[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) after full discreet investigations into the events of May 29th and 30th Biafran Heroes Day Celebrations do hereby condemn the murder of innocent persons by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Police.
Igbo Mandate Congress though has divergent views over the Biafran agitations from IPOB and MASSOB, do hereby condemn the massive use of force on unarmed civilians commemorating the annual Biafra Day Celebrations at St Francis Catholic Church, Nkpor and Onitsha environs in the early hours of May 30th. In the event, even passer bye and those going about normal businesses were gummed down.
Igbo Mandate Congress inquires and investigations suggest that over seventy persons are either dead or missing since the event occurred. Other persons, numbering over hundred sustained various degrees of injuries while hundreds are still being held at at SARS Awkuzu, State CID Onitsha and Army Barracks. IMC views it improper that even some wounded were abducted from hospitals and abandoned to die.
IMC wishes to state that these events are exactly what aggravated the security situation in the North East, and drew sympathizers for Boko Haram especially when gross human rights abuses followed the fight against terror. . With some families of victims inundating IMC members with inquiries, complaints and request for assistance and some efforts to rehabilitate few traumatized, IMC views with alarm the rate at which this murderous spree is spreading hatred among the people more than whatever IPOB protests had done.
Igbo Mandate Congress believes that there is nothing special in the Biafran Heroes Day Celebration to warrant such a security onslaught. People whose families were murdered by the Nigerian State in the 30 Month old civil war have been commemorating the event with some sort of prayers in churches and village squares especially among communities with heavy death toll over the years. Therefore, any security information that the Biafran Day celebration is a national threat is fake, mischievous and misleading and those who gave it are the real enemies of Nigera.
Igbo Mandate Congress believes that people of South East Nigeria who wish to protest, commemorate or remember their slain young ones in that unnecessary genocidal war are free to do so as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and any encroachment therein is an affront on their liberty.
IMC expects the military authorities to prosecute those who opened fire on harmless persons as a deterrent. They should stop further harassment of people who are seeking for Biafra. Igbo’s are yet to reach a consensus on the Biafra issue and as such indiscriminate arrest, murder and torture of innocent people is only causing those standing on the fence to take strand.
Igbo Mandate Congress warns that if these unnecessary onslaught on harmless protesters is not halted, a group deadly as Boko Haram will soon arise to team up with the Niger Delta Avengers in wrecking havoc on the people.
IMC has been in the forefront of bringing a level of consensus between relevant authorities and disappointed Biafran people of the South East. IMC had engaged other groups within Biafra and the ruling APC on ensuring peace and dialogue and also deploying contacts to ensure that Igbos gets fair share of budgetary allocations and appointments, with some levels of successes. IMC will not want this fragile peace in the South East to be destabilized by trigger happy persons.
Therefore, IMC, after thorough investigations, have discovered that there was no use of force whatsoever by the protesting groups and at no time were the armed forces personnel endangered, especially at Onitsha, Nkpor, Enugu and Nsukka events. Igbo Mandate Congress condemns the desecration of sacred places of worship by security forces. Invasion of churches at Nsukka and Nkpor is much uncalled for. IMC asks the military authorities to show temperance and apologize for these unwarranted provocations. IMC condoles with families of the bereaved and asks Federal Government to pay adequate compensation to families of slain and injured.
Igbo Mandate Congress hopes that this indiscreet se of arms against civilians will not occur again.
Rev. Obinna Akukwe
Director General, Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC)
*Photo Caption - Some of the victims
[ Masterweb Reports ] - 100 Nigerians who were selected for the Mandela Washignton Fellowiship, President Obama’s initiative to strengthen Young African Leaders, left Nigeria last week to the different top American universities where they are currently undergoing the Fellowship program. On Saturday, June 25, rumour of the death of one of the students flew around. The gossip was quelled by a letter from the Department of State and made available to Masterweb News Desk which read:
Dear Mandela Washington Fellowship Host University partners,
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to you to let you know that earlier today, a Mandela Washington Fellow, Jean Paul Usman from Nigeria, has passed away after a tragic accident during a hike. Jean Paul was studying civic leadership at Virginia Tech.
Jean Paul was a shining star who will be missed. I know that your fellows will begin to hear the news and we wanted you to have some basic information at hand so that you can assist them to process this. As there are 100 Nigerians in the program, it is very likely that many knew him or were friends with him. For all of us, this is simply horrifying news and we are so very, very sorry.
