(… Coalition of 44 Eastern Rights CSOs & Intellectuals)
Turning The East Into Society Of Beasts & Barbarians:
The Coalition of 44 Eastern Nigerian Rights CSOs and Intellectuals has observed with deep shock, sadness and dismay the frightening moves by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba and the authorities of the Nigerian Army and other branches of the Armed Forces to turn Eastern Nigeria (Southeast and South-south Regions) into society of beasts and barbarians. The recent public utterances of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, are also clear and additional indication that the present Government of Nigeria has designated the two regions as “hatefully and religiously a must crush”. In other words, it appears to us that the two regions are hated and targeted on religious ground and marked for violent conquest and subjugation. The Coalition therefore makes bold to say that it will not allow the Acting IGP and the country’s Armed Forces to turn Eastern Nigeria into society of beasts and barbarians.
Nigeria Governed As ‘Islamic Republic’ Since 2015:
Members of the Coalition have followed the challenges to public security in the country and its six geopolitical zones as well as approaches to same adopted by the present Federal Government and we are deeply shocked and dismayed at how things have played out. The best way to understand the Government of Nigeria’s responses to insecurity is by taking a critical look at the ethnic and religious composition of the country’s 40 top security, defense, policing and justice executive positions and chairmen of their legislative oversights. A look at the 40 top posts clearly shows that 85%, if not 90% of same are Muslim controlled. In an evaluation of several studies relating to the above, done by the Coalition, it was found that Nigeria has since mid 2015 been governed as “Islamic Republic” and Government’s responses to security and safety of lives and properties are toeing the same line including imbalanced composition of the officer corps and other ranks of the country’s Armed Forces (i.e. Captain to Major General in the Army and their equivalents in other branches of the Armed Forces as well as SP to AIG in the Police and their equivalents in Paramilitaries and Intelligence Services). The same goes with their promotions and postings.
Generally speaking, the country’s present security forces are 80% Muslim controlled and in responses to security of lives and properties, Muslims and their regions are given more attention while the rest receive acutely less attention. Same thing goes with office appointments and contract awards as well as citizens’ treatment and recognition before the law and enforcement of same. It has become a common knowledge and order of the day for citizens of non Muslim faith such as Christians of Eastern Nigeria to be routinely made to undergo ethnic profiling and cleansing by the country’s Muslim dominated security forces. This is to the extent that in the Muslim held areas of the North, citizens including criminals are regularly treated as sacred cows whereas in the Christian held South and Northern parts, citizens are hatefully degraded and falsely or criminally labeled. This is worsened by deliberate flooding and takeover of key military and other security formations in Southeast and South-south by senior Muslim security officers.
Recent research reports done by our key Coalition member, Intersociety also lent credence to the facts above; to the extent that 90% of key military formations and 70%-80% of their police, intelligence service and paramilitary counterparts in Southeast and South-south as well as in Benue and Kogi States are headed by senior Muslim security officers and non Muslim others from Northern Nigeria. The Coalition is therefore sensing and fearing that Eastern Nigeria is remotely designated by the Government of Nigeria and its security forces and justice agency as “a major threat to widely suspected state jihad project” and therefore must be crushed under the cover of “anti ESN/IPOB operations”. Till today, Nigerian Government has failed to credibly prove that “IPOB/ESN” carried out the recent attacks in the two regions with fresh facts emerging and discrediting the Government’s claims. The Government of Imo State, for instance, has stated that “70% of over 400 citizens arrested over recent mayhem in the State are not Igbo or citizens of the two regions”; meaning that the attackers are likely linked to the Government or jihadists imported into the two regions. We also have reason to circumstantially believe that the Nigerian Government sees “ESN” as a major threat to its clandestine and policy support for jihadist activities of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in the two regions including forceful occupation of farmlands, bushes and forests and mass killings, abduction, rape and killing of Christian women or their forceful marriage and conversion to Islam.
