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Eastern Nigeria: Soldiers, Police, Others Abducted 2000 Persons, Disappeared 500, Extra-judicially Killed 140 Since Jan 2021

…Intersociety

Onitsha-Nigeria, 26th May 2021

It is the new finding by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a leading research and investigative rights group that no fewer than 2000 law abiding citizens of Eastern Nigeria have since January 2021 been abducted by soldiers of the Nigerian Army and operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Navy, Department of the State Security Service and others; and out of this number, at least, 500 have disappeared or feared killed in secret custody of the Army or made victims of unlawful executions who will never return alive. The abduction involved the victims being secretly arrested at ungodly hours, falsely and criminally labeled without conclusive investigations; held secretly amidst torture and other degrading treatments or punishments; and treated ‘extra jus’ detention without fair court trial and access to the victims by their families, physicians and lawyers. It is also our finding that out of no fewer than 140 killed in the two regions by the named security operatives especially soldiers and police since January 2021, at least 120 are independently found to be combatively uninvolved or victims of extra-judicial killings. The military and police killings involved not less than 40 killed in Imo, 30 in Akwa Ibom, 20 in Abia, 15 in Rivers, 13 in Anambra, 10 in Ebonyi, 8 in Cross River, 5 in Enugu and none in Delta. All the States mentioned are collectively the victims of the military abductions and disappearances.

The above findings followed our recent review of the ongoing ethnic and religious profiling and cleansing embarked upon by Nigerian military in the East particularly in the States of Imo, Abia, Rivers, Ebonyi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Delta and Cross River States; discreditably and questionably code-named: Operation Restore Peace”. The new review shows that Imo State topped the list of the abductees with no fewer than 500, followed by Abia, Ebonyi, Rivers and Akwa Ibom with average of 300 abductees; Anambra 200 and average of 100 abductees each Cross River, Enugu and Delta States. These abductions, killings, maiming, torture and disappearances by military and police also bear stark evidence of persecution, hate and crude policing and solidering as 99% of the victims cutting across the three heinous crimes are members of Christian faith with most of them belonging to Igbo Ethnic Nationality. Intersociety did not find any evidence showing that such violent clampdowns are also extended to members of Fulani Muslim population resident in the East whose jihadist elements have since 2016 killed over 400 rural and urban Igbo Christians and their neighbors and forcefully occupied over 500 of their farmlands, bushes and forests. Further checks also indicated that the non indigenous Muslim population in the regions are pampered and treated sacredly by the drafted Muslim dominated and controlled security heads.

In the area of inter-agency responsibility as regards to the abductions, killings, and disappearances, etc; soldiers of the Nigerian Army are the most crude, brutish and unprofessional; accounting for many of the killings and most of the disappearances. In Imo State alone, soldiers accounted for many, if not most of the 40 deaths including ten passersby or residents of the State killed at Army roadblock checks and during patrols. Soldiers also accounted for most of not less than 20 killings in Abia State; falsely labeled “IPOB/ESN members”. In recent repelled “unknown gunmen” attack at Army roadblock in Aba, for instance, soldiers including members of the reinforcement military squads opened fire and killed scores of passersby including Keke riders and later labeled them “IPOB/ESN members”. This was after the attackers had retreated safely having been out-gunned. During the recent Orlu shootout between soldiers and the “unknown gunmen”, out of eleven bodies displayed and labeled as “slain IPOB/ESN gunmen”, at least six were not combatively involved; same was the case in another attack that took place few days ago in Awka-where out of seven displayed slain bodies of “IPOB/ESN gunmen”, at least five were not combatively involved. Soldiers also shared same responsibility with police and SSS (DSS) in the area of late night house raids and instant killing of sleeping or resting citizens and their abduction. A clear case in point was in Iriebe, Rivers State where soldiers and police raided a house at late night and opened fire killing a single mother of two and three others and labeled them “IPOB members”. Instances are many to mention.

Soldiers also took the lead and accounted for over 90% of the 500 disappeared persons. This they did by abducting large number of lawful citizens at roadblocks and during late night raids, etc and hatefully labeled them as “IPOB/ESN members”. The soldiers after abducting the citizens are found on several occasions to have refused to hand them over to the Police as required by Nigerian Law, but abduct them to unknown locations where they run high risks of being killed and buried in secrecy. Till date, soldiers are still holding 110 abducted Obigbo residents in far away Nigerian Army Commando Base in Bida, Niger State; and out of the number; two have been tortured or starved to death. The victims were abducted in Obigbo, Rivers State since October/November 2020 or since past seven months.

