Documented statistics available at our disposal clearly indicate that massive application of State violence outside local and international norms to violently suppress the pro Biafran nonviolent protests in Nigeria between 30th August 2015 and 18th January 2016; a period of less than five months, have led to gruesome murder by security forces of at least 50 Nigerian citizens. These included four citizens killed in Awka and Onitsha on 30th August 2015; 13 killed in Onitsha on 2nd December 2015; 12 killed in Onitsha on 17th December 2015 (eight were killed on the spot and four others died in hospital following gunshot wounds); and eight killed in Aba on 18th January 2016. 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 burials.
Further, 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 (30th August, 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 (08160946188), Nwabunne Udo (no number), Agwasi Anthony (08167834881), Meshach Emmanuel (08176464439), Chinwendu Ogbonna (08161840331),Amanda Onyekachi (08098649766), Emmanuel Arinze (08069667733), Okwudiri Ojah (08064551694), Chibuike David (08162879531),Uzochi Ugwojialili (07037701738); Chukwuma Igwe (07038524167), Kingsley Okere (08095527180), Chinedu Solomon Iwu (09034451844), Okon Emmanuel Udo (08132211725), Kelechi Uwaeze (08162093292), Uwalaka (07030463326), Solomon Chikwe (08037677503), Ikenna Ezekwem (07030334626), Ubani (08145558128), Amarachi Onyemachi (07031250438) and Chukwudi Ofoegbuliwe (08168944577). In Enugu State, the following were critically shot and injured, Mr. Godswill Ojikeme (08069283046), Mrs. Chinyere Godswill Ojikeme (08108156453), Ogbodo Monday (08186845441), Jonah Kelechi (07055762590), Onuigbo Paul (08180094127) and Obiorah Innocent (08142553818).
Those gravely shot and wounded in Delta State are: Chinedu Abel (08138655496), Onovo Michael (09038654579), Kingsley Anuife (07066333801), Amechi Ojieh (07069039930), Ogbonna Kanayo (09099221978), David Ogbu (08168868302), Charles Chukwuka (07011001409), Elochukwu Uzor (08052783369), Chinedu Chukwuma (09053081522) and Onyekanna Ifechukwude (08144142575). Those critically shot and injured on 30th August 2015 in Anambra State are: Sampson Kalu (08149301083), Chidiebere Nnaji (08063110151), Onyekwelu Ovute (08035132025), Felix Ndianaefo (08137358206), Ikechukwu Okafor (08098896344), Chimaobi Okafor (09099735103), Christopher Oforah (08092188866), Sunday Nwazugbo (08033517008), Stanley Eze (08060911589), Mrs. Eucharia (08065697342) and Mrs. Patricia (07069707424). 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 (his father’s number is 08034615426 07084367400) and Obasi Maduka from Oshiri in Ebonyi State (his brother’s number is 08165443726). In the 2nd and 17th December 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 18th January 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.
Why Buhari Must Heed EU’s Advice: In the world over, violent suppression of nonviolent protests by territorial governments have always boomeranged; leading the suppressed to abandon nonviolent approaches and resort to self help or self defense approaches including defensive armed rebellions. Most of the ongoing devastating intra State violent conflicts in Africa and the Middle East primarily started as nonviolent socio-political or ethno-cultural campaigns, but turned violent on account of the host States’ repressive and dictatorial responses. A newest case in point is seeming resumption of oil violence in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.
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 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. This followed the OEAS call for an internationally recognized referendum on Biafra independence or autonomy. The EU further advised that “it will only recognize a Biafra born via international law and not (through) armed secession (or rebellion)”.
The EU’s advice is totally in agreement with our public position on the same issue, to the effect that the Buhari administration must refrain from massive deployment of State violence and use of dark side of the laws of the land as well as levying of political, economic, social, ethnic and cultural wars against members of the Nigeria’s Igbo and other Southern nationalities. We had also advised the pro Biafran agitators to at all time stick to nonviolent and peaceful approaches and stay away from resorting to violence or armed rebellion. To the best of our knowledge, the agitations and their campaigners have remained nonviolent till date; as opposed to the Buhari administration which had applied and still apply maximum and dreaded State terror in handling the political self determination campaigns.