IGP Usman Baba’s Savagely & Genocidal Comments
Going by the above, therefore, the Coalition is not surprised at the recent uncultured, frightening and genocidal comments and incitement by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman at the flag off of the so called “Operation Restore Peace” held in Enugu (on 18th May 2021) and Port Harcourt (on 19th May 2021). Going by unprintable things said by the Acting IGP including open threat and authorization of genocide against Christians of Eastern Nigeria, the Coalition wishes to conclude that such morally disreputable and savagely comments are literally jihad and ethnic cleansing enabler and therefore must not be taken for granted. The media link to the legally abhorrent and morally damning comments of the Acting IGP is attached here: https://punchng.com/ig-declares-war-on-biafran-agitators-criminal-elements/?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3XoXc8-ijKZqhES1mdB0u8SG0hmqOF50x962JDutj4MkS_JkC1q3QLwVA#Echobox=1621388986
The IGP Is Genocide Enabler:
The Coalition hereby designates the Acting Inspector General of Police as “Genocide Enabler”. He has also been blacklisted in the non charlatanistic Human Rights Community and soonest we shall take further steps to forward his name to relevant international human rights, diplomatic and intergovernmental quarters for their records and needful actions. The man “Usman Alkali Baba”, by his recent savagely comments; is a genocide enabler born in Geidam (newest Boko Haram hometown) in Yobe State on 1st March 1963 and was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on 15th March 1988 with enlistment number AP30462. He earned a degree in political science and became AIG on 12th July 2016 and Acting IGP on 6th April 2021 and will statutorily retire by 1st March 2023 or next 22 months
Strongly Oppose Unlawful Violence By State & Non State Actors:
It must be clearly and boldly stated that the Coalition is in strong condemnation of recent attacks on security personnel and target and destruction of key government facilities in Nigeria including Southeast and South-south and Muslim areas of Northern Nigeria; whether done by non state actors or clandestinely planted state actors or state backed or procured non state actors especially the imported jihadists in the two regions. Assuming, without conceding that such attacks are the handiwork of ‘unknown gunmen linked to a cross section of the Southeast and South-south population’ as a revenge against immediate past unaddressed atrocities by the country’s Muslim dominated security agencies against defenseless civilian populations in the two regions, resort to violent self help and Government’s reprisals is morally unjustifiable and condemnable.
Lives Of Defenseless Citizens Are Not Inferior To Lives Of Security Personnel: you
We strongly condemn a situation whereby it looks as if it is only the lives and safety of security personnel that matter in the country especially in Eastern Nigeria with little or no Government attention or priority given to killing, maiming and abduction of unarmed and defenseless citizens. The Government’s unwillingness and inability in this regard include blanket protection and cover for the perpetrators; totality of which clearly runs contrary to essential reason why Government and security agencies were created or put in place. We are also strongly opposed to grossly lopsided citizens’ security and protection arrangements by the present Government of Nigeria; arrangements widely perceived to favor Muslims of the North and the Southwest especially the Muslim Fulani population and hostile to Christians of the South and the North.
It Is Jungle Justice Security In Christian Eastern Nigeria:
It also saddens our heart that the Acting Inspector General of Police and the authorities of the Armed Forces particularly the Nigerian Army have deliberately and hatefully abandoned rule of law, due process and human rights and humanitarian obligations or commitments clearly outlined in the 1999 Constitution and the country’s signed and ratified or domesticated rights treaties (treaty laws) and resorted to use of jungle justice in the East such as transfer of criminal responsibility, killing of uninvolved or innocent citizens at will and at sight and falsely labeling them “IPOB/ESN members”. These they further do by embarking on mass murder and abduction and indiscriminate custodial killings as well as indiscriminate torture and disappearances. They have even gone to the extent of issuing and using ‘instant death’ on any unarmed and defenseless citizen showing support for self determination activities of the pro Biafra movements or anyone found wearing or using their insignia or symbol including flag, bangle, faze cap, T-shirt, necklace, etc; as well as adherents of the Jewish religion and the African Instituted Churches.