Soldiers, police and DSS shared responsibility for abducting no fewer than 2000 Easterners since January 2021. This they jointly did through late night house raids, house-to-house search, stop-and-search and other forms of operational patrols. While police personnel abducted and kept most of the abductees alive amidst torture and other inhuman treatments including detention without trial; soldiers and DSS are notoriously known to abducting and taking the abductees to their secret dungeons where access to their families, physicians and lawyers is totally blocked and denied. DSS operatives and soldiers including personnel of the Nigerian Navy are also noted for holding their captives for several months or years outside public knowledge, official records and court trial. The most shocking of it all was our recent discovery of secret transfer of between 300 and 350 abducted Eastern citizens to Makurdi Prisons (Correctional Facility) in Benue State. They were among those abducted in Imo, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi, etc and held in secrecy for months before secretly transferred to the named Prison facilities. The abductees also represent bulk of those abducted by Police. Information concerning the whereabouts of those abducted by soldiers and DSS including the estimated 500 disappeared citizens has remained unavailable; thereby raising serious concerns over their safety including whether they are still alive or not. Survivors among them, likely in their hundreds are strongly suspected to have been secretly transferred to secret military dungeons in the North using hired rogue commercial transport companies.

Finally, apart from soldiers of the Nigerian Army being at the forefront of the ongoing killings in Christian Eastern Nigeria, they are also responsible for many of the referenced abductions and most of the disappearances. These killings, maiming, torture, abuses, abductions and disappearances are fueled by domination and control of the officer corps of the military formations in the two regions by Muslims who wantonly exhibit jihadist and hateful attitudes towards the general citizens of the two regions including seeing and treating them as “infidels”. In Delta State, such killer military operations are coordinated by 63 Brigade under same domination and control of Muslim officers and non indigenous others. Same goes in Anambra State under Onitsha 302 Army Artillery Regiment and Ogbaru Navy Base, Imo State under 34 Brigade Obinze, Abia State under 14 Brigade Ohafia and 144 Battalion at Asa and Aba and Navy School of Finance and Logistics at Owerrenta; Rivers State under 343 and 5 Battalions, Elele and 6 Division in Port Harcourt; Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States under 2 Brigade, Uyo and 16 Brigade, Yenagoa; Cross River State under 13 Brigade and its 130 Battalion and 341 Artillery Regiment in Ogoja; Ebonyi State under 24 Army Support Engineering, Abakiliki; and Enugu State under 82 Division and its 103 Battalion, Awkunanaw.

Signed:

Principal Officers:

· Emeka Umeagbalasi

Criminologist/Board Chair

· Barr Chinwe Umeche

· Barr Obianuju Igboeli

· Barr Chidimma Udegbunam

Contacts:

Phone/WhatsApp: +2348174090052, Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, Website: intersociety-ng.org

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Kill Them All, Don’t Wait For An Order, Don’t Mind Media Report On Human Rights — IGP Usman Tells Police

Acting IGP, Alkali Baba Usman

The acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, on Tuesday declared war on Biafra agitators and gunmen attacking and destroying police infrastructure in the South-East and South-South regions and ordered their extermination.

Baba, who spoke on the sideline while addressing the Police Mobile Force and Special Tactical Squad of the Force in Enugu shortly after he launched Operation Restore Peace, directed policemen in the region not to adhere to the rules of engagement while dealing with Biafra secessionist groups, adding that his job was to protect them.

“Don’t mind the media shout; do the job I command you. If anyone accuses you of human rights violation, the report will come to my table and you know what I will do. So, take the battle to them wherever they are and kill them all. Don’t wait for an order.

“What another order are you waiting for when Mr. President had ordered you to shoot anybody carrying AK-47 rifle? Quote me, even a dead policeman can be tried and dismissed from the force and his family will not get his benefits.

“So, don’t seat and wait for them to come; take attack to them and don’t lose your arms to criminals,” the acting IGP said.

In an address earlier, before declaring open the operation codenamed, Operation RT – Restore Peace, which was witnessed by governors of the South-East states and heads of other security agencies, Usman stated that the operation was for the stabilisation of the security order in the geopolitical zone.

He maintained that “the time is now. Today’s launch of Operation RP by the Nigeria Police follows the directives of Mr. President to the Nigeria Police to re-evaluate and emplace new operational strategies to stem the tide of violence and secessionist agenda not only in the South-East but across the country.”

