Intersociety Begins The Release Of Its Special Report On Military Massacre Operations In Eastern Nigeria
(Chima Ubani Centre, Onitsha Nigeria: 22nd Jan 2019)-Recall that Intersociety had on 10th December 2018 (70th Anniversary of UDHR) announced the successful completion and readiness of its special report on military massacre operations in Eastern Nigeria. Intersociety is a research and investigative rights campaigner and documenter.
Titled: Under Buhari & Osinbajo: Many Have Gone & Crippled For Life In Eastern Nigeria (Detailed Chronology of Nigerian Military Massacre Operations in Eastern Nigeria: August 2015-Sept. 2017); the special report is 85 pages, attached with another 62-page victims’ album containing photos and other pictorial details of the slain, the injured and the incarcerated. The research work following the special report took three years or December 2015 to December 2018 to complete.
The 62-page victims’ album also included photos of police personnel; soldiers and their hired civilians caught engaging in roadblock corruption (i.e. extorting money from motorists) on Southeast Roads. This was found as one of the socio-economic consequences of the military massacre operations in Eastern Nigeria.
The Special Report is the largest, most comprehensive, knowledgeable, facts laden and scientific report ever produced by Nigerian based rights CSO at least in the past ten years in Nigeria. Apart from major highlights of the report captured by its Executive Summary below, it also contains short profiles of the Nigerian Military (army, navy and air force) and the Nigeria Police Force (the perpetrator security formations under study).
The special report was researched, compiled and authored by Emeka Umeagbalasi; a field or grassroots rights advocate of 25yrs standing (since 1995) who is also a criminologist and graduate of security studies with post graduate expertise in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. He was assisted by scores of local and int’l legal and academic luminaries and over six local research assistants.
For easy reading and analysis, the special report is properly and professionally paragraphed and divided into major segments highlighted in its Executive Summary; with some already published in the past weeks. A compelling and must read report, it is further, for purpose of this publication, divided into Executive Summary, Statistics of the Killings, Lists of the Perpetrators and 22-point Recommendations. While the Executive Summary is published today, others shall follow suit in coming days. The full report can be assessed on our website on: www.intersociety-ng.org in coming days.
Members of the Nigerian public and Int’l community or local and international organizations including members of the diplomatic community interested in getting the special report at sourcecan reach us through [email protected] or on whatsapp on +2348174090052.
We strongly encourage concerned or interested international rights advocacy groups and members of the diplomatic or international community and other apostles of justice around the world not just to read the special report when received or seen but importantly to take same to the next level; using its 22-point recommendations contained in the recommendation segment of the report as a guide.
The roles expected of the above named include ensuring: (a) justice to the victims slain or maimed or traumatized or pauperized; (b) justice to the perpetrators for purpose of severely punishing them, deterring others and preventing repeat offenses; and (c) justice to the society that is rapaciously debased, devalued and desecrated. Below is the Executive Summary.
This special report involves several investigations and findings by Intersociety. It contains statistical and shocking details of the massacre operations and other atrocity crimes perpetrated in Eastern Nigeria or the heartland of Igbo Nation (Southeast and parts of South-south) in Nigeria. The heinous crimes were committed by the authorities of the Nigerian Military and Police, on orders of President Muhammadu Buhari, his office and security service chiefs whom he controls as “Commander-in-Chief.”
The massacre operations are officially characterized as “Nigerian Army Python Dance Series or internal security operations in Southeast Nigeria.” The perpetrators, identified in this special report by their names and official positions held at the time of the horrendous crimes; vicariously or directly carried out their dastardly acts in the guise or under the color of “internal security operations in Southeast and parts of South-south Regions of Nigeria.” The perpetrators also committed the heinous crimes on account of unspeakable violent crackdowns targeted at unarmed and defenseless pro-Biafra activists and their leaders as well as other defenseless members of the Nigerian population of ethnic Igbo Christian background.
The referenced military massacre operations and other atrocity crimes specifically took place between 30th August 2015 and 14th September 2017. The first phase of the massacre operations (30th August, 2ndand 17th December 2015; and 18th and 29thJanuary and 9th February, 29th and 30th May 2016; as well as 20th January 2017) was carried out by the joint military and police operations under President Buhari’s secret lethal code disguised as “internal security operations”; while the second phase (15thSeptember-14th October 2017, commenced on 8th September 2017) was done under “Nigerian Army Python Dance 11 Exercise in the Southeast”. Soldiers of the Nigerian Army accounted for about 75% of the entire killings while personnel of the Nigeria Police Force perpetrated 20% and others (i.e., navy and SSS) 5%.
