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Leo Igwe arrested

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Alan H
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Leo Igwe arrested

#1 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 8:33 am

I just got this in an email. Leo is director of the Centre for Inquiry in Nigeria and IHEU’s West African representative.

At about 7.30 am this morning a team of armed police men arrested Mr Leo Igwe humanist leader and his father and whisked them away to Zone 9 police AIG office in Umuahia. The police team was led by Dr Edward Uwa the university leacturer who raped a ten year old student Miss Daberechi Anongam.They were accompanied by Mr Ethelbert Ugwu a millionaire and financier of Dr Uwa.

About three years ago,Dr Uwa invited Ms Daberechi Anongam to do some house chores for him and forced her to bed,covering her mouth and raped her. She sustained several injuries in her private part. Leo Igwe and his family members led an intensive campaign for justice for Ms Daberechi. After a lot of intrigues,the police now started a prosecution on the matter at Ahiazu magistrate court Imo State.

Since then,Leo Igwe and his family have known no peace as several pettitions have been witten against them to intimidate them to submission and to abandon the struggle for justice. This latest one,they have been accused them of mudering an idividual who doctors provided a death certificate saying the man died of HIV and AIDS complication.

Leo and his father risk being tortured or murdered in police custody for his role seeking for justice for Ms Daberechi whose parents are very poor and cannot afford two meals in a day not to talk about paying legal charges.

We need to call the Police authorities in Nigeria about the risk of additional international outrage now that this fertile ground of religious bigotry and suppression of justice and human rights has already misled a citizen of ours to suicide in the name of God!

The numbers to call are : AIG Ringin: +2348033225349
PPRO Umuahia: +2347030988278
Com Aloy Okoro: +2348037217361

I am monitoring the situation closely and will report back.But anyone who is able to call will be helpful to scale up the pressure.

Aluta Continua Victoria Acerta!

Regards
Uche Igwe
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

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Alan H
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#2 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 10:32 am

From Josh Kutchinsky:
I have just spoken with Uche Igwe who is in Nigeria.

He told me he is very worried. As we were speaking he was also on the line to the police station in Umuahia. He said the one who petitioned the arrest was the same person who had raped this young girl. He went on to say that he was speaking with the public relations people in the police station as we were speaking and that he is concerned that there is a risk of Leo and his father being tortured.

He told me (and I think with the PR man listening in) that he is concerned that this young girl receives justice.

I told Uche that people around the world were concerned as to what was going on; that innocent people should not be held in prison; that there should be no torture or mistreatment of people and that justice must be seen to be done. I further said that we are watching very closely and are monitoring events and are grateful for all the news he can give us.

Uche thanked me and said he would continue to give us hourly updates.He said it might be a good idea to call the numbers again The first two AIG and PPRO he said are numbers to people who are directly in charge.

Uche asked me to call back and check that Leo has been granted bail, which is what he is pressing for and he also asked me to press the issue of justice for the young girl which lies at the bottom of all this.

Josh
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#3 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 11:22 am

Dear All,

I have just spoken to the PPRO. He said that Leo and his father are in a meeting with DC James Ogbonna in charge of crime. It will be important to alert the AIG Ringim +2348033225349 that the international friends are aware of the case of rape of Ms Daberechi Anongam and the desparation to obstruct justice by Eddy Uwa and Ethel Ugwu through frivilous petitions and phathom charges.

I am still following up.

Thank you all.

Uche
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#4 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 11:32 am

Just to say that Leo and his father finished meeting with the AIG Ringin and they are attempting to detain them and denied them acces to their lawyers who is at the police premesis at the moment.

We must keep the pressure for the war for justice is one that must be won.

Uche
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

David Pollock
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#5 Postby David Pollock » January 5th, 2010, 1:43 pm

I cannot get through to any of these phone numbers at present. Is there an email address that we can use? This would be especially useful for non-English speakers whom I can alert through the European humanist Federation network.

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#6 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 2:04 pm

David

I am getting all my information from Josh's Hummay Yahoo egroup. (Josh is out today and has made me a temporary moderator so I can quickly approve any messages.) I don't have an email address, but I'll ask.
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#7 Postby eran » January 5th, 2010, 2:17 pm

I used the fact that Leo often contributes to The Skeptic magazine (the Australian one) as an excuse to call the Australian mission in Nigeria. I spoke to a high ranking officer who was very sympathetic and promised to try to make informal inquiries to show the authorities that there is international interest in the case. If nothing else, this may help ensure Leo's safety. I will try to call the Nigerian embassy in Australia first thing tomorrow morning (it's 1:15AM here in Sydney).

