A human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the rule of Law (Intersociety) has lamented the violence unleashed by security forces on Biafra protesters.
In a press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, Anambra state, entitled: “Violent Suppression Of Nonviolent Protests In Nigeria: Buhari Must Heed EU’s Advice”, Intersociety decried what it termed as murder of 50 in violent suppression of non-violent Biafran protesters by Nigeria’s security forces between August 30, 2015 and January 18, 2016.
The group said the documented statistics available at its disposal clearly indicated that “such a massive application of state violence outside local and international norms to violently suppress the pro-Biafran non-violent protests in Nigeria within the afore-mentioned period of less than five months, had led to the gruesome murder by security forces of such a number of Nigerian citizens and Biafran citizens in particular”.
The group said the murdered victims included four citizens killed in Awka and Onitsha on August 30, 2015; 13 killed in Onitsha on December 2, 2015; 12 killed in Onitsha on December 17, 2015 (eight were killed on the spot and four others died in hospital following gunshot wounds); and eight killed in Aba on January 18, 2016.
The statement also alleged that scores of innocent citizens have also disappeared in the hands of Nigerian security forces particularly the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force.
“Citizens are routinely arrested by police on allegation of being “MASSOB or IPOB members” and killed secretly and buried in undisclosed shallow graves; likewise those shot and killed by soldiers and police while embarking on peaceful protests. Once their bodies are taken away by their killer security operatives, they will never be accounted for or released to their families for befitting
“Over 120 citizens were shot and critically injured with gunshots in Delta, Rivers, Anambra, Abia and Enugu States between 30th August 2015 and 18th January 2016. Of these, over 40 citizens were critically shot and injured in Anambra (30thAugust, 2nd and 17th December 2015); 30 in Abia State (18th January 2016 alone), 21 in Rivers State (30th August 2015); 10 in Delta State (30th August 2015) and 6 in Enugu State. These exclude scores of others critically shot and injured in related nonviolent protests in those States as well as Bayelsa State”.
“Among those critically shot and injured in Rivers by Nigerian Army and the Police including their mobile lines are Citizens Sunday Udegbe Nwabunne Udo, Agwasi Anthony, Meshach Emmanuel, Chinwendu Ogbonna, Amanda Onyekachi, Emmanuel Arinze, Okwudiri Ojah, Chibuike David, Uzochi Ugwojialili; Chukwuma Igwe, Kingsley Okere, Chinedu Solomon Iwu, Okon Emmanuel Udo, Kelechi Uwaeze, Uwalaka, Solomon Chikwe, Ikenna Ezekwem, Ubani, Amarachi Onyemachi, and Chukwudi Ofoegbuliwe, In Enugu State, the following were critically shot and injured, Mr. Godswill Ojikeme, Mrs. Chinyere Godswill Ojikeme, Ogbodo Monday, Jonah Kelechi, Onuigbo Paul and Obiorah Innocent”.
“Those gravely shot and wounded in Delta State are: Chinedu Abe, Onovo Michael, Kingsley Anuife, Amechi Ojieh, Ogbonna Kanayo, David Ogbu, Charles Chukwuka, Elochukwu Uzor, Chinedu Chukwuma and Onyekanna Ifechukwude. Those critically shot and injured on 30th August 2015 in Anambra State are: Sampson Kalu, Chidiebere Nnaji Onyekwelu Ovute, Felix Ndianaefo, Ikechukwu Okafor, Chimaobi Okafor, Christopher Oforah, Sunday Nwazugbo, Stanley Eze, Mrs. Eucharia and Mrs. Patricia. Two of the four citizens killed in Awka and Onitsha in the same peaceful protest of 30th August 2015 were Ebuka Nnolum from Enuguabo-Ufuma in Anambra State and Obasi Maduka from Oshiri in Ebonyi State (his brother’s number is. In the 2nd and 17thDecember 2015 peaceful protests in Onitsha, over 30 citizens were critically shot and injured, out of whom, 27 citizens were taken and admitted at the Multicare Hospital”.
“Between 300 and 400 citizens or more labeled “Biafran or IPOB or MASSOB members” had also been arrested, detained, tortured, or killed extra judicially across the country since 30th of August 2015. In the Aba pro Biafran peaceful protest of 18thJanuary 2016 alone, 60 peaceful protesters were arrested and detained. Many are still languishing in pretrial detention; others are facing concocted heinous political crimes charges such as treason and treasonable felony”.
The group stated that in the world over, violent suppression of non-violent protests by territorial governments have always boomeranged; leading the suppressed to abandon non-violent approaches and resort to self help or self defense approaches.
“Consequently, the latest advice handed down to the Government of Muhammadu Buhari by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Ms Federica Mogherini, is a welcome development, timely and internationally grounded. The EU High Representative had advised Buhari that in as much as, the European Union has strong diplomatic and economic ties with Nigeria, “protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains a priority for the EU and we encourage the authorities (Nigeria) in every occasion to respect such rights,” the group said.
The EU, on the other hand, advised pro Biafran campaigners and the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS) “that self-determination and border changes must be in accordance with established international law.