In line with our core formative objective and firm promise of getting justice for thousands of the victims of the Army and Police conduct atrocities in Nigeria since 2015, involving: crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other internationally prohibited acts-clearly defined in various regional and international instruments acceded to by Nigeria; the Eastern Nigerian Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition has dragged the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai and over 20 other serving and retired Army or Military and Police chiefs including the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major Gen Ibrahim Attihiru to 31 foreign missions in Nigeria. The respected foreign missions petitioned through their Ambassadors and High Commissioners are the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS and Ambassadors of its 18 Member-States; and the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of 13 key Member-States of the United Nations spread across Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The names of the petitioned 31 key foreign missions are the Head of Delegation of EU and the Ambassadors of Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Sweden. Others are the High Commissioners of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada and the Ambassadors of the United States, Israel, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria. As at the end of work on Wednesday, 10th Feb 2021, the letters have been successfully delivered and received by 25 of the 31 key foreign missions, remaining France, Greece, Denmark, Portugal, Hungary and Australia.
The seven-page letter was jointly signed by 27 individual/group members of the Coalition and captioned: Time For Buratai & Over 20 Others To Face International Justice & Diplomatic Sanctions For Crimes Of Genocide, War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity Perpetrated Against Thousands Of Defenseless Civilians In Nigeria. The signatories to the letters who also signed this joint statement include: Emeka Umeagbalasi (M.Sc.), Board Chair, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Prof Anthony Ejiofor-Chairman, World Igbo Congress (USA), Prof Uzodimma Nwala-President, Ala-Igbo Dev Foundation (ADF), Prof Justice Chidi-President, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative, Prof Justin Akujieze-Board Chairman, Ekwenche Research Institute (USA), Dr. Moses Nwaigwe-President, Biafra Genocide Survivors Group (USA), Austin Okeke, Esq.-Global Leader, Igbo Board of Deputies (Worldwide), Mercy Alu, PhD-Executive Coordinator (Research), the Int’l Association of African Authors & Scholars (USA), Dr. Onyenkachi Orjiako, Esq.-Rep, Int’l Society for War Against Lawlessness (USA) and Maazi Obi Okoli-Coordinator, Congress of Igbo Leaders UK & Ireland.
Other signatories are: Dr. Law Mefor-Chancellor, Igbo Bu Igbo (IBI), Dr. Okezie Kelechi-ED, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation, Dr. Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro-Rep, Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative, Comrades Chilos Godsent & Zulu Ofoelue-Reps, Igbo National Council, Ezekwike Chekwube Violet, Esq.-Founder, New Home Mentoring & Dev Initiative, Comrade Aloysius Attah-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Nigeria and UK), Comrade Justine Ijeomah-ED, Human Rights Social Dev & Environmental Foundation(HURSDEF), Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State, Comrade Peter Onyegiri-ED, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Comrade Alex Olisa-Rep, Southeast Good Governance Forum, Comrade Nnana Nelson Nwafor-ED, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev., Comrade Nkwocha Anozie-ED, Initiative for Ideal Dev & Emancipatory Leadership, Comrade Emeku Uche-Rep, Easy-life Initiative for Rural Youths , Comrade Samuel Njoku-Chair, Human Rights Organization of Nigeria, Comrade Ngwobia O. Ngwobia-Rep Primate Salvation Initiative and Nze UgoAkpe Onwuka (Oyi)-National Coordinator, Igbo Renaissance Forum.
The Eastern Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition had in the letter drawn the attention of the respected Ambassadors and High Commissioners to grievous rights abuses and violations perpetrated under the seal of, or by the immediate past Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai and over 20 others including the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major Gen Ibrahim Attahiru. The respected envoys were also informed that the named perpetrators have severally been gravely and factually accused by respected local and international rights groups and other activists of being directly or vicariously involved in the referenced heinous crimes while in office between August 2015 and Jan 26, 2021. The envoys were also notified about attempts by the Government of Nigeria to ‘shield and protect’ some of the perpetrators from criminal prosecution or being locally and internationally held to account. This, the Nigerian Government has done by nominating them (Buratai, Olanisakin and Sadique) as ‘non-career ambassadors’.
The respected envoys were further told that among the most recent heinous crimes perpetrated by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army was secret execution on religious and ethnic grounds of six Igbo Christian soldiers on Monday, 25th Jan 2021. Before their secret execution following trumped up Court Martial, the slain were attached to the Armory Department of the Nigerian Army, located in Abacha (Mogadishu) Barracks in Asokoro, Abuja. The slain Igbo Christian soldiers are Prince Ukwuoma, son of a traditional ruler; Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu. Challenged to publicly produce the soldiers hale and hearty, the Nigerian Army and its immediate past Chief, Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai have refused and failed to do so till date. The duo had also failed till date to disclose the whereabouts of another Igbo Christian soldier, (Trooper) Azunna Mmadubuichi who was controversially convicted and sentenced to death by a Martial Court in Northeast State of Borno in Jan 2021 and another Christian soldier, Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini, who has gone missing after he was taken into Army custody sometime around July or August 2020 for criticizing (in video) the immediate past Army Chief (Buratai) and the Army’s poor handling of counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast.
The Coalition had also in the letters to the 31 key foreign missions catalogued and highlighted 19 massacres perpetrated by the named perpetrators under Retired Lt Gen Tukur Buratai as Chief of Army Staff, between 30th August 2015 and 26th Jan 2021 and enlosed the names of the key perpetrators as well as electronic links to some of the reports on the perpetrated atrocity crimes.
The Coalition respectfully prayed and demanded from the respected envoys that: the named perpetrators especially Retired Lt Gen Tukur Buratai must face prosecution and life jail at ICC or in national courts located in any foreign country operating int’l criminal jurisdictions on crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; that int’l Governments including the petitioned and Intergovernmental agencies should ensure that the perpetrators are declared and treated as “persona non gratae” and slammed with appropriate international or diplomatic sanctions including being made ineligible and pariahs in all regional and international military, policing and other security or diplomatic engagements especially those involving corporate and individual or intergovernmental consultancies, contracts, partnerships, exchange visits, awards, honours, presentations, board or institution appointments, holidays, etc as well as denying them and their families visas, freezing their accounts and seizing or confiscating their assets abroad. Others are arresting them and taking them into custody for prosecution for directly or vicariously perpetrating internationally prohibited acts if sighted anywhere in the Home Countries of the respected envoys or those of their key allies as well as refusing to accredit ‘ambassadorial’ nominees among them or treating them as ‘pariah ambassadors’ including handing them to ICC or any regional criminal court for trial if indicted and declared wanted; in the event they dishonourably and desperately have their ways as “Nigerian ambassadors” to such countries.
Finally, the Coalition also in the letters drew the attention of the respected envoys on the need for them to be aware and extremely careful over a litany of attempts by the atrocity crimes perpetrators and the Nigerian Government especially the immediate past Army Chief to cover up their heinous atrocities by media hyping; recruitment and oiling of ‘pro bloodshed activists’ or ‘Government/Army “Human Rights Contractors” or “activists” operating in different disguises including mushroom “rights groups”, “research centers” and “columnists”. Such soiled characters have not only been responsible for series of negative writings and media attacks against the likes of Amnesty International and others, but have also been hired by Government to write or submit counter petitions in higher places within and beyond borders in favor or in defense of the named atrocity crimes’ perpetrators.