Baba added, “Indeed, the resort to terror tactics, disregard to constitutional processes and disrespect for democratic standards to advance their interests of creating an ungovernable space in the region informed the decision of the Federal Government to outlaw IPOB.”

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had earlier in his address, pledged the support of the South-East governors to restore peace in the zone.

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Ndubuisi Udo: Disband SARS And Reform The Police— by Kolawole Simon |The Republican News

Ndubuisi “Dele” Udo killed by Nigeria police officer in 1981

By Simon Kolawole

If you don’t know Ndubuisi (“Dele”) Udo, it is not your fault. The Nigerian police did not allow him to be great. As a teenage athlete in the 1970s, Udo was a collegiate champion at the University of Missouri in the United States. He was a three-time member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-American team. He was a holder of numerous Missouri, Big Eight and NCAA records. Then he came to Nigeria in July 1981 in preparation for the 3rd IAAF World Cup scheduled for September 1981 in Rome, Italy. The quarter-miler would never return to the US again, neither would he fulfil his dreams and aspirations of conquering the world in athletics.

One evening, he left camp with some of his colleagues to buy suya at Ojuelegba, Lagos state. They were stopped at a police checkpoint. You know how it goes with the Nigerian police. One thing or the other, they got into an argument. Then a policeman pulled out his gun and shot Udo. He was dead in nanoseconds. As young as I was then, I could not resist the tears when I watched his funeral on TV. He was just 24. He had been part of the Nigerian team to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Although he did not win any medals (Nigeria came back empty-handed), his future looked bright. He was just warming up. He made it to the semi-finals of 400 meters and was part of the 4x400m team.

The prodigious product of National High School, Aba, had been married to an American lady for just three weeks when the Nigerian police murdered him. Udo’s wife was pregnant with their daughter, who would never see her father. They killed him. Police killed him. They murdered his hopes and dreams with a solitary, sickening bullet — over nothing. What happened next? You know the drill: the killer policeman was detained; the inspector-general of police, Mr Sunday Adewusi, who was new on the job then, promised a thorough investigation; President Shehu Shagari vowed that justice would be done; and a street was named after Udo in Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri, Imo state. The end.

Adewusi, now late, would go on to unleash the mobile police unit (MOPOL) on Nigerians in the 1983 general election. The notoriety of the anti-riot unit earned them the nickname: “Kill and Go.” And here, 39 years after the gruesome murder of Dele Udo, we are still reeling under police brutality. Innocent souls are still being battered, this time by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which has displaced MOPOL on the cruelty league table. Murderous police officers are still being arrested and detained. The inspector-general is still promising to investigate the “remote and immediate” causes. The president is still promising justice and action. Does anything really change in Nigeria?

The latest public outrage over the impunity of SARS — triggered by the reported shooting of a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta state — offers President Muhammadu Buhari an opportunity of a lifetime to write his name in gold by carrying out a comprehensive reform of the police. It is in our best interest. This is not the time to be taking photographs with the IGP and issuing press statements to the effect that he has been directed to do this and that. The police hierarchy are part and parcel of the problem. They have always resisted attempts to make a fundamental change. They mouth one thing and do another. You and I know the reason. Why change a system that feathers your nest?

Before SARS, police had always engaged in vicious extrajudicial killings. There is nothing we are saying about SARS today that we have not said about other police units in the past, except that today we are in the internet age and officers have seized the opportunity to open new shops dedicated to yahoo boys and girls. Task forces set up by various state governments to enforce traffic rules and environmental laws are notorious for human rights abuses. Police officers will first slap a bus driver before arresting him for stopping at an illegal bus stop. Police officers rent guns to armed robbers or even partake in robbery operations themselves. SARS is just a tip of the iceberg.

Why are police officers generally so brutal? Why are they so arbitrary? Why do they drive against traffic? Why do they drink and gamble? Why do they rape? Why do they make themselves available to be hired to settle personal scores in purely civil matters? Why do they openly extort money from motorists? Why do they steal exhibits? Why do they lack respect for human dignity? These questions go beyond SARS. They hit at the heart of everything that is wrong with our police force. Disbanding SARS can only be a starting point. But if the factory that produces these cold-blooded police officers remains open and is not overhauled, we would only be scratching the surface.

Meanwhile, the truth is that police officers are also not completely useless. They are out there risking their lives to protect us. They are awake while we are sleeping and snoring. They are standing by the roadside while we are in our air-conditioned offices. They are always the first target when armed robbers want to strike. They are human beings like us. They are fathers and mothers. They are uncles and aunties. Ironically, these same police officers win medals when they are on duty outside the country, especially on UN and AU missions. How do we explain that? Is there something about the Nigerian water that destroys their humanity? Is it our culture of impunity?

