Nigerian human-rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) on Wednesday claimed that Nigerian security forces, particularly the Army and the Nigeria Police Force, have jointly been responsible for the unlawful death of no fewer than 1,300 mostly defenseless and unarmed citizens of Eastern Nigeria between August 2015 and September 2017; and between August and October/November 2020 as well as January to September 2021; totaling a period of five years.
Intersociety, in a report jointly released by its principal officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche Esq., Obianuju Igboeli Esq., Chidimma Udegbunam, Esq., revealed that most of the victims are Igbo citizens and that the perpetrators must not escape justice.
According to Intersociety, no fewer than 480 were killed between 30th August 2015 and 15th September 2017.
It revealed that between October 2017 and July 2020, no major direct killings, other than mass arrests, abductions and scores of secret deaths were recorded adding that between August and October 2020, over 100 unarmed and defenseless citizens were shot and killed including over 30 victims of Emene Enugu Army massacre and over 70 victims of the EndSARS protests in Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Rivers, Delta and Cross River states.
It also claimed that between 21st October and November 2020, over 110 defenseless and unarmed Igbo citizens were killed during the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions in Rivers State while between January 2021 and September 14, 2021, not less than 560 citizens, mostly unarmed and defenseless Igbo citizens were killed. Out of the number, less than 10% or 50 were independently found to be members of the armed Eastern Security Network and out of the 50 killed, over 60% were killed outside the law or shot and killed while unarmed.
The rights group said that the number of the 1,300 direct victims of the Nigerian security forces attacks and killings includes 50 added ‘dark figures’.
Intersociety explained that between April 2016 and December 2020, not less than 400 native Igbo Christians were hacked to death by the pastoral jihadists perpetrated under the deceitful cover of “rain forest rural cattle grazing.”
The report also revealed that security forces injured 1,500, unlawfully arrested 10,000, disappeared 3,000 and caused indirect deaths of thousands of people.
While berating the government, it said no conviction was secured since 2015.
“The inability of the Nigerian Government to secure a single court conviction against any of the over 10,000 unlawfully arrested citizens of Eastern Nigeria in the past six years or August 2015 to September 2021 has been as a result of false and hateful labeling and criminal categorization of civil infractions and ‘simple offenses’.
“Nigerian Government’s reckless resort to hate and false labeling and prosecutorial vindictiveness is clearly as a result of its pre-prosecutorial knowledge of the impossibility of securing conviction on account of the bogus allegations and phantom and trumped up charges. Therefore, apart from reckless resort to ‘prosecutorial vindictiveness’, the Nigerian Government has also resorted to extrajudicial and jungle justice by indiscriminately abducting, killing, maiming, disappearing or detaining the arrested citizens indefinitely using endless renewable or non-renewable court remand orders.
Intersociety, identified dates and places of killings by Nigerian security forces since 2015 till date as follows: “Eastern Nigeria: (1) the 30th August 2015 killing of 40 defenseless and unarmed citizens during peaceful protests in Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Asaba; (2) 2nd and 17th December 2015 killing of 30 citizens in Onitsha; (3) 18th and 29th January 2016 killing of 20 citizens during peaceful protests in Aba; (4) 9th February 2016 killing of 30 citizens in Aba; (5) 29th and 30th May 2016 killing of 140 defenseless citizens during global Igbo Heroes Day in Onitsha and Nkpor (110 deaths) and Asaba (30 deaths); (6) 20th Jan 2017 killing of 20 unarmed protesters (pro-Trump rally) in Port Harcourt; (7) 11th to 14th Sept 2017 killing of over 180 unarmed and defenseless citizens of in Abia State, comprising: Afara-Ukwu 105 deaths, Isiala-Ngwa 25 deaths and Aba/Ogwe/Asa 50 deaths; (8) 23rd August 2020 Army massacre of over 30 worshippers and sports activists in Emene, Enugu State; (9) Oct 2020 massacre by Army/Police of over 70 unarmed citizens in Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Delta, Rivers and Cross River States during EndSARS protests; (10) Oct/Nov 2020 massacre by Army of 110 defenseless Obigbo residents and abduction of over 550 others during Army invasion of that part of Rivers State; and (11) killing in eight months and a half of 2021 or 1st January to 14th September 2021 of not less than 560 mostly defenseless and unarmed citizens of Eastern Nigeria by security forces, maiming and torture of several hundreds of them, unlawful arrest of over 3400 and disappearance of over 850.
Intersociety, however charged the Nigerian government to remember those violently and unlawfully displaced and killed in Eastern Nigeria by security forces, perpetrated with utter hatred and impunity, the conscientious Igbos and all the people.
It tasked the Nigerian government to bring the perpetrators to justice without delay.