– By James Ubadike

The security situation in the sleepy town of Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State is tense and may implode anytime .

This is because the majority of the people are preparing for a showdown with the town’s controversial billionaire, Wilson Orakwue Emeka Offor, over innumerable flagrant human rights violations. The immediate cause of the current uneasy relationship between the businessman and his folk is the detention since Saturday, July 13, 2013, of a social activist from the town named Comrade Boniface Okonkwo by the police on Offor’s instructions.

Emeka Offor

Emeka Offor

Okonkwo’s sole offence is that he criticized Offor in an online forum of Oraifite indigenes for donating a whopping 1.3million dollars to Rotary International for polio eradication while their town lacks basic amenities and the people wallow in abject poverty. Offor considers the criticism defamatory and consequently directed one Jeff Nkonye of Fortress Chambers in Lagos who is also the legal adviser to the Oraifite Improvement Union, to write a letter demanding Okonkwo to retract the accusation within 24 hours and render an unreserved apology to the controversial businessman in both two national newspapers and the forum named Mbala Obodo. The letter was written on June 28.

The activist stood his ground. “The next thing we saw”, narrated Sylvanus Udedibia, Okonkwo’s first cousin living with him in Lagos, “was Okonkwo’s arrest by a detachment of policemen from the Federal Special Fraud Unit and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad who came all the way from Abuja and shot into the air several times to intimidate the family and neighbours in Ilasamaja, Mushin, in Lagos”.

The activist was arrested in a commando-like operation in the early hours of the day he was preparing to travel to South Africa. Offor, according to Mike Ofiaeli who is coordinating the campaign for Okonkwo’s release, had sent Sunday Igboanuzue, a Lagos-based trader, and Godson Ugochukwu, a young lawyer in Lagos, to secretly monitor Okonkwo’s movements and report to him.

Narrated Godson Onyeakosi who is Okonkwo’s lawyer: “Comrade Okonkwo was not told of his offence until he was whisked away to the Lagos State Police Command where the team from Abuja officially informed their colleagues that Okonkwo had been arrested for allegedly impugning Emeka Offor’s character in an online forum, and that the government contractor had written a petition to the Police Headquarters to this effect. The police in Lagos were scandalized that the force high command was dragged into such a silly civil case. In fact, an officer did wonder aloud to everyone’s hearing ‘have we degenerated to this level? Have we become so cheap a tool in settling personal scores ”.

Since his arrest on Saturday, July 13, Okonkwo has been kept incommunicado in Abuja, sharing a very small cell with hardened criminals like armed robbers, kidnappers and murderers, revealed a police source who requested our correspondent not to reveal his name in the media for fear of victimization by his bosses. It was gathered that, contrary to common practice, the criminals refused to beat Okonkwo when on entering the cell he identified himself as a social crusader who was “abducted for criticizing a wealthy government contractor”.

Since his arrest the police have denied Okonkwo access to his phones, and they have stopped him from meeting visiting family friends, relatives and sympathisers. At the time of filing this report, his lawyer was making frantic efforts to secure his release from the court. “It is a monumental shame that the anti-corruption fighter should be detained without trial for two weeks now whereas the Constitution provides that no person can be detained for more than 24hours without trial unless the offence for which he is suspected of committing is not a bailable one like murder”, said attorney Onyeakusi. “It is unbelievable acts like this one by even non government officials could be perpetrated with telling impunity in a so-called democracy. No wonder, a section of the Nigerian people and the international community should regard Nigeria as a failed state. We are beginning to see our own version of the Somali warlord, Farah Aideed”.

It is understood that this is not the first time Offor’s path has crossed with Okonkwo’s. “Comrade was one of the few people in Lagos courageous enough to express an opinion different from Emeka Offor’s at the Lagos Branch meetings of the Oraifite Improvement Union when Offor was living in Anthony Village”, recalled an executive committee member who pleaded for anonymity.

“Offor used police to intimidate Okonkwo, but the young man refused to be cowed. Other courageous members were threatened with police. Owen Okolo, who now lives in Abuja, was falsely and maliciously accused of owing him a huge amount of money , with police sent after him. This was around 2007. Isaac Anachuna was dragged by the police to Awka as the first step to Abuja for detention but his Isingwu people immediately taught Offor a hard lesson.

“When Azuka Okwuosa, a former chairman of Nnewi Local Government and a confidant of Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rising rapidly in politics, Offor, who had nominated him to be the Commissioner for Works in the Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration, asked the governor to drop him from his cabinet in 2002. Worse, he caused the police to whisk Okwuosa, who is his cousin, away from Enugu to Abuja to be detained on a false and frivolous charge.”

According to this source, Offor decided a few years ago decided to humiliate the first senior advocate of Nigeria from Oraifite, Chuks Momah, in whose chambers in Aba, Abia State, Offor’s cousin, Nnoruka Udechukwu (SAN), was practicing. On the day Momah’s Ifite people were celebrating the popular traditional Afia Olu festival which the senior lawyer was leading, Offor got the police to disrupt it on the incredible excuse that the people were involved in a public assembly without police permit.

The most humiliating of Offor’s reckless use of police against rivals, real and perceived, was reserved for Ikechukwu Obiora, a lawyer. The controversial businessman caused the police to arrest Obiora at his wedding reception. His offence? Obiora, who was to become a senator from 2007 to 2011, dared to challenge Offor’s candidate for the Anambra South senatorial ticket, Dr Nnamdi Eriobuna, an indigene of Ihembosi in Ekwusigo Local Government Area, in the 1998 senatorial election.

