Men of the Nigerian Army and the police have invaded the residence of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the group has said.
It said the lawyer was taken away to an undisclosed location following the invasion that happened in the early hours of Sunday.
A human rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, also confirmed to SaharaReporters that some soldiers and policemen laid siege to the lawyer's house.
The reason for this invasion could not ascertained at the time of filing this report but it might be connected with the lawyer's legal assistance to the separatist group, IPOB, whose leader is Nnamdi Kanu.
According to a statement sent to SaharaReporters by IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful on Sunday morning, the security forces shot sporadically before taking away the lawyer.
"Barrister Ejiofor's house been invaded by Fulani Jihadists soldiers now and they went to eliminate him, the world must hear the evil Nigeria and her security agencies are committing.
"This is 2.30am time they surrounded his country home. Is it an offense for someone to defend IPOB? Barrister Ejiofor is doing his job as a lawyer; where in the world would a legal practitioner be harassed because he represents an organisation?
"The Nigerian Army invaded and burnt his house on 2nd December 2019 and killed more than 10 people. After that, they were still trailing and harassing him. The whole world must hear because Nigerian government must get what they are looking for from IPOB," the statement said.
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law in a statement on Sunday said it had received distress calls from lawyers working in the Law Firm of Ejiofor (I.C. Ejiofor and Co), Abuja, "informing us that the combined team of armed soldiers, SSS (State Security Service) and police have surrounded the Oraifite nuclear and extended family houses of Barr ‘Onowu’ Ifeanyi Ejiofor and his siblings; and condoned off the entire exits and entries and placed the whole area under siege".
The statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair of the group, was titled 'Siege On Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s Family House: Nigerian Government Must Stop This Madness!'
The statement said, "The latest armed violence from the government of Nigeria started some minutes before 3am early morning of today being Sunday, 6th June 2021 and Intersociety was alerted around some minutes before 4am, leading to issuance of this urgent statement.
"We also managed to reach Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor on phone and he confirmed the attack, saying that 'soldiers, joined by police and SSS operatives are shooting in different directions and are about breaking into his main compound'.
"He also said that 'he heard the distress voices of his village neighbours panicking and crying, indicating that they must have been abducted and they are likely to include early morning neighbourhood sales attendants and those returning from church vigils, etc.
"The activist lawyer also suspected that some members of his family including security and domestic aides might have been abducted and that he had returned home for the weekend yesterday evening and only informed the Oraifite Area Commander (ACP Afolabi) and a few others that he was around.
"It must be recalled that Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, his siblings and their family houses in Oraifite, Ekwusigo, Anambra State were ferociously attacked on 2nd Dec 2019. His heavily pregnant wife narrowly escaped having miscarriage and later delivered miraculously. The attacks had taken place on the said 2nd December, 2019 immediately after the family’s outing church service held for his late brother, a priest of the Anglican Church.
"Barr Ejiofor also narrowly escaped being killed by soldiers and police. In the end, five persons including his domestic aides were shot and killed and scores of others injured. The irate youths of the community protested angrily near the Community’s Market Square leading to loss of two principal police officers. The Nigerian Government swiftly deployed troops and burnt down 22 properties including a dozen family houses and 10 sales stores. Following the ferocious attacks, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor went underground for months and shut down his law offices in Abuja, Nnewi, etc.
"We therefore call on Nigerian Government and the country’s Muslim-dominated and controlled security forces to stop this madness and crudity. By these crudities, the Nigerian Government is setting the country on fire the more and this is what Intersociety, as an expert rights group, has kept telling the Nigerian Government since 2016. The crude method by Government of Nigeria including invasion of citizens’ homes at ungodly hours especially the dwelling homes of respected and legally recognisable persons and brazen violation of their rights to privacy and family is universally unheard of, despicable and condemnable. Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, as a respected member of the Nigerian Bar Association and licensed legal practitioner, is above board and beyond being treated as a duly investigated and indicted common criminal on the run.
"Also under Nigeria’s extant laws, applicable globally, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor and other licensed legal practitioners have right and duty to represent and defend any citizen or citizens or national or nationals irrespective of gravity of crime(s) alleged to have been committed. The security forces of Nigeria are hereby called upon to withdraw and discontinue their siege and follow due process. If Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor is legitimately wanted for any crime, due processes must be followed to the letter. This is more so when he called and informed the chief police officer in the area (ACP Afolabi) of his being around for a weekend rest. Therefore, if anything untoward happens to the lawyer and his family or properties including his family house and law offices, the world is being put on notice to hold the Nigerian Government responsible."