It is Pampering, Amnesty & State Cover Security In Muslim Northern Nigeria:
Contrarily, in the North, same security chiefs are routinely seen dinning and winning with jihadist terrorists or jihadist bandits as well as pampering them or taking group photos with those of them wielding AK-47s or offering them amnesty and supervising ransom payments to them, etc. From several studies evaluated by the Coalition, more security personnel are killed by Muslim jihadists in the North than in the East. In the recent report by the US based Global Rights, Nigeria lost 340 security personnel to armed violent attacks across the country from January to April 2021, and it was further observed that over 200 of the security personnel were killed in the North alone. These did not include hundreds of victims of widely suspected ethnically and religiously motivated in-service military killings. In the same North, Islamic Jihadists have raided and taken over several government facilities and properties including recently reported invasion and takeover of military lands in Niger State.
Coalition Formed To Document And Expose Genocidal Operations In The East:
This Coalition was therefore formed for purpose of monitoring, documenting and exposing gross rights abuses and violations across the East (S/S and S/E), perpetrated and perpetuated by violent state and non state actors as well identifying and having their perpetrators exposed, blacklisted and sanctioned locally and internationally. The security chiefs deployed to the East still have the golden opportunity of not getting involved in grisly rights violations and abuses. The Coalition also remains strongly opposed to flooding of the East with senior military, police and intelligence officers of Muslim extraction. We can only support competent, intelligence base and human rights compliant security operations anywhere in the country including the East. The ongoing joint military and police operations in the East are therefore totally rejected on account of the fact that they are genocide enabler and human rights abusive in large scale including extrajudicial killings, abductions and air bombardments, etc targeted at harming defenseless and unarmed civilian populations in the two regions.
Eastern Communities Attacked By Military & Police:
Among the Eastern communities physically and psychologically targeted and attacked in January 2021 by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Air Force and the Nigeria Police Force are communities of Ubokoro-Atta, Okporo, Uda Orsuihiteukwa and Okwudor and others located in Orlu, Njaba, Oru East and Orsu Local Government Areas in Imo State and Orsumoghu, Lilu, Ukpor, Unubi, etc in Ihiala and Nnewi South Local Government Areas of Anambra State. Others raided and attacked in April 2021 include Ohaji, Osu, Agwa and Izombe, etc in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State and between April and this month of May 2021, Onicha-Igboeze Community and neighboring others in Ebonyi State and Etche, Iriebe and Obigbo Communities as well as Port Harcourt and Borokiri in Rivers State and several others in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States have come under heavy military and police attacks including killings and late night abduction of dozens of defenseless citizens who have been disappeared without traces till date. Few days ago, there were reports of resumption of military air bombardments and ground troops’ killings and abductions in the Communities of Amuzi and Odenkwume and other neighboring communities in Ihite/Uboma Local Government Area as well as Arondizogu and neighboring others in Ideato North Local Government Area, all in Imo State. Urban areas in the East are also not spared and they include Owerri, Orlu, Aba, Ohafia, Onitsha, Nnewi and their environs, etc. In those areas, hundreds of unarmed and defenseless citizens have been abducted and disappeared till date and dozens killed extra-judicially in custody and at sight. According to Intersociety, “the operatives of Nigerian Army, Navy and Police drafted in the Southeast and South-south since January 2021 have extra-judicially killed no fewer than 50-60 unarmed citizens and arrested or abducted between 1500 and 2000 others, out of which the whereabouts of over 500 have remained unaccounted for till date. They are likely to have been shot and killed or tortured to death in custody or captivity”. There are also no concretely available pieces of evidence showing that the abducted or the arrested are being tried in Court.
Eastern Governors Must Protect Their Citizens Or Be Held Accountable: you
The Coalition strongly reminds the Eastern Govs particularly Govs of Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Anambra States that they are primarily responsible for the security of lives and properties in their various States including accountability to the residents of their States over the conduct and actions of the drafted security forces. They are also reminded not to forget that the Coalition, its international partners and the international community will hold them accountable alongside the ‘Genocide Enabler’ Acting Inspector General of Police and all police and military commanders posted to the two region and those in charge of their High Commands. They must account for all human rights abuses including crimes against humanity or ‘war crimes’ and other internationally prohibited acts perpetrated by Nigerian government security forces under their watch. The Governors must rise to the occasion by ensuring that security, safety and rights of the citizens under their care and watch, especially the defenseless, unarmed and law abiding are protected all the time without excuses.