Eran Segev
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#8 Postby Maria Mac » January 5th, 2010, 2:22 pm

Well done, Eran! Welcome to the forum and thank you for letting us know.

Welcome to you too, David.

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#9 Postby eran » January 5th, 2010, 2:29 pm

I just had a call from Margaret, the Consul at the Australian mission in Abuja. She had spoken to the chief of police in that station and he told her Leo was not under arrest but that there is a community issue and he was interviewed along with several other people in the course of investigating the issue. Apparently the police officer got quite a few calls from around the world, so is well aware of the international interest. Margaret is expecting a return phone call later on and will provide any additional information by email. I'll report back to the forum when I get up in the morning.

Eran

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#10 Postby David Pollock » January 5th, 2010, 4:17 pm

I've now got through four times to two of teh numbers without getting any explanation of what is going on but at least I have expressed grave concern and have been listened to courteously.

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#11 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 6:26 pm

I have heard from Nigeria team / Africa Programme / Amnesty International that Leo has been released.

I then spoke with Uche Igwe who is not in the region but is in Nigeria 10-12 hours drive away.

He has spoken to Leo. He says that Leo seemed exhausted but he believes he is in good health.
They paid something between 100 and 150 dollars for the bail.
Leo has a low battery on his mobile and therefore cannot be contacted for the moment. He plans to email as soon as he can.

I confirmed with Uche that the charge facing Leo and his father is that he murdered someone from the village. This man's death had been thoroughly investigated and the death certificate written up to confirm that the man had died as a result of complications from HIV/AIDS. The police have this death certificate. The man who is alleging that Leo and his family conspired to kill this man is the person who is under investigation for the rape of a young child.

Uche asked me to thank everyone for the efforts they have already made and would like us to continue to apply pressure for justice for this young girl.

I told Uche that I know that people have been very concerned with the safety and security of our man in West Africa, Leo Igwe, and his family. I told him that I am sure people will also want to support Leo in trying to ensure justice for this young girl.

Josh
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#12 Postby eran » January 5th, 2010, 9:38 pm

I got this email from the Australian Consul in Abuje:

I spoke to the Assistant Commander of Police in Umuahia region on a couple of occasions this afternoon on tel +234 8033225349. He said Leo had neither been arrested nor detained and also noted that he had been contacted by many international colleagues of Leo Igwe over the course of the day. He said it was not a police matter but rather a community situation, which also involved Leo's father and that the situation was being sorted within the community. I asked for a telephone number on which to contact Leo directly but the Assistant Commander could/did not provide a number. Do you have a Nigerian mobile number on which I can reach Leo directly? Most landlines in Nigeria do not work and internet/email access in many areas is limited.

I have nevertheless sent an email to the email address you gave me for Leo asking him to contact me and/or his colleagues, who are concerned for him, urgently but have not yet heard from him. We will continue to try to speak to him directly but any further contact details you can provide would help.

I will, of course, give her Leo's number and also try to contact him myself later today, when it's morning in Nigeria.

Eran Segev
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Australian Skeptics

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Alan H
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#13 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 10:20 pm

Eran

Thanks for joining and doing all this for Leo.

I'm more inclined to believe Leo's brother, but I suspect it'll take a while to get the full story. Josh knows Leo and I'm sure we'll get confirmation of exactly what has happened tomorrow.

I've been putting updates out on Twitter and there has been an enormous amount of support for Leo's plight.

Thanks again for everything you've done and I hope the Australian Consul in Abuje will keep monitoring the situation and asking questions.

Alan
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#14 Postby Alan H » January 5th, 2010, 11:22 pm

The latest news from Josh:
Article
I thought you might appreciate seeing this excellent article about Leo Igwe http://www.humanistlife.org.uk/2010/01/ ... -leo-igwe/ by Bob Churchill of the BHA

Latest News
Earlier this evening I spoke with Leo. He confirmed much of the details that had been given by his brother Uche during the day. If I understood him properly the arrest took place earlier than had been reported something like 5.30am (6.30 UK time) Whilst it is my understanding that neither he nor his father had been physically hurt, the mental strain must have been considerable. Leo told me that at some point a policeman demanded something from Oliver Igwe, his father, and threatened to shoot him if he did not comply right away. Leo said that throughout the day he was having to judge his reactions with extreme care in the face of verbal intimidation, shouting etc. and to endeavour to keep the situation calm.