The U.S. embassy has notified the family. We, at both IREX and ECA, are available to assist you should you have any questions or concerns. I know this is extremely difficult for all of us.
Branch Chief, Mandela Washington Fellowship
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Nkechi Udegboka, a fellow participant from Nigeria in the same program with Jean Paul in an interview with Masterweb said 24-year-old Paul was a vibrant young man. She said the deceased ( John Paul Usman - as she called him in the interview) hailed from Kogi State and was a final year student at University of Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to Udegboka, Usman led many initiatives which included: President of UNESCO Clubs; Coordinator for the Pan African Youth Network on the culture of Peace Nigeria, Ambassador for the Center for Ethics and Self-Value Orientation among others. He was also an award winning creative artist according to her.
In order to honour Usman, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows in various American universities have set aside Wednesday, June 29 for memorial service to be held in every institution at 7pm and dress code would be white.
*Photo Caption - Late Jean Paul (John Paul Usman) - Not sure of the discrepancy in name. Inscriptions by fellow program participants.
[ Masterweb Reports: Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar reports ] - Currently a Romanian school drop-out has more chances of getting a job in the UK than a Nigerian PhD holder. Skilled Nigerians could gain a lot under the proposed system. David Cameron’s fantastically foolish decision to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union has cost him his job, shaken the opposition Labour Party and sent shockwaves across the world. Nigeria is not immune.
The UK prime minister had wanted to use the referendum to shut up the Eurosceptics within and outside his Conservative Party. Instead he is now likely to hand over the party and the country to them. As one commentator, John Crace, says, “He’d gambled the future of the country for an internal party squabble and he’d lost.”
But while Mr Cameron licks his well-deserved wounds, the world would have to deal with the mess he created. The huge tumbles in global stock markets seen last Friday may be just the beginning. The worst case scenario would be a 2008-like global financial crisis and its subsequent recession. If that happens, Nigeria would be in turmoil because unlike the 2008 crisis, which it withstood because she was awash with petrodollars then, this time around her economy is in a shambles. A further disruption could mean economic collapse, Boko Haram’s resurgence, Niger Delta Avenger’s anarchy and Biafra separatists’ chaos…
But hold your breath, this scenario is actually avoidable. First, Brexit needs not to lead to global economic crisis. Financial institutions are more regulated now, banks more capitalised and the system more equipped to deal with the situation. Second, the hysteria that first greeted the exit vote, with some EU officials asking Britain to quickly go, is now being replaced by more measured reactions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said nasty divorce would help no one. United States Secretary of State John Kerry is also mediating to avert unnecessary dispute. So it is not all doom and gloom.
In fact, handled cleverly, the UK’s decision to leave EU would be beneficial to many countries, including Nigeria.
First, a Britain that is committed to doing trade with non-EU countries and freed from the restrictive EU trading codes will natural turn to its traditional trading partners, such as Nigeria, for greater business opportunities. This would be mutually beneficial for the two countries.
Secondly, the main weapon Brexit campaigners used to persuade people to vote for exit was the uncontrolled EU migration to Britain. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who led the campaign, argue persuasively that Britain will benefit more if it adopts an Australian-type points-based non-discriminatory migration system which gives equal opportunities to both EU and non-EU citizens to work in the UK. Under this system, Nigerians, having English as their second language, will have more chances of getting UK work permit visas than say Romanians. Currently a Romanian school drop-out has more chances of getting a job in the UK than a Nigerian PhD holder. Skilled Nigerians could gain a lot under the proposed system. Of course, there is a negative side of this, in the form of possible brain drain against Nigeria. But there would be good remittances from those Nigerians. So what Nigeria may miss in their services at home, it will gain in the hard currency they would be sending home, which is highly needed now.
Thirdly, student visa is another area where Nigerians are bound to gain from Brexit. It is becoming increasingly difficult for prospective Nigerian students to get visa to study in the UK mainly due to British government’s desperation to meet immigration targets in the face of mounting EU migrant figures. Since the UK, under the existing system, cannot control EU migration, David Cameron’s administration decided to put several visa restrictions for non-EU citizens to achieve his pledge of reducing immigration figures to “tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands”. And as he fails to meet the target year after year, his government keeps adding new restrictions and making it more difficult for non-EU students to have opportunities to study in the UK.