In 2004, I did a mini-study on the police, with great help from my friend and foot soldier, Ibrahim Sule (who sadly passed away last year). I wanted to understand the problems and challenges. I focused the research on the recruitment process and the conditions of service. I then wrote a series of articles based on my findings. Here is a quick summary. The recruitment was terribly flawed. Because of our poor record keeping, ex-convicts, including armed robbers, and unfit persons were being recruited into the force. The conditions of training could only produce beasts. The hostels were inhabitable, the food was appalling and even their allowances were not being paid.

Firearms training was grossly inadequate. Many recruits finished training without being properly taught arms handling. Recruits had to bribe to get official uniforms. What’s more, at every level and stage in the recruitment process, there was fraud. Police belts and shoes were being hawked openly. For those already inside the force, the tales were sadder. They saw their colleagues die on duty and their widows battle and struggle for years to collect the entitlements. One senior officer once lamented to me: “Is this what will happen to my family if I die serving this country?” Police officers were being given patrol vans without fuel. They had to fuel the vehicles from their own pockets.

“You think we don’t know they extort motorists?” a very, very senior police officer told me. “We just look the other way because we don’t give them money for fuel.” Guess what happened to the fuel budget. Officers were being transferred without plans for accommodation and without getting their allowances. I was at the Pen Cinema police station, Agege, Lagos, one morning and saw policemen sleeping inside a van. One officer told me: “They were transferred from Enugu last month. There was no plan for accommodation, so they sleep inside patrol van, wake up very early in the morning to have their bath, and they have to go on patrol without funds being provided for fuel.”

I can’t remember what officers were being paid as hazard allowance then but it was a pitiable pittance, while politicians were feasting on billions of naira. Have you ever gone to report a case at a police station and you are asked to “mobilise” officers to for investigation? This is the back story: there are hardly any funds made available for investigation. An officer told me some years ago that he had to be transporting suspects to court from his own pocket. Many suspects rot in police cells for this reason. A police officer confided in me that he resorted to drinking dry gin and smoking marijuana anytime he was on night duty to gain “Dutch courage”. He often felt vulnerable.

Fellow Nigerians, you can now imagine what would happen when you unleash these bitter, desperate, frustrated, ill-trained, cheated, demoralised, disoriented and dehumanised human beings on the society — and then give them guns, to boot. You ask them to police people who look successful, respected and well-nourished, people who treat them with disdain and suspicion. For clarity, I am not making any excuses for their impunity. Poor training and operational conditions do not excuse the insanity. But my point is: in the end, we are getting the kind of police that we breed. The foundation is faulty. A police officer will always be a police officer, no matter the unit or station.

That is why the problem is deeper and wider than SARS: the mould that produces police officers needs to be reshaped. Since we cannot do away with them, we have to make them more effective and recondition them to see their job as that of protecting the people, not extorting, oppressing or killing them. There is no proper consequence management and accountability process in place. When you give people power over others, give them guns, and empower them to literally make the difference between life and death, you should realise that there will be abuse and impunity and make an arrangement to address it. It is clear that no such strong mechanism currently exists.

If I were to advise President Buhari, though, the first thing is for him to seize the moment by disbanding SARS immediately. That would be the starting up. That would send a strong signal that this is not the usual presidential lip service. Also, he should order a thorough investigation of their atrocities, perhaps a truth commission that will lead to the prosecution of erring officers and commanders. Above all, he has to overhaul the police force. We need to look intensely into the recruitment process, the orientation, the welfare, the budgeting, the accountability and the entire operations. There is something that makes them behave the way they do. Let’s get to the root!

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Enugu IPOB Killings: IGP May Face Prosecution, As AIG Expresses Regrets |The Republican News

There are strong indications that the security operatives involved in the killing of some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may face litigation abroad.

Already a suit is being perfected against the Inspector General of Police to be prosecuted in any of the twenty-seven countries in Europe in order to bring the perpetrators to book.

A United Kingdom based Human Rights Lawyer Barr Paul Nwachalla who spoke to reporters on phone yesterday announced that;

“Even though the Nigerian government claims to have outlawed IPOB there are concluded arrangements to sue the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police force under what is called extended jurisdiction over extra judicial killings”.

The AIG zone 13 has acknowledge the fact of killing as well as conflicting figures in the number of death hence confirming that the police, DSS and Army are culpable.

