Why Gov Rochas Okorocha is the Worst Serving Governor in the Southeast Zone - SBCHROs.SBCHROs calls on Southeast Governors To Wake Up From Their Slumbers
At the briefing of The Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Good Governance Organizations (SBCHROs) in Onitsha on the 26th of February 2016, the group in a professionally researched document titled: "The Best & The Worst In Southeast Nigeria: A Comprehensive Review Of Governance Challenges In The Geopolitical Zone Dating Back To The Second Republic; Among Other Burning National Issues", named Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State as the worst serving governor of the region.
In a preamble to their conclusion, the group pointed out the Qualities Of An Accomplished Leader In Public Office:
" As embedded in the tradition of modern democracy or limited government and clearly defined in the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership (MIPAAL)), an accomplished leader is (a) that serving executive leader or former executive leader who, under challenging circumstances, develops or developed his or her social clime and strengthens or strengthened democracy, good governance and human rights for the shared benefit of his or her people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable growth, development and prosperity of his or her people and their society.
Other qualities of an accomplished leader in executive position are (b) his or her exceptional role models for his or her society and people; and (c) ensuring that his or her society and people continue to benefit from the experience and wisdom of his or her exceptional leadership during his or her term and after he or she had left national or sub-national office; thereby making him or her an irreplaceable role model and public roles player in his or her immediate society and beyond. Such a charismatic leader must at all times during his or her stay in office, use the public funds for public good and ensure the putting of smiles on the faces of majority, if not most of his or her own people"
Further in their research, the cohesive group elucidates: " How Public Office Holders Squander Funds Meant For Public Good In Nigeria: For clarity, there are 17, 500 top public office holders in Nigeria including 11,278 supposedly elected Local Government chairpersons, their deputies and councilors; 1, 695 elected public officers at Federal and State levels and 4,500 appointed top public officials at Federal and State levels; excluding their public and civil servants, squandering over N1.2trillion annually in salaries and allowances alone. The N1.2trillion excludes annual overhead costs of the public offices manned by the 17,500 public office holders. For more details, see Salaries & Wages Commission reports.
Specifically, there are around 4000 State elected and appointed public office holders including 1,152 State legislators and about 1500 top Federal elected and appointed public office holders including 469 Federal legislators. These 17, 500 top public office holders in Nigeria exclude tens of thousands of other political appointees below the rank of special advisers. Over 1300 of them presently serve under Gov William Obiano of Anambra State majorly as Special Assistants (SAs) and Senior Special Assistants (SSAs). These categories of privileged Nigerians found in Nigeria’s three tiers of government (federal, states and local governments) are responsible for squandering billions of dollars meant for good governance and public good in the country on annual basis and over the years.
It is terribly shocking that the servicing of Nigeria’s 1,500 top federal public office holders and battalions of their aides; in addition to 90,000 federal civil servants as well as less than 700,000 policing and security personnel gulp 70% of Nigeria’s federal net annual budget. Yet the meager 30% left to service the remaining population of over 175million is still tempered with through theft of public funds. It is so bad that of the entire remunerations of the named public officials and civil servants, 90% is spent on their allowances excluding overheads, whereas only 10% goes to their statutory salaries.
For instance, according to Nigeria’s Salaries and Wages Commission, out of N40.9billion spent on 1,152 State legislators annually, only N5.09billion is spent on their salaries, while a whopping sum of N35.8billion goes to their allowances; out of N550billion spent on 11, 278 elected LGA officials annually, only N49.5billion is spent on their salaries and staggering N500.5billion is spent on their allowances; and out of N90billion spent on 469 federal legislators annually, only N10billion is spent on their salaries. These categories of allowances and their cash values have since been catapulted or reviewed upwards".