The segment of the general Igbo and other non-Igbo Christian Population affected by the massacre operations are those exercising their rights to self-determination using nonviolence or through democratic assemblies such as street protests, religious processions, picketing, prayers and worship, night vigils and street marches, etc; as well as other defenseless Igbo citizens shot and killed or wounded or abducted at their places of work, or on their way home or to work or those at sleep in the dead of the night.
Most, if not all the slain, wounded or abducted victims are members of the Nigerian Christian Faith and other non-Muslim religions. Hospitals, where the wounded were taken to for treatment, were also invaded by soldiers at night or late evening during which some of them were abducted to unknown locations where they must have been shot dead and remained untraced till sate.
The massacre operations were the crude and deadly response of the Buhari/Osinbajo Government to renewed nonviolent campaigns by disenchanted People of the old Eastern Nigeria calling or agitating for the restructuring of Nigeria and end to their age-long political exclusion and persecution or total independent statehood for the “Biafra People” in the alternative.
Despite being nonviolent and never resorted to armed resistance, the central Government of Muhammadu Buhari/Yemi Osinbajo went ahead and unleashed unspeakable State violence on the unarmed and defenseless population by ordering and supervising full military massacre operations; accompanied by the order to shoot and kill any agitator on sight; during which other members of the public were shot and killed or shot and critically wounded or crippled for life.
In the course of several investigations by Intersociety, ten locations or scenes of crime were identified, in addition to seven major locations (graveyards or dumping sites) where the slain were shallowly buried, or burnt to ashes, or lacerated with suspected raw acid substances and dumped in the open or thrown off the bridge into the river or dumped and left in secret or isolated places to decompose and eaten by vultures or scavengers.
We further found that most of the slain bodies were taken away from the scenes of their killing by soldiers and police personnel attached to the massacre operations; with no traces of their locations or whereabouts by their families and other associates till date. There are also reported cases of dozens of unarmed citizens, many of whom unarmed pro-Biafra activists abducted in their sleep or at their workplaces by soldiers and Police SARS and SSS operatives with no traces of their whereabouts till date.
We had in the course of our investigations identified the ten killing or massacre locations as (a) Asaba (Delta State), (b) Onitsha (Anambra State), (c) Nkpor/Ogidi (Anambra State), (d) Aba (Abia State), (e) Umuahia (Abia State), (f) Isiala-Ngwa (Abia State), (g) Asa-Ogwe (Abia State), (h) Port Harcourt (Rivers State), (i) Uyo (Akwa Ibom State) and (j) Awka (Anambra State).
The seven significant graveyards or dumping sites identified in the course of our investigations are (1) Asaba Swamps, (2) River Niger (Onitsha), (3) Onitsha Military Cemetery, (4) Umuahia Forests, (5) Isiala-Ngwa Forests, (6) Umu-Ura (Ogwe) Forest and (7) Aba National High School/Aba-Port Harcourt Road Burrow Pits.
Defenseless Igbo women, many of them young mothers, were not spared. While scores were among those killed or wounded in the massacre operations, others were forced to run and abandon their husbands and children or got arrested and detained for months without trial. In August 2018, no fewer than 127 Igbo mothers dominated by young mothers in ages of 22yrs to 45yrs and a lesser number of others in ages of 50-64 were arrested in Imo State by the Nigeria Police Force, detained for days and arraigned in court for the phantom offense of terrorism, among other felonies.
They had staged a street protest in Owerri, Imo State on 17th August 2018, calling for the end of persecution of the People of Igbo Nation and bad governance in the country including Igbo Land. It took sustained public outcries including media campaigns by Intersociety and other rights bodies and lawyers for them to be freed and released from prison and acquitted of the phantom “terrorism” charges.
Also in the course of President Muhammadu Buhari ordered military massacre operations, hundreds of unarmed and defenseless citizens of Igbo Christian and Jewish religious backgrounds were arrested and clamped into indefinite detention, from where they were arraigned in court on spurious charges of terrorism and other felonies.
