Posted by News Express | 21 June 2021 | 1,264 times
Frontline rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has named Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma and his Ebonyi State counterpart, David Umahi, among “war & humanity crimes perpetrators over the genocidal operations carried out by military and police in Southeastern part of Nigeria”.
Intersociety disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Onitsha jointly signed by its Principal Officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Chidimma Udegbunam, Esq., and Uju Igboeli, Esq. It said that Governor Umahi was included for encouraging the atrocity crimes by his policies and utterances especially in his capacity as the Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum.
The group included Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in the list of perpetrators involved in the Obigbo Army massacre and abduction carried out in October/November 2020.
Intersociety noted that, though Abia State accounted the second largest number of casualties and destroyed properties perpetrated by security forces, said it did not find sufficient evidence linking its Governor, Victor Ikpeazu to the conduct atrocities.
The rights group noted that the controversial emergence of the Imo Governor following the January 2020 ‘shameful’ judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, is the root cause of the ongoing mayhem in the state which started in the middle of January 2021 and that has escalated to eight others States of Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Delta.
It alleged that since the judgement, investigative evidence has clearly shown that the Imo Governor has, by policies, conducts and utterances, inescapably aided and abetted the butcheries and property burning and destruction targeted at and unleashed on innocent and defenseless citizens of the state.
Intersociety also said it had blacklisted the serving Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal and resolved not to add “Lordship/Honorable” in their official titles until further notice.
According to Intersociety, others on the list are: All the top commanders of the Nigerian Army in Imo, Abia, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Cross River and Delta States: Major Gen Toareed Lagbaja, GOC, 82 Division, Enugu, Major Gen Sani Gambo Mohammed, GOC, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Brig Gen GS Mohammed, Commander, 82 Division Finance Corps, Enugu, Brig Gen A. Idris, Brigade Commander, 63 Brigade, Asaba, Brigadier Gen Raymond Utsaha, Brigade Commander, 34 Brigade, Obinze near Owerri, Brig Gen M. Ibrahim, Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Abia State, Brig Gen M.A. Abdullahi, Brigade Commander, 13 Brigade, Calabar, Col Abdulsalam Abubakar Sambo, Cantonment Commandant, 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Lt Col O. Sadiq, Commanding Officer, 24 Army Support Engineering, Abakiliki, Lt Col Yusuf Salisu, immediate past Commanding Officer, 103 Battalion, Awkunanaw, Enugu, Lt Col Charles Ekeocha, Spokesman, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Major Ahmed, Commanding Officer, Onitsha Cantonment Military Police.
Other are: Army commanders in the Region accountable for the butcheries and property destruction and burning: The present Commanders of 2 Brigade, Uyo, 6 Division Garrison, 56 Signals and 46 Engineers Brigades, Port Harcourt and the 82 Division Garrison Brigade and its 44 Engineers and 54 Signals Brigades, Enugu as well as Commanding Officers of 144 Battalion, Asa/Aba in Abia State, 343 Battalion, Elele in Rivers State, 130 Battalion and 341 Artillery Regiment, Ogoja in Cross River State and other commanders/commanding officers of the affiliated formations, units and sectors including the Military Police formations under 82 Division, Enugu and 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Spokespersons of 82 and 6 Divisions as well as spokespersons of 34 Brigade, Obinze and 14 Brigade, Ohafia. Other military commanders involved are Navy Commodore SH Abdullahi, Commander, and Nigerian Navy School of Finance & Logistics, Owerrenta, Abia State and Commanding Officers of 211 Regiment of the Nigerian Air Force, Owerri and Nigerian Naval Base in Ogbaru, Anambra State. The AIG, Zone 9, Umuahia, Ene Okon, Abia CP, Janet Agbede and Imo CP, Abutu Yaro and their Commands’ DCPs/ACPs for Operations and Criminal Investigations Departments and PPROs, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna and SP Bala Elkan and DCP Abba Kyari and his “Intelligence Response Team” are added in the list of conduct atrocity crimes perpetrators.
The statement read further: “...It is settled and beyond argumentation that “when crimes, especially those of grievous nature are perpetrated but not investigated, documented and archived with their perpetrators identified in writing, it is not only that no crimes have been committed in the eyes of criminal law and records but also failure to investigate, document and archive such heinous crimes technically set the perpetrators free for the rest of their lives and earn the status of repeat=offenders. But when reverse is the case, the perpetrators become persona non gratae and liable in law, diplomatic and other noble social circles for the rest of their lives and life after death”.
“By updated account of 17th June of our extensive investigations since late January 2021: “in 167 days of 2021 or 1st January to 17th June, the Nigerian security forces especially Army and Police abducted or arrested and incarcerated no fewer than 2,560 mostly innocent and law abiding citizens of Igbo Christian extraction across the named nine States; that not less than 510 others were traceably killed including 150 victims of the State backed Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen killings; that out of the over 2560 abductees or arrestees, 620 were disappeared or feared killed in the captivity of the military; that over 90% of the victims of the above conduct atrocities are innocent citizens falsely labeled and criminally stigmatized; that over 90% of Police and Military claims of “killing” or “arresting” ESN/IPOB hoodlums/terrorists/supporters/charms provider-native doctors” are false and unfounded; that 14 out of every 15 citizens killed are innocent and defenseless; likewise 24 out of every 25 arrested; that 59 out of every 60 abducted and disappeared by soldiers are not most likely to return to their homes or families alive and that out of over 360 victims of the military and police killings, less than 10% of them were combatively involved, out of which 60% were killed outside the law or ought not to have been shot and killed on account of being nonviolent at the time of their shooting and killing; and in other words, they are victims of deadly use of force”.
Speaking more on the operations, Intersociety recalled that the Nigerian Defense Headquarters which coordinates the operations of the Armed Forces in the named nine States had also on 17th June 2021, issued a statement admitting “killing scores of IPOB/ESN members” in the past two weeks.
It also recalled how the Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State also issued a statement on 19th June 2021, “condemning the killing of civilians in the Southeast zone by security agencies”:
It declared that by Sections 33 and 36 of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and relevant others contained in the African Rights Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, security operatives are forbidden from killing or fatally wounding any citizen suspected of having committed a crime or about to commit the same irrespective of the crime’s gravity who is arrested unarmed or nonviolently; or killing or fatally wounding of such citizen in custody after being arrested unarmed and taken into custody.
It also declared that Section 36 (5) also presumes the citizen innocent until judicially found guilty adding that ‘investigative indictment’ is never a license to shoot and kill ‘ the citizen or terminally dismembering his or her in parts or in whole body.
The right group also pinpointed at section 35 of the same Constitution and its African Charter and ICCPR counterparts that also guaranteed every accused and arrested or detained citizen the right to be brought and tried in Court within stipulated timeframe and Section 42 forbids discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of his or her place of birth, ethnicity, gender, religion and class.
Consequently, it said that the Nigerian security forces and their commanders blacklisted and deployed especially in Imo and Abia states have in addition also egregiously committed War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, clearly defined and outlined in Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998, signed and ratified by Nigeria on 27th September 2001.
Intersociety, however called on the EU, USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Mexico, South Korea, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, respected intergovernmental, nongovernmental and human rights compliant multinational corporations and institutions to take note of the named conduct atrocity perpetrators pending the time appropriate for international committal proceedings against them.
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