By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Embattled lawyer to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has instituted an N2billion suit against the Nigerian Police Force over the alleged invasion and murder of four persons at his home by police officers in Anambra State.
Ejiofor, who is also the lead counsel to the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, in the suit he filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, alleged that his aged mother was shot by police he said invaded his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State on December 2.
Other Respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/135/19, are the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Commissioner of Police, Area Commander, the Divisional Police (DPO) in Anambra State, the Nigerian Army, Chief of Army Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation.
In the suit, he filed through his lawyer, Mr Maxwell Okpara, the plaintiff, urged the court to among other reliefs, compel the defendants to pay him N2bn as compensation and damages for his home that was razed down.
He is praying the court to restrain the Respondents, their agents and privies from further harassing, intimidating, threatening his life and destroying his house and other properties.
Ejiofor further applied for an order of the court stopping the Respondents from threatening him with arrest and torture, as well as to compel them to retract a public notice it made on December 3, which declared him wanted.
He also wants an order to compel the Respondents to tender an apology to him in five major Newspapers.
In a -37 paragraphed supporting affidavit that was attached to the fundamental rights enforcement suit, Ejiofor who said he was called to the Nigerian Bar over 17 years ago, claimed that he was in his Oraifite hometown in Anambra State between November 25 and December 1, for the burial of his late brother, Reverend Louis Ejiofor.
He told the court that on December 2, his house was still filled with relatives, friends and well-wishers that were helping him to evacuate tents, chairs and other materials used for the burial ceremony when a group of about 16 policemen invaded his house.
In the affidavit deposed to by his immediate elder brother, Evangelist Emeka Ejiofor, the plaintiff told the court that police claimed to be looking for suspects involved in an alleged communal clash, saying he subsequently spoke on phone with the Area Commander and promised to make himself available around 11 am the same day.
According to him, by 10.15 am, the same police squad led by the Area Commander came ahead of the appointed time and violently invaded his ancestral home, shooting sporadically at every living object.
In the confusion that ensued, the plaintiff said that four young men were instantly shot dead, while his aged mother sustained gunshot injury from the trigger, happy officers.
Ejiofor stated that the dead bodies were evacuated from his house to a market place and burnt there.
He pleaded photographs and video clips showing the alleged wanton destruction of his house by police adding that the photographs and video clips would be tendered during trial.
The plaintiff further averred that on December 3, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State caused a public notice through television stations and other news media that he had been declared wanted without affording him adequate time and opportunity to respond to any allegation against him if any.
He, therefore, urged the court to declare the invasion of his house and subsequent shootings and killing of unarmed civilians as barbaric, wicked, illegal, oppressive and a gross violation of his rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and right to private and family life as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
Ejiofor further sought court’s declaration that the setting ablaze of all buildings and properties in his Oraifite ancestral home in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State by the police is illegal, barbaric, oppressive, unlawful and amounted to a gross violation of his rights to property as guaranteed by the constitution.
Meantime, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the suit.