THE Nigeria Police says 22-year-old Gloria Okolie was taken into custody for spying for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, had accused the office of the Inspector General of Police of attempting to frame up a girl, Glory Okolie, whose family had been looking for since June.
A statement on Sunday by Aremu Adeniran, Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, said she was nabbed in an operation with the military and other security forces.
Adeniran explained that the suspect took part in the attacks on security formations, critical infrastructure including INEC offices, and killing of security operatives in the South-East.
“The native of Umutanza in Imo was arrested as part of Operation Restore Peace efforts to break IPOB’s information, drugs and arms supply chain,” the spokesman said.
“Gloria Okolie is a member of IPOB/ESN in Imo State who worked closely with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri a.k.a “Onye Army”, one of the ESN commanders earlier declared wanted by the Police.
“Onye Army co-planned, coordinated and executed the assault on Imo State Police Command Headquarters and Imo State Headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).
“Her arrest and the revelations from her confession, assisted the Police in the arrest of “Onye Army”, a major breakthrough in the quest to restore law and order in the South-East region.”
The Police said Okolie used her gender and seemingly innocuous looks as camouflage to carry out espionage against military and police targets on behalf of IPOB/ESN.
The suspect, the Force continued, also received cash, drugs and weapons on behalf of IPOB/ESN and delivered same to their commanders in their camps.
Adeniran said she actively aided and abetted multiple acts of murder, arson and malicious damage to both private and public property by the ESN.
“A lot of the deadly and unfortunate attacks on security personnel and assets, with numerous fatalities, have the imprimaturs of Gloria Okolie, the spy girl of ESN militants.”
The Police added that the suspect will be charged to court at the end of investigation.
Daily Trust had reported that HURIWA said that a Force Headquarters’ statement declared the girl a terror suspect after civil rights campaigner, one Harrison Gwamnishu, had found her being allegedly converted to a maid for 72 days by the Police, was despicable, reprehensible and odious.
The rights group asked the IGP not to carry through with the “shameful plot of vendetta and frame up against an apparently distressed girl whose family have not seen for months after she was made to disappear by the police in Imo State.”
Okolie was said to have been arrested on June 17 by IRT officers in order to use her as bait to arrest her boyfriend, who is suspected to be a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Then, Gwamnishu, an activist and director-general of Behind Bars Human Rights Foundation, in a Facebook post, had said it was later discovered that Okolie was in the custody of IRT in Imo allegedly cooking and washing for the officers.
HURIWA described the police action as a clear case of criminal acts of human rights violations and abuses inflicted on a citizen of Nigeria on account of a mere suspicion that her purported boyfriend is a member of IPOB.
HURIWA further said that it finds the police statement, in which it stated that it has arrested ‘militants spy girl’, utterly irresponsible, insensitive, irrational and projects the Nigerian Police Force as a bunch of hostage takers.
The human rights group pointed out that Miss Okolie’s case was already public information regarding how she was illegally detained and allegedly made to work for the police in Imo State as a maid.
HURIWA said “it is disingenuous and imbecilic for the police through the Force headquarters to spew the following propaganda about the girl whose case was already in the public domain as someone being victimised by the police.”
The advocacy Group said “this act of unprofessional policing is one amongst the many reasons that the Nigerian police force has over the years self destroyed the public image of the police and has exposed the institution to International opprobrium and disgrace.”
HURIWA’s statement was signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, where it maintained that “it was disappointing that [this this is coming] at a time some people are beginning to think that the police has eventually decided to turn a new leaf.
The group accused the police of “openly performing government magic and attempting to foist and impose a strange and utterly senseless charge on an innocent girl that their operatives [have] held hostage for over 72 days and never contacted her family nor charge her to court against the constitutional provisions.”
HURIWA pointed out that the constitution presumes the girl as being totally innocent in the eye of the law “but this Nigerian police force that is utterly despicable kept her for many months and has only just issued a lame and tepid press Statement accusing the girl of being a spy.”