The paper is enriched with statistics to further support their findings: "Short Statistics On Squander-mania In Nigeria’s Public Sector: According to Intersociety (2017), Nigeria, including its three tiers of government (Federal, States and LGAs) had in the past 15 years: 2003 to 2017; budgeted and squandered $680billion (N238trillion) with little or nothing to show for it in terms of good governance and public good. Intersociety’s investigation further disclosed that $624billion was budgeted and squandered between 2003 and 2016, while over $56billion including Federal Government’s budget of about $25billion for 2017 was budgeted and squandered by all tiers of Government in 2017.
Substantial part of these national, sub-national and residual budgets since 2003 was financed from local and international borrowings or loans. For more details, see Intersociety’s letter to the Attorney General of the Federation, dated 5th February 2016 and titled: How Nigeria Spent $624 billion or N124.8 trillion in 14years (2003-2016) and Borrowed $50 billion in Ten Years (2007-2016). The update is calculated using N305 for $US. The research letter followed the AGF’s false public disclosure at a public function in Abuja in 2016 that “EFCC had recovered over $2trillion from looters since its creation in 2004”.
By the end of 2018 Fiscal Year, the Buhari Administration must have borrowed over $33 billion locally and internationally since June 2015; having borrowed over $25 billion as at 2017 and must borrow at least $8 billion loans to fund its heavily deficit federal budget of 2018; amounting to over N8 trillion or $27 billion. At the end, over 70% of the budget will be squandered on over bloated recurrent expenditures particularly allowances and overheads as well as questionable debt servicing and their conditions.
Linking Governance Failure To Squander-mania & Bad Leadership In Nigeria
Totality of the above; in addition to maddening profligacy and rabid corruption in government quarters is responsible for chronic mass poverty and under-development in Nigeria including the Southeast Zone. Nigeria as a country is not destined to fail or be impoverished, but it is badly afflicted by bad leadership; leading to near total, if not total collapse of good governance and quality and enviable leadership. Lack of charismatic and visionary leaders has also plunged the country into chronic and intractable ethno-religious divisions especially under the present Administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
Apart from over 90% of all important federal security, policing and political appointments occupied by members of Northern Muslims, contrary to Section 14 (3) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution; ethno-religious animosity is promoted or encouraged by the State; to the extent that killing of Nigerian Christians by the Muslim Fulani extremists is encouraged, condoned and protected by the Administration especially through its policy of Cattle Colony or Cattletocracy.
The two insurgencies going on in Nigeria are originally targeted at Christians, their properties and holy places of worship with over 14,000 churches and 1500 Christian schools already razed in Northern Nigeria and tens of thousands of Christian lives lost in the past nine years (2009-2017).
The country is so polarized, unstable and unsecure that direly needed huge direct foreign investments (FDIs) and effective participation by indigenous private sector and their output employment opportunities are nowhere to be found. The duo is the largest employer of labor in the world over. Yet few local investors that dare to invest and operate in Nigeria are threatened and persecuted by the State; except those who cover the dirty deals of some leading government appointees or carry their baggage.
The economy particularly the power sector is still in shambles; with only less than 4000 megawatts of electricity generated in the country of over 175million as against that of Iran which has 60,000 megawatts generated for its 80miilion people. Youth unemployment in Nigeria has reached an all time high of over 50% compared to Iran’s 26%.
Just recently, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) startlingly disclosed that 4.7million Nigerians lost their jobs between January and September 2017 and 7.9million lost theirs in the past 21months of 2016-2017. Insecurity has not only risen to an apogee, but further worsened by the State which now turns the State armory against unarmed and defenseless citizens; killing and maiming them with reckless abandon and unabatedly.
Governance & Leadership Failure In Southeast Nigeria
Having effectively highlighted the conventional, international and constitutional parameters of good governance and charismatic leadership above, in addition to statistical breakdown of untamed squander-mania and monumental governance failure in Nigeria’s public sector including Southeast Zone, we are particularly deeply saddened over the near total, if not total collapse of good governance and visionary leadership in the Southeast Zone.
This explains why we chose to organize this media briefing and interaction with Gentlemen and Ladies of the Media. The briefing and interaction are in furtherance of the constitutional duties of the media and rights CSOs as contained in Sections 22 (role of the mass media in the promotion of good governance), 24 (duty of the citizenry) and 39 (freedom of expression) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended).
