…killed over 50 in Imo in August, 550 since Jan, disappeared 850 and abducted or unlawfully arrested and falsely labelled 3,400
Thursday, 2nd September 2021
The Nigerian security forces especially soldiers of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and their principal and field officers have continued to channel over 80% of the country’s security energies and resources towards launching and sustaining genocidal attacks on members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality and their close door neighbours in the South-south, leading to wanton killings and loss of properties that have never constituted security threats or identified as wartime military necessities. The saddest of it all is that over 90% of those killed are innocent and defenceless Igbo citizens whose lives were exchanged in place of armed members of the Eastern Security Network and unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra. With over 90% of their principal and field officers in the East being Northern Muslim officers and the same with many, if not most of their field operatives, the Nigerian security forces have as a result since January 2021 let loose on innocent and defenceless Igbo populations, randomly killing and disappearing them in their multiple hundreds or mass abducting, torturing and executing several of them in custody or captivity. Also over 90% of public information by Police and the Army concerning the above have independently been found to be false and hatefully fabricated. They included “the recent killing of scores of ESN members in their hideouts and recovery of arms in Imo” and “military kills car snatching IPOB-ESN Bandits in Imo”. In all these, the innocent and defenceless are the target and the victims.
Therefore, going by our updates, no fewer than 550 mostly innocent, defenceless and unarmed citizens of Eastern Nigeria belonging to Igbo Ethnic Nationality have been killed since January 2021 and the number is 660 if added to the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions of Oct-Nov 2020. The number of the abducted or unlawfully arrested citizens has also risen to 3,350 with no fewer than 850 others disappeared. In August 2021 alone no fewer than 50 were killed in Imo particularly in old Orlu and Owerri Zones and between January and August 2021, the State had recorded not less than 200 deaths. It remains our finding too that out of a fraction of “ESN operatives” killed so far, over 60% were randomly killed unarmed or abducted unarmed and killed in custody or captivity. In the case of the arrested or killed “IPOB members”, 99%, if not all were unarmed at the point of their arrest or abduction. A clear case in point was the recent torturing to the death of three alleged IPOB members: Obinna Iroegbula, Onyebuchi and Sydney at the Ebonyi State CID.
Also between June and early July 2021 fifty-seven (57) arrested Igbo citizens including Citizen Cletus Ebole were killed in custody at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters’ IRT, Abuja and their bodies disappeared. Hundreds, if not thousands of uninvestigated and untried Igbo citizens are still languishing in police and military custody or held secretly captive for the past eight months or more without trial. For instance, Pastor Ebele Lemoha and Uche Ekwuoha, arrested since January-March 2021 are still held incommunicado at Abuja’s former FSARS, now FCIB- IRT; likewise four married Igbo women with children and still in different stages of reproductive age. They are Mrs Maria Ezedialu, abducted in Owerri since Feb 2021, Mrs Ngozi Umeadi, a nursing mother arrested at a hospital in Onitsha since Feb 2021, Mrs Ngozi Dave, abducted in Lagos since three months ago and presently has her legs and hands battered by leg chains and handcuffs; and Mrs Ifeyinwa Ebole, arrested since March 2021 along with her husband, Cletus Ebole who was accused of “being ESN native doctor” and was among the 57 detainees secretly executed in the IRT captivity.
Further, apart from the abominable and atrocious operational method of “kill them because they are brothers or sisters or spouses or parents or relatives of ESN members” by Nigerian security forces; a clear case of criminal stigmatization, labelling and transfer of criminal liability-all prohibited in written criminal and human rights laws in Nigeria; they have also introduced arson and other forms of property burning and destruction into their operational modus in the East-to the extent that they now go about setting citizens houses and properties including dwelling houses, hotels, church buildings, traditional sanctuaries and their symbols of worship on fire or have them destroyed irreplaceably and irreparably. It is shocking and alarming that the same security forces have turned blind eyes and watched idly the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen wreaking havoc on forests, bushes and farmlands located in the East including killing innocent and defenceless Igbo citizens, abductions, raping and disappearing young Igbo women and violently taking over and occupying the invaded forests, bushes and farmlands.
It is so shocking and alarming that the Nigerian security forces in some, if not in many cases are evidentially found providing buffers for the Jihadists-to the extent of invading and laying siege on some communities including their forests, bushes and farmlands and discreetly inviting the Jihadists to take over and occupy the militarily invaded, wrecked and cleared Igbo communities particularly their forests, bushes or farmlands. It is also our investigative finding that the official and discreet declaration of war of ‘kill anybody in the East bearing Igbo native name or Igbo Christian name and label him or her ESN-IPOB member’ is now far from “crushing or suppressing secessionists” but for purpose of deploying heavy state power and resources against the ESN for taking defensive counter-measures against Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. This, the Nigerian Government is reported to have found offensive and considered same as a serious threat to Islamization of Igbo Land and their Judeo-Christian-Traditional faith as well as the entire Southern Nigeria using the Sudanese Janjaweed styled non-state actor-state actor conspiratorial jihad uprising methodologies.
It must be recalled, therefore, that the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law has for years or since its formation in 2008, remained strongly opposed to resorting to criminal and offensive violence by state actors and non-state actors and had also severally warned the Nigerian Government against the use of structural, cultural and physical violence, such as resorting to ethnic hatred and profiling, religious intolerance/violence and political exclusion in the conduct of its public affairs. Today, it is not only that all of the above have played out but also dangerously added are jungle justice and conduct atrocities-officially declared recently against members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality by the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Alkali Baba Usman.
These clear-cut crimes against humanity and internationally prohibited acts include reckless criminal labelling and stigmatization, mass abductions, electronically or telephonically tracking friends and associates of the abducted Igbo citizens and criminally labelling and stigmatizing them and getting them abducted or killed in military or police custody, random killings, shooting-at-sight, arresting citizens unarmed and killing them on the spot or in custody or captivity, routinely torturing detained Igbo citizens to death or to the point of physical disfiguration, sexually abusing detained young Igbo women including raping them to death or to the point of unconsciousness, disappearing the abducted Igbo citizens, detaining the arrested Igbo citizens for several months or more than one year without trial; custodial starvation of detained Igbo citizens and denying them proper medication and access to their lawyers, doctors and families including spouses, parents and children.
Finally, our findings have also continued to show that over 90% of those labelled and shot dead have nothing whatsoever to do with “ESN militancy” and were killed because of their tribe and religion. Strong evidence further indicates that soldiers and police operatives have not only hatefully continued to exchange lives of the innocent and defenceless Igbo citizens in place of “ESN members” but also placed death code on unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Igbo citizens in general-thereby making any person bearing native Igbo name or Igbo Christian name a potential victim of the military and police killings or abductions or torture or disappearances.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
Principal Officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi,
Chinwe Umeche Esq.,
Obianuju Igboeli Esq.,
Chidimma Udegbunam, Esq.
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