DanMallam said, “the incident is unbecoming and unfortunate and the zone has employed best security strategies to prevent future occurrences.  

 “The zone under my watch will continue to maintain peace, law and order in Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States. I stand for justice, human right, constitutionalism, peace and development. I say no to torture, illegal arrest and detention, intimidation, and abuse of power.

“You can’t get development in atmosphere of crisis. Northerners migrating to South East are doing that because the zone is peaceful. We should continue in making the zone peaceful,” he added.

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Anger In South East As The Military Plans For Python Dance 3 In The Region |RN

“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country…”

David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Anger and condemnation have greeted the proposed relaunch of the third round of Operation Python Dance also known as Operation Python Dance III by the Nigeria Army in the South East region.

The first and second rounds of the military exercise, according to a report by the Amnesty International (AI) led to the killing of 250 and 150 Igbo youths respectively.

A human rights group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) has condemned the planned operation, alleging that it is another ploy to unjustifiably kill defenceless Igbo youths.

National Publicity Secretary of CD, Dede Uzor A. Uzor said in a statement that another Operation Python Dance in Igboland where there is no crisis amounted to a deliberate plot to provoke Igbo and slaughter their youths.

Also reacting, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Idemili branch, Ben Okoko, said the operations were a huge and monumental waste of public funds.

According to him, the exercises also showed the incompetence of the Nigerian military in handling the internal affairs of the country, adding that the military in Nigeria has come of age and should have a paradigm shift from “physicalism” to intelligence gathering and undercover operations.

“To announce to the whole world that you will be having Operation Python Dance or Snake Dance is
to say the least, letting the cat out of the bag as such activities would definitely bring the military in direct confrontation with the civilian populace who they are supposed to protect.

“Previous outings of this operation have resulted in huge casualties of civilians. There have been instances where military might may have been required but where they failed woefully. The resources they are trying to put on the ground for this Operation Python Dance III, if channelled to the flashpoints of the country, where the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram sects are wreaking havoc, would send a Nunc Dimittis to the sects and get them eradicated.

 

“It will amount to adding salt to injury for the military to come to the South East under the guise of Operation Python Dance III where the population is already saturated with heavy police presence at peacetime. So, it will be superfluous for the military to add their presence to the South East and also very provocative.

“Since people are still recovering from the effects of the military/IPOB skirmishes in the recent past, my candid advice is for the military to allow the sleeping dog lie and to take their might to where it is needed in the North East and Middle Belt sections of Nigeria,” Okoko submitted.

 

In his own reaction, General Overseer of Mount Zion Faith Global Liberation Ministry Inc. (a.k.a. By Fire By Fire), Nnewi, Anambra state, Bishop Abraham Chris Udeh, declared that South East zone and its people did not need anything called Operation Python Dance for any reason whatsoever.

He warned that anyone fronting such a move is making a mockery of Igbo in totality and at the same time “reminding us of the civil war massacre against us.”

He added: “Enough of that remembrance and marginalization of Ndigbo. They must be put to a stop without further delay else, the wrath of God will visit them individually and collectively.

“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country where Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents are disturbing the peace of the country and not in the South East where there are peace and quietness.”

He said the intimidation must be stopped, adding that if they insisted on relaunching the Operation Python Dance for the third time, they would see the wrath of God in action.

“Do you know that it is Ndigbo in the military that is being sent to the North to be killed by the Boko Haram insurgents. They think we don’t know all these things and that is why they still want to remind us of the harmful effects of the civil war and last year’s killing of Ndigbo. The current disagreements between Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen are the effect of last year’s killing of innocent Igbo sons and daughters.”

Also reacting, Vincent Ezekwueme, Anambra State chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) declared: “I reject in its entirety, the proposed relaunch of the third Operation Python Dance in South East zone because the zone is yet to recover from the shock and damning effects of the first and second exercises carried out in the past which were very disastrous in nature.”

 

Ezekwueme noted that instead of Python Dance, the South East zone was in dire and desperate need of infrastructural developments, particularly the resuscitation of moribund Onitsha Sea Port, Onitsha/3-3/Otuocha road, Enugu/Awka/Onitsha road, Nnewi/Uga/Akokwa/Arondizuogu/Okigwe road, Akanu Ibiam Airport, appointment of easterners into sensitive and strategic positions.

Ezekwueme noted that with these developments in place, the people of South-East would rather stage a Dance of Smile and at the same time, have a sense of belonging, instead of the dreaded Dance of Python.  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

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