It is therefore no longer news and new that good governance and charismatic leadership have eluded the Southeast Zone. The Zone is now shackled by transactional governance and chronic bad leadership. As a matter of fact, corridors of power in the Southeast are now majorly under the grip of The Anarchists. Art of governance has become transaction of businesses in the corridors of power and shameless display of political rascality and immorality.
Many, if not most of the legislators in the Geopolitical Zone are no longer legislating and checkmating the executives for good governance and public good, but transacting by cornering public funds into moveable and immoveable investments. Use of public funds for public good is now strange and has become a thing of the past in the Zone. Many, if not most State and Federal House legislators in the Southeast Zone now operate or own private revenue windows and taskforces.
It is so sad, shocking and disappointing that some university professors and their likes in social settings have now become shoe shiners, dusters of files, carriers of bags, personal assistants and private secretaries to these anarchists and renegades masquerading as executive and legislative public office holders in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone.
We therefore have strongly resolved to revisit and review critically; social, economic, political and security and safety developments in Southeast Zone in the past years including 2017. The events being revisited and reviewed are public interest oriented. The roles played by their key players are evaluated and rated as the best and the worst in the Southeast (1980s – 2017); involving the serving and former executive or public governance, social services and security administrators in the Zone in the past years including 2017.
Identification And Celebration Of Few Best Hands In The Southeast
Those with outstanding performances in ensuring provision and delivery of human security (i.e. personal security, food security, health security, environmental security, economic security, community security and political security) as well as public decency and accountability in governance to the People of Southeast in part or in whole; are rated and celebrated as the best personalities of the Southeast Zone (1980s -2017). The public officers so named or recognized are the serving or retired or living or dead (posthumous) public office holders from the Zone; who are serving or had served in executive public offices.
Their recognition and celebration have become compelling following the sorry state of governance and its peripherals in the Zone. In progressive and prospering social climes, achievers and charismatic leaders are celebrated and worshipped as religion and legends; but in Nigeria of today especially under Buhari’s Presidency, such leaders are not only rarely found, but also mocked and hated when found especially by members of the political class or political elites. It is so bad that decency and outstanding achievement no longer have a place in Nigeria’s political space. Failures are beatified and canonized while achievements and their achievers are demonized and marked for destruction.
It is also no longer hidden that membership of political class in the Zone is now dominated and held by jugulars by the black sheep of the society; thereby making good governance and charismatic leadership attainment an act of impossibility. It is so bad that any conscientious political player that operates in the opposite direction while in office (i.e. provides good governance and quality leadership) instantly draws the untamed anger of the immoral members of the political class and marked for total destruction. He or she is further seen and treated as a leper or a deviant.
A clear case in point is the attacks and destructive conspiracies against former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State by members of the political class; just because he insisted on using public funds for public good during his days as the democratically elected Governor of Anambra State (2006-2014). His remarkable transformation of the State has, till date, not gone down well with the political elites who attacked him for “making them hungry” during his tenure; instead of allowing them access to public funds to loot and plunder at the teething expense of the People of the State in particular and the Southeast in general.
Obi’s achievements in office are second to none since the days of late Dede Sam Mbakwe in old Imo State (present Imo and Abia State and a part of Ebonyi State) and Chief Jim Nwobodo in old Anambra State (present Enugu and Anambra States and larger part of Ebonyi State).
At the level of Intersociety and SBCHROs, therefore, we must at all times insist on celebrating and immortalizing the achievers of our time especially in the Southeast Zone. To this effect, the trio of late Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe (from Avutu-Obowo, Imo State), Chief Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo (Nkanu, Enugu State) and Chief Peter Gregory Onwubuashi Obi (Agulu, Anambra State) must at all times make the hall of fame as the great achievers of our time during their days as democratically elected Governors of old Imo and Anambra and present Anambra States.
