From Ikenna Esogibe and Austin Chikwado
This is an SOS message to all people of goodwill, particularly Imolites to intervene before a great, irreversible injustice is visited on an innocent citizen.
This is the sad story of citizen Thaddeus Ikechukwu Ojokoh from Umugwa Umuokirika, Ahiazu Mbaise.
Ikechukwu Ojokoh, 53 years old, a professional tailor, is married with 5 children.
In the last two decades, he has been practising his trade at Afor Oru, where he has a shop.
On April 15, which was an Afor Oru market day, he was at his shop as usual and later in the day went into the market to buy some tailoring materials.
Armed men, who turned out to be personnel of the Nigeria Police Force swooped on him and whisked him away, on the allegation that he is an IPOB member.
He has been in police custody at the “Tiger Base” ever since.
Then, on April 21, six days after his arrest, hoodlums attacked policemen on patrol at Ngor-Okpala and killed four of them.
On April 30, Imo State Police Command, issued a statement that the man they arrested earlier was one of those who unconscionably murdered the policemen on national duty.
The statement titled:
“OPERATION RESTORE PEACE: IMO POLICE ARREST NINE (9) SUSPECTED IPOB/ESN TERRORIST; INCLUDING MBAISE/NGOR-OKPALA IPOB/ESN SECTOR COMMANDER, RECOVERS ARMS AND AMMUNITION,” reads in part:
“Sequel to the attack of Police Officers on patrol attached to Ngor-Okpala/Mbaise Area Command at Ngor-Okpala, Imo State on 21/04/2023 by hoodlums suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia affiliate, Eastern Security Network (ESN) where four gallant police officers lost their lives, the indefatigable Commissioner of Police, Imo state, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde PSC(+) after on the spot assessment of the incident, directed the Command’s tactical teams to commence detailed investigation and manhunt to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
“Acting on the CP’s directives, a detachment of the Command’s tactical team on 24/04/2023 at about 1730hrs after diligent gathering of credible intelligence, arrested one Mathew Chuwkuma 48yrs ‘m’ of Mpam Ahaizu Mbaise LGA, Imo State, in his hideout at Umuahia, Abia State.
“He confessed to be the Sector Commander of a dreadful IPOB/ESN syndicate in Mbaise and assisted the curious operatives in arresting three (3) of his syndicate namely; Ojoko Ikechukwu 53yrs ‘m’ of Umugwa, Chilaka Charles 44yrs ‘m’ of Umuezuo, and Anthony Iwu 50yrs ‘m’ of Umugwa all in Umuokiria, Ahaizu Mbaise LGA of Imo State in their Criminal hideout while others escaped.
“On searching the suspects and their hideout the following incriminating items were recovered; One cut to size AK 47 rifle, One hundred and Ninety rounds of live 7.62 mm Ammunition, Two AK 47 magazines, two cut to size double barrel guns, one locally fabricated Berretta pistol were recovered from the Terrorist hideout.”
According to the police, the accused had admitted killing the policemen.
With due respect and every sense of responsibility, I dare say that this cannot be true, at least not in the case of Ikechukwu Ojokoh.
It is curious that a man arrested on April 15 and who has been in police custody ever since is being accused of killing policemen at Ngor-Okpala on April 21.
Secondly, the said Ikechukwu Ojokoh was arrested at Afor-Oru market and not at any “terrorist hideout.”
Besides, even if Thaddeus Ojokoh was arrested after the killing of the policemen, I would still vouch, without any fear of contradiction, that he couldn’t have been part of that dastardly act.
He is incapable of hurting a fly.
And I am saying with every emphasis at my command that he is innocent.
Why the unconscionable killing of security officers or any human being for that matter is condemn able, it is equally wrong to frame innocent, poor folks for crimes they never committed.
I am putting out this message and appealing to Nigerians to intervene before an innocent soul is wasted for a crime he didn’t commit.
Thaddeus Ikechukwu Ojokoh is my cousin and I insist that he is innocent, even if for no other reason, at least for the fact that he had been in police custody before the four policemen were murdered in cold blood.
Please help. Thanks!!!