AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari,
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,
RECKLESS IMPUNITY AND HIGH-HANDEDNESS OF GOVERNOR UMARU TANKO AL-MAKURA AND HIS SECURITY DETAIL
We are solicitors to Lois Ngi Iorvihi (hereinafter referred to as ‘our client’) on whose instructions we write you this open letter.
Our client has briefed us that she is a businesswoman resident in Abuja. On the 10th day of September, 2015, our client was driving back to Abuja from Makurdi where she attended a funeral ceremony. She was in the company of her elder sister (Joy Iorvihi), her brother (Joseph Iorvihi) and her 3-year old niece (Lianater Iorvihi). Owing to the deplorable state of the roads and the various dangerous bends, our client had to exercise great care to avoid any road accident in the course of the journey. As our client approached Nasarawa Eggon Town, a motorcycle escort rider with blaring sirens overtook her and started swerving dangerously in front of her. Our client was startled and tried to veer off the road to accommodate the oncoming convoy without plunging her car into the deep ditches that lined both sides of the road. As our client was trying to do this, an SUV pulled up beside her and forcefully edged her out of the narrow road and she eventually managed to bring the car to a stop with her car’s right front tyre hanging on the edge of the ditch.
Our client further briefed us that before she could regain her composure following the incident, about four armed mobile Policemen jumped down from the vehicle and pounced on her car, pounding her car with rifles and forcing her to open the car door. When our client’s brother tried to entreat the Policemen, they equally pounced on him and pummeled him with the butt of their rifles. Our client’s elder sister was also the subject of beatings as she was suspected of taking pictures of the unfolding event. All the mobile devices in the vehicle including mobile phones, ipads and cameras were smashed to pieces on the road. In the meantime, the other Policemen had dragged our client out of her car amidst her protestations about the unfairness of the entire exercise. In the midst of the pandemonium, our client was asked to go and see the “Oga”. On approaching, the “Oga’s” SUV, she discovered it was Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State. On discovering this, our client heaved a sigh of relief as she expected the Governor to call the Policemen to order but contrary to our client’s expectations, the Governor started berating her to the effect that her knee-length gown was too skimpy and that she was dressed like a prostitute. He further alleged that our client was rude for not removing her car from the road when she heard the sirens. When our client expressed her dissatisfaction with the Governor’s position on the matter, the Governor told her to do whatever she wanted to and that she could take the matter to any length or go to hell. The Governor’s ADC whose name tag bore the name “Ringim” also told our client that she could do nothing and that he was not afraid of her as she was a rat. After series of insults and derogatory remarks, he pushed our client away and they zoomed off.
While the Governor’s convoy was driving away, our client’s younger brother (Jerry Iorvihi) who was also on his way from Makurdi, arrived at the scene with his family and together with onlookers and sympathisers, they tried to rescue the injured. Immediately the convoy of the Governor zoomed off, a truck of policemen arrived the scene and fired gunshots to disperse the horde of onlookers and sympathisers. When Jerry Iorvihi insisted on assisting our client, he was also beaten up and the Policemen arrested all of them (our client, her daughter and her two brothers, Jerry Iorvihi’s pregnant wife, 3-year old Lianater Iorvihi, Joy Iorvihi and their nanny) for obstructing the Governor’s convoy and took them to Nasarawa-Eggon Divisional Police Station where they were detained till 6:30pm before they were moved to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Lafia on orders from “above”. On their arrival at the SCIID, Lafia, our client was asked by a senior police officer to write a letter of apology to the Governor as a condition for their release. Our client refused to do this as she has done nothing wrong to occasion the ill-treatment which was meted out to her and her family. On that account, our client and her family were detained at the SCIID, Lafia till the next day around noon when her car keys were unceremoniously handed over to her and she was asked to go.
Your Excellency, the foregoing scenario is the exact reason why Nigerians embraced the mantra of change which propelled your Excellency to victory in the last elections. With the sterling example shown by your Excellency since assuming power, we had hoped that the era of reckless impunity and high-handedness by both elected and career public servants would have been extinguished but it would appear that old habits die hard.
The purpose of this petition is to inform you of this event and respectfully urge you to direct an investigation into the occurrence with a view to bringing to book all those whose conducts are in breach of our nation’s laws.
We repose confidence in your office.
For: Festus Keyamo Chambers
FESTUS UKPE, ESQ OKECHUKWU C UJU-AZORJI, ESQ