If it is to be in other social climes, these great leaders and achievers (noted are minuses in Chief Jim Nwobodo’s present reputation and integrity) will eternally be celebrated and immortalized. University faculties, research centers, care or charity foundations and public monuments will be named after them. Their achievements in office would also have been theorized and developed into courses of study in the tertiary institutions.
Those of them still living would have been made visiting or guest lecturers and professors in some reputable universities particularly those in their localities. They would also have been invited to chair or sit in the boards of regional and int’l multibillion dollar companies and highly respected and influential foundations and bodies.
The briefing availed the group the window to Remembe Detained & Persecuted Pro Biafra Activists, Slain Pro Igbo-Biafra Activists, Wounded Victims Of State Violence & Ors, Slain Shiite Muslims & Sheik Ibrahim Zaky el-Zaky & Ors
There was further review of Failed Public Utilities Providers In Southeast, Regime And Regime-Aided Atrocities Beyond Borders Of The Southeast, Worst Public Office Holders In Southeast Nigeria: Most Unpopular & Unfriendly Federal Government Among The Southeast People:Government of President Muhammadu Buhari
Worst Past Governors in the Southeast
- Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju-Anambra State (1999-2003)
- Chief Orji Uzor Kalu-Abia State(1999-2007)
- Chief Ikedi Ohakim-Imo State(2007-2011)
- Chief Theodore Orji-Abia State(2007-2015)
Worst Serving Governor in the Southeast Zone
- Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State
Worst Public Utilities Providers of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC). See Intersociety & SBCHROs’ Memo to the Minister of Power & ors, dated 18th December 2017 (www.intersociety-ng.org)
Most Atrocious Security Organization in the Southeast Zone
- Nigerian Army and its Enugu 82 Division (shot and killed in two years-2015-2017 over 370 unarmed and defenseless citizens of the Southeast and maimed over 400 others)
Most Regime Atrocity Perpetrator in the Southeast Zone
- Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (vicariously masterminded in two years 2015-2017, as COAS, the massacre of estimated 370 defenseless citizens of the Southeast Zone and maiming of over 400 others)
Most Atrocious Police Special Squad of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- The Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) formations in Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States as well as the Zone 9 SARS formation in Umuahia; killed average of estimated 35 detained citizens monthly and 420 annually in the Zone. The killings are perpetrated through criminal processes of extra jus (beyond the law), extra legal (beyond what the written criminal law provides) and extra judicial (beyond court or judicial pronouncement or verdict); arising from racial profiling and unprofessional crime detection and criminal investigation management. For more details, see Intersociety’s expert report: The Untold Story of Ezu River Police SARS Killings (July 2017).
Most Lopsidedly Composed Security Organization in the Southeast Zone
- The Nigerian Army & Navy (most, if not all their key heads in the Zone are members of Hausa-Fulani Muslims). For more details, see Intersociety’s statement of 19th October 2017; titled: The Retun Of “Glover Hausas” In The Nigerian Army: Exposing 95% Dominance Of Key Army Formations In Igbo Land By Northern Muslim Officers
Most Corrupt & Incompetent Policing Organization of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
The Nigeria Police Force and its key formations in the Southeast under IGP Ibrahim Idris (generated, illicitly, over N14 billion or $45million between September 2017 and January 2018 from Southeast roadblocks using over 2900 police roadblocks raised in early September 2017). See Intersociety’s statement of 5th September 2017 on: Unchecked Police And Army Extortion In Southeast Nigeria: How IGP And His Cohorts Will Pocket (already pocketed) N14.1Billion In Five Months (Sep 2017-Jan 2018) From 2900 Roadblocks Using False Biafra Insecurity, etc.
Destitute of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- The Destitute of Uga Junction Pedestrian Bridge in Onitsha (represents the plight of the destitute population roaming the streets of the Southeast Zone without government care and welfare). Governors of the Zone are called upon to urgently address the plight of the destitute population especially their children who are out of school. One of the core ways to address this is by enacting the Destitute & Disability Rights & Welfare Laws by the Executive and Legislative Arms in the Southeast.
