Family accuses Uzodimma’s Commissioner of masterminding Imo monarch’s arrest, detention



Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

The Imo State Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Rabi Ibrahim has been accused of being behind the arrest and the detention of the traditional ruler of Ejemekwuru community in the Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, Eze Obinna Duru.

Our correspondent gathered that the traditional ruler was on June 23 arrested by the officers of the state police command and has remained in the police custody in Owerri till date.

But the daughter of the embattled monarch, prof Adaobi Duru-Okechi, in a petition addressed to the state commissioner of police accused the state commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Rabi Ibrahim of orchestrating her father’s arrest and continued incarceration in police custody in Owerri.

The petition which was dated July 3 and was sighted by our correspondent in Owerri on Tuesday alleged that Ibrahim, masterminded the arrest and detention of the monarch because she was wants to make her father the next traditional ruler of the community.

The petition alleged that the monarch was arrested after he was allegedly beaten and manhandled by officers who invaded his palace.

The petitioner decried that since the arrest and detention of the monarch, he had been denied access to his family members, lawyers and medical doctors even when the king sustained injuries during the raid.

She said that the commissioner had been boasting that she was going to use state powers to put away the monarch.

She called for the immediate release of her father and a holistic investigation be carried out into the matter.

The petition read ” with tears in my heart, I write to complain to you about the arrest, incarceration and unlawful detention of my father, the traditional ruler of Ejemekwuru community in Oguta LGA of Imo State, HRH Eze Obinna Hippolyte Duru by men and officers of the Tiger Base Unit ( Anti Kidnapping Squad) of the Imo State Police Command in Owerri.

“On Friday, June 23, 2023, HRH Eze Obinna Hippolyte Duru was peacefully relaxing in his compound at Ejemekwuru in Oguta LGA, Imo State, when over thirty armed and masked men from the Tiger Base Unit of the Imo State Police Command forcefully invaded his property without a warrant.

“These men, coming in a commando-style operation, subjected HRH Eze Duru, a septuagenarian, to physical assault, severely injuring him in the process, and forcibly dragged him out of his home in the presence of his wife. The nearly 80-year man was beaten, molested, and taken away in his underwear. The masked men, after ransacking and destroying properties inside the house, carted away with their phones, money found in the house and other valuables including medical monitoring devices.

“Subsequently, HRH Eze Duru was taken to the Tiger base division of the Nigerian Police Command, Imo State, where he has been isolated and detained. Despite numerous attempts to secure bail for his release, all efforts have proven futile. No reasons have been given for the refusal to grant bail and his continued detention despite his age and position in society as a traditional ruler. During the operation, he sustained open injuries from the beating and no medical attention has been given to him till date.

“Instead, there have been continued requests for money and extortion of the family running into millions of naira. A few hours after the invasion and detention, the men of the police force involved in this case started issuing threats, including that they would be returning to the Eze’s house to burn down his family house and palace unless they were paid off. The unlawful extortion, threats and mental harassment have continued unabated since then.

The plot to put my father away using the willing men of the Tiger Base Unit of the Imo State police command is sponsored by who is the Imo State Commission for Humanitarian Affairs.

“She has been going about boasting that she would use her office and that of the state governor to deal with any body who would stand in her way in imposing her father as the prime minister ( EJE) of the community.

“According to her as a commissioner in the Imo State government, she would ensure that my father who is a revered traditional ruler is dethroned by the state governor and imprisoned since he doesn’t want to consent to her desperation of imposing her father on the community as against the wish of the people and the customs and traditions of the community.

“Since then she hasn’t stopped in trying to live her threat with recent action of using the men and the officers of the Tiger Base to brand my father the sponsor of unknown Gunmen in my community. Since the unlawful brutilization and detention of my father, she has been going about boasting that she would deploy her contacts in government to ensure that my father doesn’t regain his freedom.

“My father has since his arrest and detention been denied access to lawyers, family members and doctors despite the injuries he sustained in the hands of the officers.

“This is also after the investigation carried out by the police showed that my father is not guilty as alleged.The continued detention of my father is against the laws of our country.

“Sir, kindly ask that my father who is innocent of this falsehood and a victim of political rascality by the Imo State commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Rabi Ibrahim is freed and reunited with family and community.”

When contacted, Hajia Rabi Ibrahim said that she doesn’t have any hand in the are
arrest and detention of the monarch.

She said that she is neither a police officer nor works for the police.

The commissioner said ” no doubt my maiden home is Ejemekwuru but I have no hand in the arrest and detention of the traditional ruler. The allegation also the I want to make my father the next traditional ruler of the community doesn’t hold any water.

” My father is a contented old man who is currently being taken off by his children having worked hard to raise his children and served the community in various capacities, including being the respected reagent of the community.

” I am currently preoccupied with my assignment as the state Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and helping my governor, distinguished senator Hope Uzodimma to keep delivering the dividends of democracy to the good people of Imo State. I ask to be left alone to deliver on the noble assignment as given to me by the performing governor of Imo State.”