How To Document & Report Human Rights Abuses In The East
The Coalition hereby appeals to community/town union, church and CBO leaders and activists and human rights compliant security operatives, media and rights activists across the East to take up the humanist responsibility of monitoring, documenting and reporting the atrocious conducts of the Nigerian security forces particularly soldiers of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and state backed jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in their areas. These include late night invasion of dwelling houses or destruction or burning of same and associated properties; indiscriminate arrest of unarmed and defenseless citizens as well as shooting, wounding, killing, abduction or disappearing them. Others are sexual violence against women by security forces or jihadist Fulani Herdsmen such as abducting and raping them or raping them to death and disappearing their slain bodies. Victims’ basic information needed include full name, gender, age, marital status, occupation, village, community, local government and state of origin; time of the rights violation and location of same and those or names of security personnel/agencies that perpetrated the rights abuses or violations. Verified videos and photos can also be included. Such rights abuse information can be sent on behalf of this Coalition to: email@example.com or to the following WhatsApp links: +2348174090052 or +2348035372962. Protection of senders’ identities is ultimately assured.
For: The Coalition of 44 Eastern Rights CSOs & Intellectuals
Barr Austin Okeke-Global Leader, Igbo Board of Deputies (Worldwide)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, M.Sc., Board Chair, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and 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)
Dr. Onyenkachi Orjiako, Esq.-Rep, Int’l Society for War Against Lawlessness (USA)
Mazi Obi Okoli-Coordinator, Congress of Igbo Leaders UK & Ireland
Dr. Law Mefor-Chancellor, Igbo Bu Igbo (IBI)
Dr. Okezie Kelechi-ED, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation
Dr. Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro-Deputy Chair, Int’l Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative
Comrade Chilos Godsent- President, Igbo National Council
Barr Ezekwike Chekwube Violet-Founder, New Home Mentoring & Dev Initiative
Comrade Aloysius Attah-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, Founding President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Comrade Justine Ijeomah-ED, Human Rights Social Dev and Environmental Foundation(HURSDEF)
Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State
Comrade Peter Onyegiri-ED, Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy
Comrade Nnana Nelson Nwafor-ED, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev.
Pastor Nwokocha Anozie Innocent-ED, Initiative for Ideal Dev and 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
Nze UgoAkpe Onwuka (Oyi)-National Coordinator, Igbo Renaissance Forum
Dr. Kanayo K. Odeluga-Leader, Igbo League, Inc., USA
Assoc. Prof Nathaniel Agu, University Don, Enugu
Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Human Rights Lawyer & Principal Partner, I.C. Ejiofor and Co, Abuja
Dr. Odiegwu Obidike, Founder, No More Killings and Enslavement of Nigerians Movement
Barr Chinwe Umeche, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist
Agu Ositadimma, Human Rights Activist, Enugu, Nigeria
Barr Chigbo Uzokwelu, President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Barr Chidimma Evan Udegbunam, Publicity Head, Southeast Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Groups
Vincent Onyekwelu, M.Sc., National Security Risk Strategist and Governance Expert
Chief Mrs. Chika Ibeneme, Founder, Igbo women Elders Council and Former Commissioner for Works, Anambra
Nze Odimegwu Onwumere, Independent Scholar, Critic and Publisher
Comrade Zulu Offoelue, Human Rights Activist and Independent Scholar
Comrade Denis Ezeokoli, Human Rights Activist and Educationist
Hon Abia Onyeike, Human Rights Campaigner and Former Commissioner for Information, Ebonyi State
Chief Mrs. Ifenynwa Ezenwa, Publicity Head, Nigerian Women Elders Council
Ike Nwandu, Computer Security Expert and Public Affairs Analyst
Arc Eric Eyutchae, Human Rights Activist, Social Thinker and Critic
Comrade Styv Obodoekwe, Zonal Director, Civil Liberties Organization, South-south, Port Harcourt
Bernhard Wanner, Swiss born Human Rights Defender, Zurich, Switzerland