Worse still, as part of that restriction scheme, the government abolished a post study visa programme, which grants two-year permit for students to work in Britain after their studies. It was a very effective system which didn’t only help the UK economy to get the services of the skilled manpower, but also enabled the graduates to gain valuable work experience and recoup the money they invested for their study before returning to their countries. The new system being proposed by Brexiteers looks set to restore this programme. Many Nigerians would gain from it. Of course, British universities, too, would earn more money and greater cultural capital from a more liberal student visa system.
Another area of potential benefits for Nigerians is the predicted fall in UK house prices as the result of quitting the EU. If this happens, many Nigerians residing in the UK including students who collect huge money from their parents for rents will get some relief. But, of course, wealthy Nigerians who own mansions in Central London may be among the losers, too. And those who stole Nigerians’ money and stashed it there would equally see the value of their ill-gotten wealth lose its value.
Away from the economy, Brexit could have other consequences on Nigerians, some of them negative. There is fear, for instance, that Brexit campaigns which were partly pursued on highlighting the dangers of immigration would heighten xenophobia and put Nigerians residing in the UK in trouble. While this could be a possibility, it is unlikely to be as serious as being feared. Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) who is accused of promoting anti-migrants narratives, is not going to govern post-Cameron Britain. And his supporters aren’t going to be in charge of the UK streets. He and his supporters did play a role in winning the referendum, but they are marginal in the main structure of British establishment. And frankly, Britain is overwhelmingly a tolerant society; Brexit won’t change this.
But the wind of separatism that seems to blow along with Brexit is also being seen as a potential negative impact on Nigeria. The separatist revival coming from the Scottish nationalists who were angered by the ‘Vote to Leave’ may embolden Nigerian separatists to step up their own campaigns. The Niger Delta Avengers have already capitalised on Brexit to make this point. In a tweet they sent yesterday they asked President Muhammadu Buhari to do “just like what David Cameron of Great Britain did” and allow for a separation referendum in Nigeria. But given that Cameron himself is already regretting his action, no one would want to emulate him.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Ronald Mutum reports ] - The Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), Lt-General Tukur Buratai yesterday held an emergency security meeting with General Officers Commanding (GOCs) Divisions and other top operational commanders at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
Buratai, while describing the meeting as impromptu, said it was necessary because of prevailing security challenges in the country, shortly before going into a closed-door session with principal staff officers of the Army HQ and other top commanders.
Addressing Journalists after the meeting, the GOC 1 Division, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade reiterated the army’s resolve to find out the origins of claims about a coup plot to overthrow the current civilian administration. He said: “This isn’t something that we’ll take lying low. We will deploy all resources, assets, efforts, to find out where this very dastardly speculation emanated from.”
“Most importantly we want to assure our people that the Nigerian Army remains steadfast, and loyalty is unquestionable to Mr. President Commander-in-Chief and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he added.
General Oyebade said: “We want to assure all citizens, that the Nigerian army remains apolitical, our loyalty and allegiance to the constitutional authority of this land, the three branches of government, Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief, is unquestionable.”
He explained that: “As far as we are concerned, we have decided long before now, since the beginning of the Fourth Republic to abide by our code of conduct and to remain subordinate to civil authorities, and that has not changed, and it will not change.”
He added that: “We want to assure our people, that they should be rest assured that issue of coup will not happen within the ranks of the army and within the ranks of members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.”
Oyebade also said the commanders briefed the COAS on the current challenges and successes in the counter-terrorism operations in the North-East, noting that despite the challenges, the operations will soon come to an end. He further said they discussed the recent re-organization of military operations in the South-South region of the country to tackle militancy.
*Photo Caption - Lt. General Yusuf Burutai, Nigeria Chief of Army Staff
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Mr. Ayodele Fayose, is one of the most popular political figures in Nigeria today. Not just because he is the Ekiti state Governor, but that he is one of the lone voices left to carry the cross of the erstwhile ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Mr. Fayose has taken it as his as his unpaid job to lead the opposition to the all Progressives Congress (APC) administration at the Federal level.
Since he took over his new role as the unofficial opposition leader, he has always been in the news, in many cases for the wrong reasons. If he is not insulting President Buhari, he probably is involved in not-so-noble activities like visiting China to speak to an imaginary audience on trade and investment. Even if the news does not find Fayose, Ayo will find the news. In some cases, Ayo will deliberately pay a full front page advertorial to celebrate the obituary of a living person. It can sometimes get go bad than Fayose, like the former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada, suddenly have a “dream” and go pay for a full page advert to release his “prophecies”.
