Twenty-six-year-old Nnamdi Emeh, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who is in police detention is being tortured, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Emeh, an Information Technology (IT) consultant to the Anambra State Police Command was in detention at the police force headquarters in Abuja from March 3, 2023, and later moved to Anambra State after he was arrested in Benin Republic.
It was earlier reported that the IT consultant was arrested for revealing shocking details about police extortion, torture, extrajudicial executions, and an organ harvesting ring involving senior police officers in Anambra state. Indeed, the Anambra police command had gained notoriety for alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance of suspects in custody.
Meanwhile, a police source with access to Emeh on Wednesday said that the suspect lamented being tortured by the personnel of the Anambra police command as they did not find anything incriminating about him to warrant being charged.
“Nnamdi Emeh’s message is that he is going through excruciating torture at the hands of Anambra police,” the source said.
“They did not find anything incriminating to charge him to court so they have resorted to torturing him, he is gasping for life as we speak.”
The police had accused the suspect of money laundering, unlawful possession of a firearm and other offences. According to a police statement, the corps member was also suspected of being responsible for defamation of character, fraud, and impersonation.
Last Monday, a coalition of civil society organisations called on the Nigerian Police Force to release Emeh or immediately charge him if found to have committed any crime.
The coalition said Emeh, who was transferred to Anambra State Police Command on Sunday, April 2, 2023, was facing further interrogation.
It raised the alarm over the safety and well-being of the suspect, saying some of his interrogators were senior police officers whom he had accused of seizing posh vehicles recovered from criminal suspects who were later executed in police custody.
The coalition said such “offends the principle of natural justice, which espouses that one should not be a judge in one’s own case”.
They insisted that he should either be released or charged with a recognised offence immediately.
The statement which was made available to SaharaReporters was signed by NOPRIN Foundation, Elixir Trust Foundation, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Avocats Sans Frontieres France (ASF France – Lawyers without Borders), Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF).
Others include Sterling Law Centre, the Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS), Access To Justice, and Rule of Law Advocacy and Accountability Centre (RULAAC).
The coalition stated, “We believe that Emeh Nnamdi could be at risk of ill-treatment or extra-judicial execution if he is not released or charged to court immediately.
“We believe that whistleblowers are vital for a transparent society. When exercising the right to inform and be informed and the right of people to the truth, whistleblowers play a crucial part. They are essential to awakening informed debate within public opinion, crucial to opening up investigation by journalists, and necessary for questioning decision-makers.
“Whistleblowers are a vital link in the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, transparency, accountability, social justice and the fight against corruption.”
The statement added, “Therefore, we are calling on the Nigerian police to: Immediately release and drop the charges against Mr. Emeh Nnamdi or charge him to court with a recognisable offence.
“The police authorities must end the intimidation, harassment and attacks on Mr Emeh, his family and friends.
“Ensure that the report of panel set up by the police authorities to investigate the allegation against top police officers in Anambra State is released promptly and everybody indicted prosecuted according to the law.”
But efforts to reach the spokesperson for the state police command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, for comment were not successful as he did not answer calls from SaharaReporters nor reply to a text message sent to him.