The Slain & the Disappeared of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- Estimated 100 defenseless citizens of the Zone killed or made to disappear by the Nigerian Army in September 2017; in addition to over 270 others earlier shot and killed; with most of their bodies remained missing till date. Their killers must be fished out and severely punished by the Federal Government or relevant international justice groups no matter how long it takes.
The Maimed or Wounded of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- Over 400 victims of military shootings in the Zone. They must be adequately compensated with their shooters fished out and punished severely.
Persecuted Citizens of the Year 2017 in the Southeast Zone
- Include Citizens Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Dave Nwawuisi, Benjamin Mmadubugwu, Bright Chimezie and over 82 others including minors and married women presently languishing in various prisons across the country without formal trial; in connection with nonviolent pro Biafra agitations. Others are those in the category of “dark figures of crime” or arrested and detained citizens without public notice or records. All pro Igbo-Biafra detainees in Nigeria must be de-criminalized, released and have their phantom charges dropped by the Buhari Administration.
Calling On Government Of Buhari To Free Shiite Leader & Prosecute Perpetrators Of Shiite Genocide
We call for immediate and unconditional release of Mallam Zaky Ibrahim El-Zaky and his beloved wife-Malama Zeenatu as well as an end to persecution of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria. Those who masterminded the massacre of over 1,130 Shiite members in December 2015 and above including COAS, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (vicarious culpability) must be arrested and punished locally or internationally no matter how long it takes.
Calling On Government Of Buhari To End Government And Herdsmen Killings & Other Crimes Against Humanity
The present Federal Government under Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari must put an end to slaughtering of thousands of defenseless citizens especially Christians on annual basis by terror Fulani Herdsmen in Northern Nigeria and proscribe the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as well as fish out their leaders and culpable elements and charge them for manslaughter and culpable homicide, respectively, among other felonies committed against the State of Nigeria and its population.
The Federal Government’s silence, inaction and conspiracy over these ethno-religious carnages are not only an invitation to retaliatory widespread violence and ruination of the country in part or in whole but also a gross breach of Section 10 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which forbids the Federal Government or any State Government from adopting any religion including Islam as a State Religion.
The first major step towards addressing the present national and sub-national security challenges in Nigeria is total re-organization of the commanding positions and other top echelons of security forces, the police and other para-military organizations in Nigeria. The present Caliphate structure of Nigerian security and policing is totally rejected. They must be restructured in accordance with Section 14 (3) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution or federal character or geopolitical spread.
The stark reality today is that continuation of the centrality; oneness, unity and national cohesion of Nigeria; steadily and systematically undermined by the present central Government has become an act of impossibility.
The ethno-religious divisions in the country have continuously thickened with ethno-religious chauvinists taking over and consolidating their grip on power without letting go. In other words, the Nigeria Project has collapsed; requiring urgent re-negotiation by all ethnic nationalities through their representatives before the country goes on full brink. The Buhari Administration must hearken to this wind of change and urgently steer the ship of the re-negotiation of the Nigeria Project.
Calling On Southeast Governors To Wake Up From Their Slumbers
The Governors of the Southeast Zone are collectively and individually called upon to wake up from their slumbers. They must be proactive and efficient in strengthening the internal and external security of the Zone especially with regard to well oiled and coordinated widespread violent attacks against Christian population and their churches by the terror Fulani Herdsmen such as the Nimgbo tragedies of 14th February and 25th April 2016 in Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State during which terror Fulani Herdsmen killed at least 50 rural Christian dwellers and injured 79 others.
The Southeast Governors must desist henceforth from lending their hands and supports by way of supporting, adopting, aiding, abetting or undermining the present and future collective security of the people of the Southeast Zone and their properties; through the raging, disastrous, unilateral and militarist national policy of “Cattle Colony”; using any guise or instrumentality particularly the Federal Executive Council and the National Council of State.