Some days ago, Uncle Ayo, noticing his public ranking is on the low, caught the eyes of the media again. He went on strike, not because anyone owed him salaries, but because state workers are demanding their several months’ emoluments. To distract his people’s attention away from their problems, he saw that the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari is too quiet to comfort, decided to pitch a battle with her. Like his media team came up with a “medical report” from a fictitious Ahmadu Bello Teaching Hospital (not the one in Zaria, maybe the one in Ikogosi), that General Buhari was ridden with cancer, hence ineligible to run and to validate one of his “prophesies”. He told us that one Aisha Buhari Muhammadu who is wanted for her role in the US Congressman William Jefferson’s bribery scandal for which the American lawmaker was convicted in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history!
Mr. Fayose had on some days ago accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of acting illegally in the case of the freezing of his Zenith Bank account. His primary argument was that since he enjoys constitutionally-guaranteed immunity from prosecution, as a siting governor, he is “immune” from investigation or probe by virtue of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. It only shows how things are improving for Governor Fayose. Let us forget that he once reportedly slapped a sitting Judge for daring to hear a case involving him!
Mr. Fayose’s supporters have gone all over to remind us that he has immunity. That appears to be their new national anthem. They recite it like nursery rhymes. But, what a minute. Where the Governor’s immunity starts, and where does it end?
Before I go one, let me be quick to admit that I am not a lawyer, but I have no difficulty in interpreting the sacrosanct provisions of the 1999 Constitution and documents written in the English language (not Latin).
Governor Fayose by virtue of being a state’s Chief executive and one of the four categories of people covered by the said Section 308, he enjoys immunity under the Constitution. But, can that extend to his wife, his children, his nuclear or extended family members or his bank account? The fact that Fayose has immunity does not mean, for instance, that if his wife commits murder by virtue of being First Lady, she enjoys a “constitutionally-guaranteed immunity. Is this the logic of that Constitutional provision?
Let us say that analogy does not convince some of us, because the question we are dealing with is the question of whether the EFCC can freeze Fayose’s account while he enjoys immunity as sitting state Governor. On this matter let us see what the Supreme Court decided in the case of Fawehinmi V. Inspector General of Police (2002). In delivering the leading judgment of the seven-man panel of the Supreme Court on Friday 10th day of May, 2002 on whether a governor can be investigated, Justice S.O. Uwaifo, J.S.C (as he then was), held inter alia: "That a person protected under section 308 of the 1999 constitution, going by its provisions, can be investigated by the police for an alleged crime or offence is, in my view, beyond dispute. To hold otherwise is to create a monstrous situation whose manifestation may not be fully appreciated until illustrated. I shall give three possible instances. Suppose it is alleged that a Governor, in the course of driving his personal car, recklessly ran over a man, killing him; he sends the car to a workshop for the repairs of the dented or damaged part or parts. Or that he used a pistol to shoot a man dead and threw the gun into a nearby bush. OR THAT HE STOLE PUBLIC MONEY AND KEPT IT IN A PARTICULAR BANK or used it to acquire property. Now, if the police became aware, could it be suggested in an open and democratic society like ours that they would be precluded by section 308 from investigating to know the identity of the man killed, the cause of death from autopsy report, the owner of the car taken to the workshop and if there is any evidence from the inspection of the car that it hit an object recently, more particularly a human being; or to take steps to recover the gun and test for ballistic evidence; and generally to take statements from eye witnesses of either incident of killing. OR TO FIND OUT (IF POSSIBLE) ABOUT THE MONEY LODGED IN THE BANK or for acquiring property, AND TO GET PARTICULARS OF THE ACCOUNT AND THE SOURCE OF THE MONEY; or of the property acquired? The police clearly have a duty under section 4 of the Police Act to do all they can to investigate and preserve whatever evidence is available.” [see Fawehinmi V. I.G.P. (2002) 7 NWLR (Pt. 767) 606] (Emphasis mine).
A simple look at this landmark Supreme Court judgement leaves me with two conclusions: 1) Immunity clause has its own limit(s) in relation to criminal investigations by a law enforcement agency, in this case, the EFCC. 2) Fayose’s Zenith Bank like his nuclear or extended family members are NOT covered by his immunity as a sitting Governor.
