The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Wednesday berated the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, over what it said, was the premature announcement of the deaths of five missing site engineers in Effium, in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
It was reported, that a consultant engineering firm, Nelan Consultants, on November 3, 2021, deployed five engineers to a road project at Effium in Ebonyi.
The project was the rehabilitation of the Abakiliki Ring Road project but they went missing in the conflict-torn community.
Consequently, the HURIWA in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged the Governor and security agencies to ensure thorough investigations into the whereabouts of the missing engineers rather than declare their deaths before the fact.
The organisation also implored President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba to use his office to order search and rescue of the victims.
HURIWA‘s statement titled, ‘Alleged killing of site engineers: HURIWA raises objection, demands their immediate release alive by Ebonyi governor’, partly read, “The release of the bruised and emotionally destabilising news about the alleged death of the five engineers by the Governor during a security summit organised by Christian Association of Nigeria, Abakiliki chapter has left their families, friends and associates emotionally confused.
“The governor made this so-called revelation without reaching out to the families of the engineers just as the wives of the missing workers told HURIWA in Enugu that the governor did not notify them and till date, he has not demonstrated any believable steps to prove that indeed, their breadwinners are dead because the governor has neither produced the so-called killers nor the alleged burial sites.
“We were in expectation and are still in high expectation that it is the sole and primary responsibility of the government to throw their weight behind the plight of the families and friends of these victims so as to unravel the entire circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident and most importantly rescue them alive and unharmed.
“Perceiving a reasonable suspicion that the five missing engineers may have been forced to disappear by a yet to be ascertained individual owing to the fact that the governor only declared them dead and buried without consulting the families and yet failed to produce the burial sites, HURIWA demands the immediate release of the victims alive,” the group added.
The organisation also confirmed the identities of the engineers as: Nelson Onyemeh (Director and Partner of Nelan Consultants), Stanley Nwazulum, Ernest Edeani, IK Ejiofor and Samuel Aneke.