The police who were questioning Leo did mention that they had had numerous telephone calls and enquiries from overseas and told him that a 'journalist' had phoned from the UK a number of times. The allegations made against the Igwe family which includes Leo, his father, Uche and two other brothers stem from Dr Edward Uwa who Miss Daberechi Anongam has said raped her when she was 10 years old. The Igwe family have, with others, been trying to get justice for Miss Anongam and her family. Various tactics such as the one employed today have been used to try and intimidate Leo, his family and others from trying to pursue justice in this case.

Whilst we have reported that Leo and his father have been released (leo said at around 4pm (5pm UK time) this afternoon on bail, this was as I understand it money required by those at the police station to grant a release from custody and the sum required was negotiated down from 700 or 800 dollars to a sum, which though still considerable was one that someone was able to provide being 100 to 150 dollars. Leo said that he was required to return to the police station next Monday to, I think he said, answer more questions.

The allegations of course without any foundation and it would be difficult to understand how the police could not know this. Apart from the fact that the death had been recorded in a death certificate as being due to complications further to HIV/AIDS dates at which Dr Uwa claimed that specifically Leo and Uche were involved in some way with this man's death were times when Leo was, I think he said on the other side of the country, or even maybe out of the country and Uche was in Glasgow UK !

Leo is calm but still passionate in his determination to ensure justice for the young girl and also for his family and friends who have been subjected to a series of intimidatory actions by Dr Uwa or his associate(s) over a considerable period of time.

Leo said that he would try and email and write about his experiences as soon as he can.

I know that several Hummay members responded in one way or another to the call for assistance. Other means of networking also came into play. I know that Leo and his family are very grateful for all that everyone did today. I am pleased to say that Amnesty International have shown an interest and I am sure you will all agree that we will need to maintain our vigilance until after Leo has seen the police again and these phoney allegations have been dismissed and he has been allowed to return home.


Best wishes to all,

Josh
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#15 Postby Alan H » January 6th, 2010, 5:05 pm

The latest from Josh:
I have just heard from Amnesty that they have been in touch with both Uche and Leo's father - but were unable to reach Leo himself.

They believe that Patrick (another Human rights defender and friend of Leo) spoke with him today. Patrick and the person from Amnesty both remain worried and will follow up with Leo and the lawyer.

Patrick, Amnesty understood, might accompany the Igwe family to the police station on Monday. And Amnesty will maybe also try and see if they can get another additional lawyer.

Josh
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#16 Postby Alan H » January 6th, 2010, 5:54 pm

Amnesty's view is that it is probably best to wait until Monday They say the police know there is international interest.
I know that IHEU and others, including Amnesty are try to judge the best way of supporting Leo and his family as well as highlighting and addressing the issues of harrassment and achieving justice for the young girl who was attacked.

After next Monday we may well be invited to lend our support to some form of protest addressed to the appropriate Nigerian authorities.

Watch this space

Josh
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#17 Postby Lifelinking » January 6th, 2010, 6:04 pm

Must say - I am impressed with the Australian Consul. Hope this is resolved safely and with justice.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#18 Postby Alan H » January 7th, 2010, 8:40 am

PRESS STATEMENT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MY ARREST: A ROUGH ROAD TO JUSTICE FOR A GIRL CHILD, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN NIGERIA