My candid advice to Governor Fayose and his advisers is to explore the possibility of a judicial solution, if he has any explanation whatsoever to do. Resorting to self-help, by creating a scene out the matter, leaves him only worse off than he was before. On its own part, the anti-graft agency must avoid all temptations for high-handedness in handling matters of such nature so as not to be seen to be too partisan. I simply submit!
Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns based in Lagos, Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
[ Masterweb Reports: Odimegwu Onwumere reports ] -Bloodshed in the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, and Bauchi terrified residents to abandon their homes for safety across the 36 states of the federation and across borders.
Since 2009, killings and destructions in the mentioned states by members of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram (BH), have affected about fourteen million people.
Boko Haram is a sect that has been fighting naively hard to establish an Islamic State and also end western education in the north-east region of Nigeria. The group has been engaging Nigerian security forces in severe warfare.
Many efforts made by the presidency to end the insurgency proved abortive with the group causing untoward mayhems in the towns and villages across the north east of the country and by extension in other parts of northern Nigeria.
The conflict became chiefly forceful in 2014, with the government gasping for help. Within the Lake Chad Basin, there was estimation that 250,000 people were in-search-of protection in Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.
The internally displaced people (IDP) were on the increase with Cameroon unaided, recording more than 90,000 dislodged people. The Federal Government of Nigeria requested assistance from the international community, especially the United Nations (UN), to review the requirements related to peace building and crisis recuperation in the troubled north.
From Nigeria’s presidency, Professor Joy Uche Angela Ogwu, a former Foreign Minister of Nigeria (and has been the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York since 2008), waited tolerantly for August 12 2015 to come by for a United Nations Security Council meetings, to discuss the issue.
The meeting was offered in harmony with the 2008 Joint EU-UN-WB Declaration on crisis assessment and recovery planning, geared towards discussing strategies in tackling terrorism.
The presidency was worried that if nothing was done, the number of malnourished persons affected in the north-east would be on the increase with estimation by the UN that there were 223,000 relentlessly malnourished children that could die if urgent measures were not applied.
UN Envoys To Nigeria
When the UN Special Envoy to Nigeria, Leila Zerrougui representing the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Children and Armed Conflicts, visited Nigeria, she found out that humanitarian crisis Boko Haram had brewed in northern Nigeria was intensifying.
The international body guesstimated that the number of internally displaced persons (IDP) was between two and three million. International Alert, a peace-building group, and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in different fora, accounted that those captured (especially women and children by the sect) and later freed by the efforts of security agents, were often rejected by their towns and villages, with the fear that they had been radicalized and might recruit others.
Zerrougui said that she witnessed people's shock and disbelief at the devastation suffered by their communities, and saw trauma in children's eyes. She further expressed that the scale of the suffering was way beyond what she anticipated to find; the people she met demanded and deserved urgent protection.
The UN envoy in addition uncovered that over 900,000 people, many of them women and children had fled their homes in the North-east; over 300 schools had been rigorously destroyed, and hundreds of children killed, injured or abducted from their homes and schools.
After Zerrougui Visit
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the UN, Stephen O’Brien arrived to Nigeria on May 18, 2016.
He was on a two-day visit, to assess the humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram insurgency.
It was disclosed in Abuja by the Head, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Miss Kate Pond.
“The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, will be in Nigeria from May 18 to 19, to take stock of the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin.
“The crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, including Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, has continuously deteriorated over the last two years.
“Insecurity and counter-insurgency measures have affected over 2.4 million people, making it the fastest growing displacement crisis in Africa,” Pond said.
Pond frowned that communities in the Lake Chad Basin “are already struggling with the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.”
Kate harangued that the conflict has dramatically exacerbated their Internally Displaced Persons’ vulnerability. In the worst-affected areas, she said, almost half of the population of up to 9.2 million people need assistance; and more than three million of the Internally Displaced Persons were affected by food insecurity.
Hence, the UN vowed to make the crisis in the North east an international issue at the World Humanitarian Summit, which was intended to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 23-24 2016.
$500m Appeal To Tackle Refugee Crises
On 25 January 2016, the United Nation High Commission on Refugee (UNHCR) had appealed for financial aid from the international community to the melody of $500 million.
The fund, as according to the UN, was to facilitate its effort in providing humanitarian aid to millions of people forced to flee due to conflicts in Nigeria and by extension, the Central African Republic (CAR).
The UNHCR Regional Refugee Coordinator for CAR and Nigerian situations, Liz Ahua, said, “These two humanitarian crises must not be forgotten; they are not going away. The suffering is great and the needs acute among both the displaced and host communities.
