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Army’s False Claims Against Slain Biafra Activists: Graphic Accounts

As a follow up to our public statement of 16th June 2017, we the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) have resolved to release the following statement containing graphic accounts of incessant massacre and injuring by Lt Gen Tukur Buratai led Nigerian Army and other security agencies including the Nigeria Police Force of defenseless pro-Biafra activists in Southeast and parts of South-south Nigeria. 

This statement of ours is in further response to the Nigerian Army’s armada of lies contained in its recent report following its kangaroo Special Board of Inquiry set up on 8th March 2017 to look into allegations of gross rights abuses by its key personnel and commanders in Northeast, Southeast and parts of South-south Nigeria in the course of its counter insurgency operations and undemocratic and unconstitutional involvement in non-violent public assemblies in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Army had in its recent report claimed that “no single citizen was killed during its violent crackdowns on innocent and non-violent pro Biafra campaigns and campaigners”.

The said massacre and maiming took place in not less than ten different occasions and locations leading to total death of not less than 270 citizens and injuring of over 370 others. 

We make bold to say that we will not sit by or say or do nothing when litany or armada of lies is heartlessly told against the murdered and the maimed innocent citizens of Nigeria who got massacred in the course of assertion of their democratic and constitutional free speech non-violently and peacefully.

As severally stated and contained in our previous public statements, the referenced massacre was a result of violent military and police crackdowns on pro-Biafra agitators who strictly applied locally, nationally, regionally and internationally recognized or sanctioned non-violent methods by way of night vigil, prayer/singing rallies and crusades, open street protests and processions as well as ghost street or sit-at-home protests for the purpose of compelling the Nigerian authorities to holistically address the age-long three hydra headed monsters of structural, direct and cultural violence against the Igbo Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria which started way back in 1945.

Totality of these international best practices of democratic free speech is called non-violent self-determination agitations or campaigns; recognized and legalized by AU and the UN and laid in existing and legally binding treaties or conventions which the Federal Republic of Nigeria willingly, obligatorily and dutifully acceded to and retained till date.

Also as severally observed and stated in our previous statements, the Nigerian Army headed by Lt Gen Tukur Buratai is solely responsible for 75% of the killings and maiming while the Nigeria Police through its SARS and Anti-Riot or Mobile Police units is responsible for 20%; with the Nigerian Navy, SSS and others accounting for the remaining 5%. 

The worst of it all is that the Nigerian Army particularly its present command structure is ethnically and religiously lopsided including its formations and command structures in Southeast and South-south Nigeria; making it a willing tool for the ethnic cleansing operations under reference. 

During the 29th and 30th May 2016 pro-Biafra heroes day massacre at Onitsha Army Barracks, for instance, some survivors interviewed, who were taken to Onitsha Barracks and held for over a week without charge, narrated how soldiers and civilians of the northern Muslim background jubilated noisily and rained curses on Igbo People on sighting military truck-loads of slain and injured pro-Biafra activists while their Southern counterparts of Southeast and South-south background broke down in tears and cried uncontrollably. 

Instances also abound where the operational commanders of the Nigerian Army and Police Force made several attempts to turn such non-violent and peaceful rallies, processions and protests into violence by provocatively opening fire with live bullets on them at the middle of the protests so as to find grounds to inflict heavy fatalities or casualties and justify their murderous actions. Yet despite the refusal of the peaceful protesters to be provoked, the soldiers and police still went ahead and killed them in their dozens in each of the protests.

GRAPHIC ACCOUNTS:

Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi: 30th August 2015: Several peaceful street protests were held and soldiers and Police SARS and Mobile Police responded violently by opening fire at the peaceful protesters with live bullets leading to instant death of at least six citizens. 

Similar protests took place in Asaba, Delta State, Enugu, Enugu State, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Igweocha or Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Aba, Abia State. The protests recorded scores of death and dozens of injuries.

30TH AUGUST 2015 DEATH TOLL:  

Among the six citizens that were shot dead by soldiers and police are Citizens Ebuka Nnorom of Ufuma in Anambra State and Obasi Maduka of Oshiri-Ebonyi State. The bodies of four others were recovered and taken away by soldiers and police. 

Over ten persons were injured in the protests. Among those that were killed in Yenagoa and Igweocha or Port Harcourt protests are late Citizens Christian Okechukwu and Daniel Chukwualue.

2nd December 2015 IPOB Mega Protest in Onitsha and its Environs: The peaceful protest started in the evening of 1st December 2015 and was tagged “IPOB vigil/occupy Niger Bridge Road sides”. The protest continued on 2nd December 2015 and extended to Onitsha Upper Iweka, Owerri Road and Obodoukwu Road, etc. 

The protest, observed by the leadership of our organization, was peaceful and well organized with leaders of IPOB hand-walling themselves by the road sides ensuring free flow of vehicular and human movements.

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