The Governors must also proactively and courageously engage the Federal Government, the President and heads of major security and policing agencies in the country by insisting on making proactive inputs into the overall security structure and composition in the country as well as the posting of commanders of their formations in the Southeast Zone especially in the Army, Navy, Air Force, SSS, Customs and the Police. The current policy of flooding most, if not the entire military and policing formations in Igbo Land with senior and commanding officers of Hausa-Fulani Muslims must be rejected and reversed.
More concerted efforts are also required from the Southeast Governors at ensuring that the Zone which is the birthplace of the Igbo Nation gets its fair and due share of the Federation resources, appointments, attentions and infrastructural developments. The Governors must ensure that the Southeast is fully factored into the new national railway policy and comprehensive reconstruction of all federal roads in the Zone especially the Onitsha-Enugu and the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressways and other important ones.
The Zone also needs a standard international seaport and construction of a standard bridge linking Ogwu-Ikpere in Ogbaru, Anambra State and Ndoni in Rivers State; which if constructed, will take less than two hours to convey goods and services from Port Harcourt wharfs into the Southeast Zone or any part thereof. The Akanu Ibiam Int’l Airport in Enugu, which is presently a makeshift int’l airport, must totally be upgraded to truly reflect its international status and serve the People of the Southeast Zone and others from major parts of the world particularly Africa, Europe, Americas, Asia and Middle-East.
Condemning Christian Violence Against Traditional Religions In Southeast Nigeria
We stand morally and legally condemned if we turned a blind eye or refused to say anything about the indiscriminate attacks and widespread violence directed at members and institutions of the Traditional Religions and their sacred places of worship by radical elements within the trios of Catholic Church, Anglican Church and Pentecostal churches in Southeast Nigeria.
There have been systematic, well coordinated and unprovoked Christian violence against Traditional Religionists and their sacred places of worship in recent times in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast. These attacks and violence are executed especially during “Christmas and Easter Crusades” and similar activities. They are executed or carried out particularly at late night during the said “crusades”.
During the attacks, sacred places of worship belonging to the Traditional Worshippers and their symbols of worship including sacred altars, artifacts and diviners’ objects are targeted for burning, destruction or confiscation; under stigmatization and false labeling of all traditional religions, their worshippers and sacred places of worship as “Satanism and evil doers”. A clear case in point was the attack and violence directed at the said worshippers and their sacred institutions in Igboukwu, Ekwulobia and other communities in Anambra State during the 2017 Christmas season.
At Igboukwu Community, Aguata, Anambra State, despite an early warning letter written to the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Rev Fr. Christopher Azolibe by the Otu Odinani Igbo Organization led by Priest Okwudili Ezeife and Chukwudinka Ezeatueyi; alerting him of planned attacks and violence by members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in Igboukwu led by Elder Polycarp Okonkwo and Innocent Okeke using their midnight crusade of 29th December 2017; the said Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement reportedly in conjunction with Rev Fr Chibuzor Emmanuel Obimma (Father Ebube Muonso) reportedly went gone ahead, attacked and destroyed sixteen (16) sacred temples of worship of the Igboukwu Traditional Religionists within the Igboukwu Community.
The attacks which took place between 1am and 4.30am; affected properties, artifacts, walls and roofing belonging to the sixteen traditional sacred places of worship. During the attacks, the National Museum at Igboukwu was also targeted for destruction but for eleventh hour pressures and calls from concerned quarters; forcing the attackers to retreat from torching the National Museum.
The attacking church youths reportedly backed down after much pressure but threatened not to spare the “evil Museum” during their next crusade in 2018. Youths loyal to the Igboukwu Traditional Religionists also regrouped and made their way to burn down some churches but were prevailed upon by some notable leaders of the Igboukwu traditional institutions. The angry youths retreated but vowed not to spare any church if such attacks happened anywhere in Igboukwu again.
Apart from right to freedom of religion and worship clearly provided in Section 38 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, Section 10 of the same Constitution also forbids the Federal Government or any State Government from adopting any religion as a State Religion in Nigeria. The Constitution also tasks Federal and State Governments and heads of security agencies to ensure that every citizen is allowed to worship and profess religion of his or her choice within the confines of the law and without threat or molestation from any quarter.