“Violence occurs on almost daily basis in north-eastern Nigeria and CAR, generating fear and new displacement in the region, citing suicide attacks, kidnapping, indiscriminate killings and massive human rights abuses.”
Assistance/Donation Of Food
The World Food Programme (WFP) was particularly troubled about the state of displaced persons, saying that malnutrition rate was higher than the disaster brinks.
The WFP was present in the three countries of the Lake Region of Chad. The body provided food and other assistance to “refugees, returnees, IDPs, and the communities that are hosting them”.
“Life-saving food assistance is being provided along with specialized nutritional food to treat malnourished children under five, and pregnant and nursing women.
“In March, WFP provided food assistance to more than 100,000 people in the three countries, and blanket supplementary feeding activities were launched in Cameroon and continued in Niger to prevent the nutritional status of children under five and nursing women from getting worse,” said a Nigerian official with the presidency who claimed anonymity.
Checks, however, revealed that the WFP had plans to reach close to 400,000 people each month with essential food assistance, even without burning funds. But it had vowed that with its efforts in making sure that the growing needs were met, the WFP was only 25 percent funded – with US$33 million needed at present to meet urgent needs over the next six months.
Odimegwu Onwumere ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +2348057778358 ), Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant reports.
*Photo Caption - Lake Chad Basin
[ Masterweb Reports: Nosa Osazuwa reports ] - Contradictory statements from the Lagos State Government witness at the resumed hearing of the trial of the contractors who handled the construction of the collapsed building belonging to The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) marred events on Wednesday 22nd June 2016.
Consultant Urban Planner and former Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Toyin Adedamola Ayinde told the court that the CCTV footage showing the sequence of the collapse had been sent to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for analysis.
However, after admitting that he received a response from the aviation agency, he failed to state categorically its contents, leading several onlookers to suggest he was deliberately covering such information on the premise that it failed to corroborate with his own narrative.
The presiding judge, Justice Lawal Akapo, tried severally to have the witness state the contents of the response without any success, casting further aspersions on the integrity of his witness.
Ayinde continued by making contradictory statements concerning the distance of the aircraft that hovered over the building and the building itself.
Moreso, having told the court on Tuesday June 21, 2016 that he had observed an aircraft hovering over the building in the CCTV footage, the former commissioner told the court today that the aircraft did not directly fly over the building.
As the witness struggled to make articulate and categorical statements, Justice Lawal Akapo expressed his concerns, observing that due to the technicalities involved, it would be difficult to understand the witness who, rather than help the court in establishing facts, seemed to be confusing it the more.
All efforts by the prosecution counsel led by the Lagos DPP, Idowu Alakija to stampede the court into believing that the aircraft couldn’t have been responsible for the collapse of the building were vehemently rejected by the defense counsel.
E.L Akpofure, SAN had earlier raised an objection to that effect to which Justice Akapo concurred. The hearing is set to resume on Monday, June 27, 2016.
Nosa Osazuwa ( Email: email@example.com ) was present during the court proceedings.
*Photo Caption - Purported plane flying close to collapsed SCOAN building.
[ Masterweb Reports: Daniel Adugbo reports ] - The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) yesterday denied agreeing to a cease fire with the federal government. Militants including the Niger Delta Avengers in the oil-producing region were reportedly said to have agreed a one-month ceasefire with the government.
“The NDA high command never remembers having any agreement on ceasefire with the Nigerian government,” the avengers said in a tweet yesterday.
Last week, it said dialogue won’t take place unless independent foreign mediators were involved.
The militants have claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on oil and gas facilities in recent weeks, insisting that a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth must go to the Niger Delta region. Attacks by the group have pushed Nigeria’s oil production down to a 30-year low.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 6th of June 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) is deeply alarmed and saddened over the rising shocking casualty figures from the last Monday (30th of May, 2016) massacre and genocidal butchering of over 120 unarmed and nonviolent citizens of Southeast and South-south regions of Nigeria by security forces while converging in Onitsha to mark the 2016 session of the decades old “Igbo (Biafran) Heroes Day Anniversary”. The widespread State violence resulting to the genocide, was perpetrated by security forces through presidential and gubernatorial directives of President Mohammadu Buhari and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and it was operationally led by Major C.O. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Military Police at Onitsha Army Barracks, for Nigerian Army; followed by DCP J.B. Kokomo (DC OPS, Anambra State Police Command) and DCP Makama (2i/c Anambra State Police Command) and ACP H. Ezekiel (Onitsha Area Commander) for Nigeria Police Force as well as operational heads of other members of the Anambra State Joint Security Taskforce.
