The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abia State Council, decries with rude shock and very deep sense of sadness, the midnight invasion of the residence of one of her members, Norah Okafor, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Wednesday (22/09/2021) night bizarre raid which saw about 25 hooded EFCC operatives from Port Harcourt Zone of the agency on a sting operation in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, bursting into Norah’s apartment in the dead of the night, after disconnecting the wire used to electrify the fence, scaled the wall and broke the gate key to gain unfettered access into the building.
Norah’s account of the incident depicts a horror scene from a hit office box not even seen in security operations against the dreaded drug czars of Colombia.
After subjecting the poor lady and other occupants of the building to over two hours of gruelling physical stress, emotional trauma and destruction of their properties in the name of searching for non-existent incriminating evidence, the operatives declared “we have just wasted our time.”
The declaration, in clear language, is a wholehearted, voluntary
expression and admission of a disastrous omission of a mission; that they were in in the wrong place clearly for the wrong reason and at the wrong time. This leaves a sour taste in the mouth, to say the least.
It is evident that this Gestapo-style invasion by the EFCC operatives was shy of due diligence and betrays the agency’s claim that it arrested about 21 suspected Yahoo boys in Umuahia during that operation without any incident because it was preceded by due diligence and verified intelligence! Nothing could be farther from the truth.
You can’t subject an innocent and a decent citizen to such horrifying, life-shortening, unforgettable experience and claim to have carried out due diligence based on excellent intelligence.
It is common knowledge that in every of this kind of EFCC operation, nay any other security arm in Nigeria, is fraught with visiting a very high degree of both mental and physical torture on their targets who, often times are innocent, as exemplified in the case of Norah.
May we remind EFCC that it was this form of brutality visited on Nigerians, especially the youths and innocent, that birthed the nationwide #ENDSARS protest and we cannot forget the dire consequences in a hurry.
It is trite that no society is without criminal elements. But in hunting down these criminal elements, the security agents must, as a matter of the rules of engagement, employ utmost discretion and apply high degree of caution in tracking their targets as invading the homes of the innocent constitutes the worst form of violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens.
The Council condemns in totality the midnight invasion of Norah’s residence which amounts to a brazen violation of her fundamental human rights, a naked display and awfully wrong application of power by the EFCC.
The Council demands an immediate unreserved apology from the EFCC for this inexplicable wrong mission and remedy for all damages.
In this digital age, it is high time the EFCC reviewed its modus operandi by deploying technology in its operations of tracking suspects, to end its constant picking on wrong targets and subjecting innocent citizens to untold torture and national embarrassment.
Comrade Victor Ndukwe