“Offor has finally beaten more than he can chew”, declared Ofiaeli. “His cup has runneth over. The heartless arrest and continued incarceration of Comrade Bonny Okonkwo, an innocent person who has been kept in the same place as violent criminals for two weeks, challenges the humanity of all Oraifite people. The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny. Our hometown is unfortunately sitting on a keg of gunpowder, and a few of us have managed all this while to keep the mass of our people in check because we do not want them to take the law into their hands, despite the unbearable provocation. Wilson Orakwue Offor, alias Sir Emeka Offor, must be held squarely responsible for the ongoing situation in our place”.

Meanwhile, the radical Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana, will today go to court in Abuja to enforce the fundamental rights of Okonkwo.

8 Comments to: Emeka Offor’s Oraifite People Rise In A Fury Against Him for Gross Human Rights Abuses

  1. John Opara

    July 26th, 2013

    The problems and consequences of unemployment show up often in our daily lives in Nigeria, expecially on online blogs like this. We should put in more efforts to hold our elected leaders accountable.
    “Social crusading” has become a profession. The main goal is to target rich people and wait for settlement. I am sure that both the writer and the so called “social crusader” come from communities who are represented in the Nigerian house of Representatives and the Nigerian Senate. You should chanel your grieviances of underdevelopment to your government representatives.
    For some of us who are priviledged to come close to Sir Emeka Offor, I can personally testify to his goodness in terms of help to the poor. You can imagine the number of people in his employ today. He is feeding a lot of families in Nigeria today through employment and his charity organisation. I am sure that if he is approached to render any kind of help to you, he will definitely help.
    I see him spend every moment of his life working hard on his businesses and you sit down in one place as a “social crusader” trying to tell him what to do with his money.
    It is very shameful that some of us from the igbo extraction are plagued with this drag-him-down syndrome. Nigeria has a lot of problems you can concentrate on. The greatest problem we have is insecurity and lack of accountability from those we voted into government. Anything apart from this is total rubbish.
    Please look for a job and be productive so that you can do for Oraifite people what Sir Emeka Offor has not done. If Jesus were to be what you want Sir Emeka Offor to be, it means that only Israelites will go to heaven.
    I sympathise with you and do not by any means support detension without trial, but you should look for some kind of employment to be productive after your ordeal and stop poking your nose in other people’s business.

    Reply
    • Agu ndu

      July 27th, 2013

      Bros stop supporting evil what sir offor did is too bad use police to intimidate his people is bad.giving rotary club 1.3million dollars is good but go to oraifite sir Emeka offor neighbors can not eat three square meal.charity begins at home!!!

      Reply
  2. Chinedu

    July 26th, 2013

    Emeka came with the pretence of helping us,he first cloud our widows with gifts,get d heart of a woman,u get d heart if d nation,he said this abd pronised dis and praises nd applause trailed him,then he began to show his true colors,he firstly used police to arrest many of us,then he used sars to force parents to sell their lands t get d money to bail our youths he imprisoned on d ground of smoking weeds,Emeka is the cause of then high increase in criminal acts in Oraifite, he has so much furstrasted our youths to despair,I am a witness to his wickedness,but why when our youth were imprisoned,no members of OIU said or did anythin,now okonkwo has been arrested and they complain,emeka has bitten more than he can chew,but we wnt forget his wickedness,a day will come when he shall pay for his deeds,ofu onye adighi akari oha.

    Reply
  3. Nkolika

    July 27th, 2013

    You can help the poor but you do not shut them up because you help them. Free speech is a fundamental right. If you feel wrong or libeled you challenge the matter in court. Intimidation with police is the wrong way to go.

    Reply
  4. okeoma

    July 27th, 2013

    Shame on who ever you are,you are so lazy that you can’t sit up and look for a reasonable thing to do,you better get a meaningful life for yourself.

    Reply
  5. Eloebo McAnthony

    July 27th, 2013

    The unlawful detention and intimidation of people on the orders of Sir Emeka Offor is totally unacceptable. In a civilised environment, people must criticize any individual no matter your position in the society. As an indigene of Oraifite, I condemn the actions of Sir Emeka Offor with regards to the intimidation and detention of those he percieve as opposition. Well, Nigeria is a place where impunity thrives so I’m not surprised at the unfolding of events in Oraifite.

    Reply
  6. Valentina

    July 27th, 2013

    Such is unacceptable in a democratic nation like ours, even if Okonkwo has nobody, no money and influential, yet he should have a say. At least he has a freedom of speech. Even our president Jonathan is being criticized everyday let alone. Many of us are graduate who have no jobs, has he helped us? I won’t deny d fact that he is better than some selfish and greedy people we have in Oraifite. But he should to that everyone is entitled to his own opinion. That Democracy. He should le t d man alone pls.

    Reply
  7. Kenechukwu okolocha

    July 27th, 2013

    The Nigerian Police needs total reorientation . A police force that cannot differentiate between civil and criminal matter means that such a force is down right incompetent.. Until the courts become alive to their responsibility as the last hope of the common man and rein in violators , such gross abuse of human rights by some nonentities and tin gods in our accursed clime will continue unabated.

    Reply

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