The general coordination of the massacre operation was administratively overseen by the Onitsha Military Cantonment Commander, Col Isah M. Abdullahi (still the Onitsha Army commander) and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma. The Divisional Police Officers of Fegge (SP Rabiu Garba), CPS (CSP Jafaru), Inland Town (SP Mark Ijaradu), Okpoko (CSP Kayode Olabanji) and Ogidi also participated. The operation was conducted by the Joint Security Taskforce (JTF) of the Government of Anambra State, involving Nigerian Army in Onitsha; Nigeria Police Force, Anambra State Command and its SARS Unit; Nigerian Navy, Ogbaru Post; DSS, Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps and the National Drugs Law Enforcement; but was hijacked by soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment with reinforcements from the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu; leading to most of the killings perpetrated by soldiers; most of them jihadist citizens of northern Muslim extraction. The JTF security operations in the State are funded and chaired by Governor Willie Obiano in his capacity as the Chief Security Officer of Anambra State.
The vicarious and individual responsibilities of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Army through its Chief of Army Staff (Lt Gen Tukur Buratai), the Nigeria Police Force through its IGP (Mr. Solomon Arase) and the Government of Anambra State through its Governor (Willie Obiano) are expressly contained in their violent orders and directives against peaceful assemblies and free speeches in Nigeria. The President, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, recently issued a violent order to Nigeria’s security forces particularly the Nigerian Army, to “crush and quell” “unwarranted”, “provoked” and “uncivilized” assemblies of nonviolent and unarmed nature organized by self determination and indigenous rights activists in southeast and south-south Nigeria or in any part of the country. The Nigerian Army, on its part, has operationally tagged such nonviolent and constitutional assemblies as a “threat to national security” and “insurrection” or violent uprising against the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is contained in its November 2015 operational guidelines.
The Nigeria Police Force, through its retiring IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase, has also issued two violent directives on 1st December 2015 and 31st May 2016; directing all its zonal and State heads in the Southeast and the South-south zones to “violently crack down on such assemblies”; “arrest and charge their organizers for treason”; and “disarm them and charge them for murder”. Till date, no pro Biafran or Igbo indigenous rights activist has been caught bearing arms or using or advocating violence in Nigeria or any part thereof. The Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Hosea Karma, on his part, has also issued a public statement recently, claiming that “the activities (peaceful protests and processions) of MASSOB and IPOB in the State are one of his greatest security challenges”. Governor Willie Obiano, too, has severally described peaceful and nonviolent protests and processions organized by IPOB and its sister bodies as “activities of the hoodlums threatening the security of Anambra State”. There have been several invasions of meeting places of IPOB and its sister groups across the State including Nkpor and Obosi by SARS and soldiers, acting under the directives of the Governor and execution of their ethnic cleansing agenda against the Igbo Race.
All the violent orders and directives above mentioned, are unknown to the 1999 Constitution; which firmly guarantees democratic free speeches and freedoms of peaceful and lawful movement and assembly. Indigenous and self determination rights and their campaigns are also guaranteed by the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of AU of 1981 as well as the UN Universal Rights Declaration of 1948 and International Covenants on Civil & Political Rights and the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1976; provided they are nonviolent and outside the purview of armed struggle and where armed struggle is resorted to, it is strictly guided by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which include the Doctrines of Rules of Engagement, Use of Force and Self Defense. Nigeria is a State Party to the above rights treaties till date. These sacred rights and international obligations are also entrenched in the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations for the promotion and advancement of international peace and security as well as the basic standards of international law and other international human rights and humanitarian treaties.
From our updated casualty records, apart from over 120 unarmed and nonviolent activists so massacred, over 130 others were deadly injured with automatic rifles loaded and fired with live bullets; shot at close range and targeted at terminal parts of their bodies. Scores have gone missing till date while over one hundred of them were arrested and presently held in the Onitsha Army Barracks, the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) at Awkuzu, the Nigerian Prisons in Onitsha and the State CID at Awka, etc. For instance, Twenty-Five of them were dumped in the Onitsha Prisons from Onitsha Army Barracks and 24 are presently at the State CID. Scores of others are also held at SARS in Awkuzu and the Onitsha Military Cantonment in Onitsha. These updates on casualty figures have arisen from facts gathered so far from our ongoing investigations as well as information ascertained from confided army, military police and DSS sources.
