NUJ condemns EFCC invasion of journalist’s home in Abia
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abia State Council, has noted with dismay and deep sense of sadness the unwarranted invasion of the residence of her member, Norah Okafor by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) who were on manhunt of internet fraudsters, popularly known as “yahoo boys”.
It was gathered that the Port Harcourt zone of the Nigeria anti corruption agency had on Wednesday, 22nd day of September, 2021, hooded about 21 people on a sting operation in Umuahia, the Abia state capital, bursting into the Journalist’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.
Reacting, the NUJ Abia Council, in a press release by the Chairman, Comrade Victor Ndukwe and issued to newsmen in Umuahia, on Saturday, condemned in totality the midnight invasion of Norah’s residence which according to the body, amounted to a brazen violation of her fundamental human rights, a naked display and awfully wrong application of power by the EFCC.
The NUJ demanded an immediate unreserved apology from the EFCC for this inexplicable wrong mission and remedy for all damages.
The Abia body posited 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.
According to the body, “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”.
It reminded EFCC that it was this form of brutality visited on Nigerians, especially the youths and innocent, that birthed the nationwide ENDSARS protest, and cannot forget the dire consequences in a hurry.
The NUJ further stressed, “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.
“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, “the body added.
The Abia NUJ release partly stated, “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 Columbia.
“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.”