On Tuesday January 5, at about 7.00am some police officers and soldiers led by two crime merchants in my community, Edward Uwah and Ethelbert Ugwu stormed my family compound in Mbaise in Imo state in Southern Nigeria. They arrested me and my aging father. We were detained briefly at the local police station in Ahiazu before we were transfered to the zonal police headquarters in Umuahia. The officers threatened to beat us when we asked them to allow us to clean up and change our clothes. One of the soldiers brought out his gun and threatened to shoot my father when he wanted to make phone calls to alert other family members of our arrest. The police held us throughout the day without giving us food and water. At the zonal police headquarters in Umuahia, a police officer read a petition by Ethelbert Ugwu who alleged that in September 2009 I with my father, three brothers and one Mr Gregory Iwu conspired, murdered and attempted to conceal the murder of one Mr Aloysius Chukwu who died in September last year. According to family sources, Mr Chukwu died in a local hospital after a brief illness. We made statements in response to the allegations and were later released on bail. Since 2007 I have been working to ensure that Daberechi Anomgam and her family get justice following the rape of the 10 year old girl by Edward Uwah(55), a university teacher, in 2006. Since 2007, both Edward and Ethelbert have brought several police actions and framed allegations against me and my family members; against Daberechi and her family and a few members of the community opposed to their criminal schemes. My father, who is over 77 years old and with a failing health(he is diabetic), has been detained six times at the local and zonal police stations in connection with this case. Two of my brothers have been detained three times. And on one occasion in 2008, one of them was beaten and brutalized by soldiers and mobile police officers brought by Ethelbert Ugwu. Both Ethelbert and Edward have filed three civil suits against me and my family members including Daberechi’s father at three different courts claiming damages of over 500 million naira(3.3million dollars). They have written petitions calling for my brothers to be sacked from their jobs and expelled from the college. The police officers in Ahiazu and Zone 9 in Umuahia have aided and abetted these atrocious and criminal acts by their irresponsible handling of the case and their readiness to arrest and detain any one as long as they are given some money. On a particular occasion in 2008, my father was arrested by police officers sent by Edward Uwah as he was leaving the court premises after attending a sitting of one of the civil suits also filed by Edward Uwah. I got the information about 10.00pm the same day. I flew in from Ibadan the following day and on getting to the police station I was also detained. I never knew I was among those accused by Edward Uwa of breaking in and stealing. He alleged that we broken into his house and stole some items, and after that, scattered some juju and charms of the floor! I was released on bail. The petition ended there. Edward never produced any witnesses and the police never charged him for providing them with false information.

As a result of my efforts and those of other humanist and human rights activists and groups in Nigeria and across the world, Edward Uwah is currently standing trial at a local court for indecently assaulting Daberechi. So far, the plot by Ethelbert Ugwu to undermine the prosecution has failed. Last year, he obtained through a backdoor a fiat to prosecute the case against Edward Uwah. When I was informed about this, I got a lawyer to help Daberechi’s family apply for a withdrawal of the fiat. And in November, the Director of Public Prosecution in Imo state cancelled the fiat.

Unfortunately the police have refused to arrest and investigate Ethelbert Ugwu despite several petitions against him at Ahiazu and Zone 9 (Umuahia)police stations. When it comes to this case the police are part of the problem. Because most police officers do not carry out their duties with intergrity. When it comes to police arrest and investigation in Nigeria three things matter most: MONEY!MONEY!! MONEY!!!. In most cases, police officers carry out their investigation to favour whoever ‘mobilises’ them or gives them a bribe. The way you are treated at police stations is determined by how much you pay or are ready to pay the officers whether as a complainant or a suspect. And in my community like in other rural communities in Nigeria, most people are poor and cannot afford to bribe the police. Hence criminal minded individuals are having a field day with police officers and soldiers.

And this nonsense must stop.

Pressure must be brought to bear on police authorities in Nigeria so that they would stop all acts of harassment, intimidation, illegal detention, extortion of money from the members of my family and community including the family members of Daberechi Anomgam. Pressure must be brought on the police authorities so that they can carry out their jobs responsibly and immediately arrest, investigate and prosecute Ethelbert Ugwu, Edward Uwah and their partners in crime including the police officers and soldiers whom they have used over the years to raid my community, assault innocent citizens and obstruct justice.

And I want to state that no amount of intimidation, police action, extortion, harassment, legal suits, trump-up charges, fictitious and malicious allegations, petitions against me and my family members will stop me from fighting for justice for this girl child and for humanity at large

Leo Igwe, Owerri, Imo State, January 7 2010
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#19 Postby jaywhat » January 7th, 2010, 9:38 am

What a man.

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Alan H
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Re: Leo Igwe arrested

#20 Postby Alan H » January 7th, 2010, 12:55 pm

A background article Leo wrote a year ago: Police and the rest of us
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


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