Up till November 2018, dozens of them were still languishing in various maximum prisons located in Enugu, Awka, Umuahia, Aba and Port Harcourt. The Buhari/Osinbajo Government also made reckless use of “prosecutorial vindictiveness” and “racial profiling” to arrest defenseless Igbo citizens in their hundreds at will or indiscriminately and clamp them into extended detention without trial.
Torture and custodial deaths were also very rampant with several cases of scores of unarmed pro-Biafra citizens and others arrested alive by soldiers and tortured or killed in custody. Instances were documented in this special report where those arrested alive and taken away by soldiers were later found tied and blindfolded, before being shot dead and dumped inside forests particularly in Umuahia and Aba areas of Abia State.
The military massacre operations and other atrocity crimes were perpetrated and perpetuated in flagrant disobedience to or breach of the Fundamental Human Rights Charter in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (Sections 33-46) including those that guarantee citizens’ rights to life (s.33), dignity of human person (s.34), personal liberty (s.35), fair hearing (s.36), privacy and family (s.37) as well as rights to freedom of worship (s.38), expression (s.39), assembly and association (s.40), movement (s.41), freedom from discrimination (s.42); and rights to acquisition and ownership of immovable properties (s.43) and legal remedies and compensations (s.46).
The Nigerian authorities also immorally and gravely breached their constitutional obligations and duties to the citizens (collective rights) including protection, safety, security and welfare of the citizens contained in Chapter Two of the Constitution (Sections 13-21) otherwise called the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy.
The regional and international law including rights and humanitarian treaties’ obligations of the Nigerian Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari/Prof Yemi Osinbajo were also abused and breached with reckless abandon. The massacre operations were an apparent act of commission of crimes against humanity having been perpetrated in a non-war situation.
As at the time the atrocity crimes were committed, till date, the Igbo Land or the affected Region of Nigeria was not and still not at war and has no armed resistance or armed opposition group anywhere in the Region. In all the killings, too, no single soldier lost his or her life.
The Government atrocities against the People of Eastern Nigeria were also perpetrated or done in clear breach of the African Rights Charter of 1981, the UN Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (1976); the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976); the UN’s Women and Children’s Rights Conventions of 1984 and 1990; the UN anti Torture and Genocide Conventions of 1985 and 1948; the UN Convention against Enforced Disappearances of 2009; the UN Convention against All Forms Of Racial Discrimination of 1969; the Int’l Criminal Court Statute of 1998; and the Geneva Conventions or Laws of Armed and Non-Armed Conflicts of 1949. These international rights and humanitarian treaties and laws are duly signed and ratified by Nigeria.
Statistically, a total of 480 unarmed and defenseless citizens of the Igbo Christian and Jewish religious backgrounds and other non-Igbo members of the Nigerian Christian Faith were massacred; with no fewer than 500 others shot and critically injured and scores crippled for life.
No fewer than 60 of those shot and wounded including four that died at Multicare Hospital, Nkpor in 2015 have also died as a result of injuries and allied complications. Between August and December 2015, no fewer than 40 unarmed and defenseless persons were shot and killed in Onitsha, Awka and Aba and between January, February and May 2016, no fewer than 200 were killed in Aba and Onitsha with over 200 others injured.
In January 2017, specifically on 20th, as much as 20 were shot and killed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State during Pro Trump rally, with over 70 others shot and injured and 65 arrested. Between 12thand 14th September 2017, no fewer than 180 were shot and killed in Asa-Ogwe and Isiala-Ngwa Military Checkpoints as well as Aba and Umuahia-Ibeku, all in Abia State. Over 130 others were shot and critically injured.
Also accompanying this 85-page special report is a 62-page victims’ albumcontaining photos and other pictorial details of the slain, the injured and the incarcerated as well as tables of statisticsshowing domination of the present Nigeria’s national and regional (Southeast) top security and justice establishments or offices by citizens of the Fulani-Hausa Muslim background as well as names of the vicarious and direct perpetrators in the military massacre operations.
The 62-page victims’ album also included photos of police personnel; soldiers and their hired civilians caught engaging in roadblock corruption (i.e. extorting money from motorists). This was found as one of the socio-economic consequences of the military massacre operations in Eastern Nigeria.
