MasterwebNews 4/12/15 - Onitsha Killings: How IGP Solomon Arase Wasted Blood Of Innocent Picketers To Save His IGPship

 [ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 3rd December 2015)-The leaderships of the Southeast based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations; comprising the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), the Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club(HRC) (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights (FEJDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), the International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (INTERSOLIDARITY) and the Street Law Africa (LawAfrica) are alarmed, shocked and dismayed over the killing on Wednesday (2nd December 2015) of peaceful and non violent protesters in various parts of Onitsha particularly along the Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s Gateway at Onitsha Niger Bridge and the Obodoukwu Road in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State; which led to the death of at least ten (10) innocent members of the public and injuring of scores of others.



While six peaceful protesters/picketers were killed at the Ojukwu Gateway (Niger Bridgehead) by soldiers, four others including a mai suya (hit by a stray bullet) were killed by SARS and Mobile Police squads along Obodoukwu Road in the nearby Ogbaru Local Government Area. Among the ten peaceful protesters violently killed by members of Governor Willie Obiano’s Joint Security Taskforce was late Miss Anthonia Nkiruka Ikeanyionwu; 21years old student of the Federal College of Education, Technical in Umunze, Orumba South LGA of Anambra State. She hailed from Adazi-Nnukwu in Anambra State. Another person was earlier shot and killed by soldiers at the Gateway in the night of 1st December 2015 after a brief interrogation. He was an Igbo driver of a long truck parked in support of the vigil/picketing. He was dragged down from his steering, briefly interrogated and shot dead.



We wish to recall that tens of thousands of peaceful protesters coordinated by the leaderships of two self determination pressure groups: the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and a splinter body of the Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), led by Comrade Uchenna Madu had on Tuesday,1st December 2015, converged at the Niger Bridgehead (Ojukwu Gateway) in Onitsha for a three day peaceful vigil/picketing to press for the unconditional release of director of the Radio Biafra London (RBL) and head of the IPOB, Citizen Nnamdi Kanu, who has been held extra judicially and unconstitutionally by the DSS since 14th October 2015.



The Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Gateway made up of the Onitsha Niger Bridgehead and the Onitsha Upper Iweka axis is considered a freedom square by teaming and ardent followers, supporters and students of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and had in recent time served as a square for free speech. The federal approval for renaming of the area after late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was secured by former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in 2012 leading to its commissioning with the erected statue of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu by former President Goodluck Jonathan on 30th August 2012.



The teeming supporters of the two self determination agitation groups had peacefully observed their vigil/picketing without molesting anybody except blockage of the Gateway for hours to pressurize the Buhari administration to release their leader. The vigil drew overwhelming sympathies and supports leading to other members of the public donating and sending cartons of bottled water, gala and short breads as well as foods to them. The vigil/picketing remained peaceful and lasted from Tuesday, 1st December to around noon of Wednesday 2nd December 2015 when Governor Willie Obiano directed members of his Joint Security Taskforce made up of soldiers, mobile police, navy, SARS and civil defense corps to storm the Gateway and forcefully disperse the peaceful picketers and clear them off the Gateway. Governor Obiano’s militarist directive was further reinforced by another militarist order of the embattled Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase; who ordered his sub commanders in the Southeast and the South-south zones, composed of senior police officers of northern origin; to “maximally” (excessive force/shoot-at-sight) clamp down on the peaceful protesters.



It is in total compliance of Governor Willie Obiano and IGP Arase’s militarist orders that the Joint Security Taskforce particularly the soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment stormed the Gateway with riffles loaded with live- bullets and opened fire on innocent and peaceful protesters. Some of those killed were shot and killed at close range. One of them is late Miss Anthonia Nkiruka Ikeanyionwu. Pictures of those lying critically injured in various private hospitals in Onitsha and its environs clearly showed how they were shot in various terminal parts of their bodies including chest, abdomen, lung, neck and head parts of their bodies. Some of the shot victims may not survive the wounds. The reckless shooting and killing of the unarmed picketers later resulted to civil disturbances including burning of tyres and blockage of intercity roads, etc.



We had in our joint statement of 13th November 2015 raised an alarm following lethal warning issued by the Nigerian Army against those protesting peacefully for the release of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and assertion of their right to self determination. Our alarm followed age-long gross unprofessionalism inherent in management of the country’s military-civilian relationship particularly as it concerns crowd control and allowing members of the public to peacefully and nonviolently press home their grievances against the government and its policies; through universally approved methods such as picketing, vigil, procession or protest. We had in the same joint statement exposed the desperation of elements loyal to the Buhari administration to possibly plant hired elements through some amenable State Governors among the peaceful protesters so as to make such processions or peaceful protests turn or wear violent outlook for the purpose of hiding under same to crush and mass kill them. We also suspected deeply desperate plans or moves by the elements loyal to the Buhari administration to rope in Citizen Nnamdi Kanu through implanted felonies. This can come in the form of planting and commission of sinister acts for the purpose of heaping the criminal culpability on Citizen Nnamdi Kanu.



This is more so when it is now clear to every Tom, Dick and Harry that the Buhari administration through its DSS has no indictable and convictable evidence to try Citizen Nnamdi Kanu both in its prosecutorial char

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