting for over twelve (12) years and which we understand form part of recent agitations that have thrown Anambra state and other South Eastern areas in turmoil.

As concerned citizens and advocates for rights of all and the sustenance for human dignity, we wish to use this Press Conference to draw the attention of the International Community, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Anambra State Government to the alarm raised recently regarding the incarceration, prison detention without trial and gross abuse of human rights of over eighteen (18) citizens of Igbo extraction allegedly for crimes they did not commit.

Our investigation reveals that these persons have been in detention at Onitsha and Awka Correctional Services for well over twelve (12) years, awaiting trial.

They are :

1.            Miss Okwudiri Bassey;

2.            Uchenna Nicholas;


3.            Peter Igbokwe;

4.            Sabastine Amadi;

5.            Ikechukwu Chikwem;


6.            Uche Idika;

7.            Chukwuma Kalu;

8.            Eni Kalu;


9.            Chima Asor;

10.          Ojemba Anyanwu;

11.          Emmanuel Orji;

12.          Mmaduabuchi Asika;

13.          Chinweke Irondi;


14.          Michael Okezie;

15.          Ikechukwu Aghari;

16.          Casmir Odakara;

17.          Chidiebere Ekwem;


18.          Ndubuisi Okanu.

We believe they are many more. Our justice system should be based on the principle of fair hearing, the presumption of innocence and speedy dispensation of justice. However, in these cases, it has failed that test. People are not happy and the likelihood of uprising cannot be ruled out. The Judiciary is on strike and there is no avenue to find a legal solution to this problem now but we are hoping to take swift action immediately after the industrial action is over.

The delay in these cases clearly suggests a lack of attention and concern. It is on this note that a few lawyers and myself have taken steps to follow up these cases to ensure that these people get justice sooner than later.


It is important to emphasize that these citizens and others whose details we do not have presently, have been detained since 2008 in Correctional Centres in Anambra State for offences allegedly committed by their husbands, fathers, brothers, or relations who could not be found at the times when the arrests were effected.

One of them by the name of Mrs. Onyekachi Orji was arrested pregnant. Available information reveals she delivered that baby in Prison and to date, both remain in custody, twelve (12) years after. What a calamity.

Furthermore, our investigations reveal that although these persons variously standing trial at the Federal High Court, Awka are charged with the offence of Felony under Section 37(2)cc with suit No. FHC/AWK/7C/2009, as well as for the offence of Conspiring among themselves to commit a felony under Section 37(2) Cap 38 LFR 2004, these cases are moving at paces slower than the snail with the last hearing being in January 2020 adjourned to March 2021.


As at last check, the adjournment date couldn’t hold as a result of the Judicial workers’ strike.

See moment unknown gunmen burned traditional rulers house in Anambra

The cases involving these innocent citizens (as recognized by law, until proven guilty) are being prosecuted by a Private Counsel in execution of fiat by the Attorney-General of the Federation while Defence Attorneys who took up the case operate on Pro Bono.

The world is invited to note that from the foregoing, all indications point to a deliberate plan to continue to incarcerate these innocent citizens just for being relations of persons who share different views with the Federal Powers.

It is therefore on this premise that we wish to call on the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Prosecuting Counsel executing the fiat, the incumbent Judge of  the High Court, Awka and every person involved in this matter, that these persons have suffered enough!

The law of the land confers the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Why should anyone be in prison for twelve (12) years awaiting trial?

Hence, we call for the immediate resumption of these cases and the application of speedy trial for all and others sharing a similar fate with them. We thank the Defence Attorneys for handling the cases on probono and hereby offer to also take up the matter either independently or in conjunction with them.

We call on the Anambra State Government within whose jurisdiction these atrocities are taking place to take very active interest in the misadministration of justice on its citizens by Federal Agencies. We ask the Anambra Judiciary to in the interest of peace and to avert public disturbances that may arise as a result of these cases, call off its ongoing strike in Anambra State so that these cases can be heard in Court expeditiously.


We ask members of the Nigeria Bar Association especially in Anambra State and all champions of human rights, activists of justice and all men and women of goodwill to rise in defence of the defenceless.

We believe that sincere responses and committed  actions in response to this call will save us all from a wave of avoidable public disturbances and unrest and will help resolve a twelve (12) year incarceration of innocent citizens.

Finally, we invite the Ohaneze Ndigbo led by Ambassador Obiozor to take due interest in the inhuman treatment meted against Igbos in this country. This case is one through which Ohaneze can show its strength to free these innocent people from continued detention.

We only ask for justice. Let’s meet in Court and hear their offences, let the Judge grant them bail, conduct a speedy trial and either acquit or find them guilty. We believe the former rather than the latter will be the case.

We say a capital No to the continued detention without trial of these people and we ask all families and friends concerned, to give this process a chance.

On justice we stand.


 Chijioke Ifediora Esq.

 Henry Chibuike Ugwu Esq.

 Chinedu Clement Igata Esq.

 Michael Okoye Esq.


1.            The President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide

 2.            The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation

 3.            The South Eastern Governors Forum

 4.            His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, Governor Anambra State

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