Right to Freedom of Religion and Worship was the first human right proclaimed in the Fourth Century AD by Emperor Constantine De Great (AD306-337) during the Christian Roman Empire. See the Edict of Milan of AD313 or decriminalization of Christian worship, which started in April 311 with the enactment of the Edith of Toleration.
Under Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and other body of laws, no religious body or person is allowed to launch an on attack or destruction of any form against another religion or its sacred place of worship or symbol or artifact. The law empowers Government or its security agency (not alternative religious body or person) to visit the wrath or long arm of the law against any violent religionist or a religious practitioner that engages in religious practices that are unknown to God, Man and Law including religious violence and Satanism.
The court death sentence handed down to Rev Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (a.k.a. Rev King); General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly (CPA) over his intra denominational satanic religious practices is a clear case in point.
Godly religious faith anywhere in the world including Nigeria and its Southeast part is not practiced or professed by violence but through persuasion, good manners, emulative lifestyle and conviction. Christians are therefore be reminded that Christianity in Nigeria particularly in Igbo Land did not start or come with violence. A clear case in point was the first encounter between Rev Father Duhaze of Portuguese Catholic Missionary and Eze Nri Obalike of Nri Kingdom in 1906. As a matter of fact too, traditional religions are the forefathers of Christianity in Igbo Land just as Judaism gave birth or founded Christianity in the Middle East where it originated; as clearly noted in the Holy Scripture.
We hereby call on the national and regional leaderships of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Christian Association of Nigeria, Anglican Communion in Nigeria and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and leaders of other Christian bodies to call their followers and radical elements within their clergy to order and prevail on them to desist from taking laws into their hands by visiting unprovoked and unwarranted attacks and violence against members and institutions of alternative religions especially the Traditional Religions in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast or any of its part thereof; all in the name of “crusades” or attack on Satan in his citadel. There must be an end to religious radicalism and extreme religious practices in the Zone.
The Governors of the Southeast Geopolitical Zone are specifically called upon to rise up to the occasion particularly against this new round of Christian violence and protect the traditional institutions in Igbo Land including freedom of every citizen to practice and worship religion of their choice without fear, threat or molestation.
Signs are obvious that the victim religious bodies and their supporters may most likely resort to self defense and other self help mechanisms including burning of churches and other Christian sacred places of worship in retaliation if nothing was done to stop the attacks and violence against the traditional religionists and their sacred places of worship. The Southeast Governors must not allow this ugly situation to further degenerate in the entire Zone or any of its part thereof.
The Intellectual Credit of this factually and professionally researched briefing goes to Emeka Umeagbalasi, (criminologist & graduate of security studies) for Intersociety & SBCHROs.
The Coalition Partners & Their Reps:
* Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Emeka Umeagbalasi, Umeh MaryRose N., PhD and Jacinta Ezinwanne)
* Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone (Aloysius Emeka Attah)
* Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (Peter Onyegiri)
* Human Rights Organization of Nigeria (rep Michael Ifeabunike)
* Society Watch & Advocacy Project (Chike Umeosonwunne)
* Anambra Human Rights Forum (Alex C. Olisa)
*Southeast Good Governance Forum (Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli)
* Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro, PhD)
* Igbo Ekunie Initiative (rep Charles Ogbu)
* Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch (Vincent Ezekwueme)
* Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy & Dev (Nelson Nnana Nwafor)
* Society for Economic Rights & Social Justice (Orji Andy Ndukwe)
* Initiative for Ideal Dev & Emancipatory Leadership in Nigeria (Nwokocha Anozie Innocent)
* Igbo National Council (Chilos A.C. Godsent)
* Forum for Promotion of National Ethos & Values (Okpala-EzeNri Emeka Onyeso)
* Easy Life Initiative for Rural Youths (Emeku Uche)
* Voice of the Voiceless Int’l (Barr Violet Umenwofor-Ezekwike)