The skewed or lopsided security architecture is done in brazen disregard to the country’s multi-ethnic and religious composition. The lopsided security establishments’ composition is deliberately designed and responsible for the military massacre of unarmed and defenseless citizens of the Igbo Nation and scores of non-Igbo citizens of South-south extraction. The special report also contains 22-point recommendations to local and international actors including recommended sanctions for the perpetrators and reparatory justice for the victims.
In summation, the special report contains graphic accounts or details of the massacre operations including (a) characterization of the atrocity crimes (e.g., extrajudicial killing, torture, destruction of properties, loss of businesses, etc), (b) approximate time, dates and places of the atrocity crimes, (c) names of the victims or other description of victim(s), (d) detailed description of the atrocity crimes, (e) sources relied upon for the detailed description of the atrocity crimes (e.g., witnesses, newspaper reports, videos, photos etc).
Others are: (f) names of sources or witnesses of the atrocity crimes, (g) known or suspected perpetrators of the atrocity crimes including names and official positions in the federal or state government in Nigeria, (h) description of involvement or suspected knowledge of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo or identified Nigerian military or security officer(s), (i) failure of the Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari/Prof Yemi Osinbajo to apply or invoke universally acceptable measures or sanctions to punish the perpetrators or hold them to account including the atrocious military and police commanders.
It is also on record that no single perpetrator or security operative or officer including military or police officer who ordered or carried out the massacre operations has been arrested, detained, investigated, tried and convicted for the atrocity crimes. All the direct and vicarious perpetrators involved in the massacre operations are not only on the prowl till date but also shielded or protected by the Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari/Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Cases of evidence destruction or erasure of traces of culpability were also high and rampant.
Lastly, the Military Massacre Operations in Eastern Nigeria particularly in the Southeast and Igbo Delta also left their economic, insecurity and psychological scars on faces and lives of the innocent citizens of the Region particularly in the past three years and four months (August 2015-December 2018) or past 40 months.
These losses have arisen as a result of mobility insecurity (military and police insecurity) generated by unchecked corrupt practices and brutalities of thousands of armed military and police personnel drafted or stationed on all major roads in the Southeast Region and Igbo Delta areas. The military and police siege on Southeast and Igbo Delta roads has further given rise to unchecked road tout insecurity and sundry extortion in the Region- another nightmare to the road users in the Region.
The aftermath effects and losses incurred on account of the massacre operations have taken a heavy toll on the economy and other social lives of the People of old Eastern Nigeria. The total quantification of economic losses incurred by People of Southeast and Igbo Delta on account of the Buhari/Osinbajo Administration’s ordered Military Massacre Operations and security siege on the Region clearly indicates that not less than N336b or $1.1b (at official exchange of N306 per $USD) must have been lost in the past 40 months or between August 2015 and December 2018.
While N84b or $280m was lost to sundry roadblock extortion in the hands of military and police personnel stationed in the Region and its major link roads; N16b ($53m) was lost to other roadblock extortions mounted by paramilitary formations including Custom Service, FRSC, NAFDAC, and NDLEA as well as custodial extortion arising from inter custodial suspects’ transfer (i.e., between Police and NDLEA/NAFDAC).
Other economic losses suffered are N48b lost to drastic drops in daily bank deposits, N120b lost to diversion and loss of direct investments and N55b lost to trapped and unpaid trade-debts (bad debts) arising from goods supplied by over 1m Igbo traders in 40 months to their “unseen” and “scared away” customers trading outside the Region; totally projected at N300b, on average of N300, 000 per trader with N50,000 loss each; out of which over N50b must have been lost or gone into “bad debts” not capable of repayment. These are on account of raging mobility insecurityor military and police insecurity ravaging the Region.
Total of N1.8b represents minimal losses (N18b maximum losses) incurred by the families of the victims of the military massacre operations lost in various expenses in 40 months. The People of the Southeast also lost the sum of N12b through the five Southeast Governors in futile efforts to aid or support the military and police personnel and formations stationed in the Region. Totality of these brings the total to over N336b or $1.1b as total monetary worth of economic losses or socio-economic consequences suffered by the People of Southeast Region and Igbo Delta in the course of the Nigerian Military Massacre Operations in Eastern Nigeria.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., Chinwe Umeche, Esq., and Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]