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Case History: Justus Ijeoma

Status: 
Assaulted
About the situation

On 9 February 2015, human rights defenders Messrs Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah were brutally assaulted and seriously injured by members of the police in the Inland Town Police Station in Onitsha, Anambra State, on the orders of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO). Following the assault, they were kept in unlawful detention at the police station and denied access to medical treatment. They were released the following day and are currently receiving medical treatment for their injuries.

About Justus Ijeoma

Justus IjeomaJustus Ijeoma is a member of the Anambra State branch of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO). CLO is a human rights organisation and member of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), which is committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights.

12 February 2015
Severe physical assault by Nigerian police on human rights defenders Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah

On 9 February 2015, human rights defenders Messrs Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah were brutally assaulted and seriously injured by members of the police in the Inland Town Police Station in Onitsha, Anambra State, on the orders of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO). Following the assault, they were kept in unlawful detention at the police station and denied access to medical treatment. They were released the following day and are currently receiving medical treatment for their injuries.

On the day of the assault, Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah went to the police station after being informed that five women had been re-arrested and detained at the station on 9 February 2015. The five women were detained when they presented themselves in compliance with their bail conditions, and were told that the decision to grant them bail had been revoked, but the money that they had paid for the bail was not returned. The women had originally been arrested and detained on 6 February 2015 when they were engaged in a verbal altercation with a man on the street.

Reportedly, when the human rights defenders arrived at the station, they confronted the DPO regarding the alleged extortion and abuse of authority committed against the women. It is reported that although the District Coordination Officer (DCO) was present and admitted that he had collected this money from the women, the DPO ordered the arrest and detention of Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah. Justus Ijeoma was denied permission to call his colleagues to inform them of the arrest. Allegedly, the officers then grabbed Obi Efediorah and hit his head violently against the wall. The human rights defender fell and the officers attempted to forcibly undress him, but he resisted. Justus Ijeoma and Obi Efediorah were dragged into a cell, and one of the police officers hit Justus Ijeoma on the head with a sharp object, causing intense bleeding. Reportedly, the officers also broke Justus Ijcoma's ipad. Allegedly, the DCO participated in the beatings while the DPO supervised the incident.