Generally, from our investigated and updated accounts, over 200 innocent, nonviolent and defenseless citizens of mostly Igbo Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria have been shot and killed by the security forces particularly the Nigerian Army since 30th of August 2015; a period of nine months and under the Buhari’s Presidency. Sixty percent of them or at least 120 were massacred on 30th of May 2016 at Nkpor and its surroundings, Onitsha; and Asaba in Delta State. In the same genocide of 30th of May, over 130 others were critically shot and wounded; out of which, 79 names are in our advocacy possession with 29 of them in Asaba alone.
Among those went missing is Citizen Chikezie Nwodo, who resides in Enugu. Over a dozen late night invasions and raids have also been carried out by soldiers and SARS operatives in various homes with scores of them arrested, detained or made to disappear. In all, over 200 innocent and unarmed Igbo indigenous rights and Biafran self determination activists have been killed the Buhari administration through its security forces and over 300 others have been deadly shot and wounded within the same period or in the past nine months. Over 600 have been arrested, tortured and detained unconstitutionally across the country with many languishing in different prisons under magistrate court remands after arraigned for capital related offences such as “treason and treasonable felonies”.
The most dangerous and shocking of it all is criminal and abominable resort to use of State coercive instruments by the Buhari administration to organize genocide against citizens of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria. The State atrocity of last Monday 30th of May 2016 in Onitsha was and is still shocking and alarming. It can only be compared to “the Tiananmen Square Massacre” or “June 4 Democracy Massacre” in China in 1989. Yet, it is worse than the Tiananmen Square Massacre in that those that were massacred were not of the same tribe or massacred at the same; which is why Onitsha Massacre of 30th of May 2016 is clearly “an act of ethnic cleansing and genocide”. Unlike other massacres of 2nd and 17th December 2015 in Onitsha and 9th of February 2016 in Aba; the 30th May 2016 massacre is chillingly horrifying in enormity and governmentally barbarous.
How Over 90 Igbo (Biafran) Heroes Day Celebrants Were Massacred & Mass-Buried Inside Onitsha Military Cemetery:
A DSS Source: The source who was part of the last Monday (30th of May 2016) joint operation, hijacked by soldiers; told Intersociety that the massacre, leading to mass death in the hands of soldiers of over 120 unarmed and nonviolent citizens and injuring of over 130 others was well coordinated and a joint security operation sanctioned by the Government of Anambra State, which was hijacked and turned into a slaughter field by soldiers with ethnic cleansing agenda. That the operation started with medium use of force (outlawed) in the late night of 29th of May 2016 and in the morning of 30th of May 2016, the joint security taskforces moved from the Onitsha Army Barracks and stormed the event venue along Nkpor-Umuoji Road where they met hundreds of IPOB activists and others who had converged for the Biafran Heroes Day Anniversary. That they met many of them wailing and crying profusely over the soldiers’ late night invasion, shooting and killing of some of their members who squatted and slept at St Edmunds Catholic Primary School Premises.
That at that point, the JTF retreated to Onitsha Barracks. That their retreat infuriated the Onitsha Military Cantonment Commander, Col Issah M. Abdullahi, who ordered them back, saying that they were under a firm order from the C-in-C and the State Governor to quell the event and ensure it never took place. That he ordered them to clear the place and all roads, of those “miscreants and hoodlums” and “waste” them if they proved stubborn and recover their bodies as ordered by the Army and Government of Anambra State.
That with the firm directive of the Commander; the JTF, dominated by soldiers and led Major C.O. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Military Police; stormed the streets and the event venue. That while other members of the JTF were minimizing the use of force, soldiers recklessly opened fire at the activists at close range, shooting them indiscriminately and “wasting “ them mercilessly. That passerby and those in their homes and shops were not spared. That it got to a point where the activists having seen dozens of their comrades already laid dead refused to run and offered to be shot and killed. That they were massacred mercilessly by soldiers and that before God, none of the activists was armed. That under heavy security and panicky atmosphere, the soldiers and police personnel ensured that all the dead corpses were recovered and taken to Onitsha Barracks. That by evening of 30th of May 2016, at least 90 bodies of murdered Biafran Heroes Day celebrants had been taken to Onitsha Barracks and heaped in batches. That there are two cemeteries inside the Onitsha Army Barracks; originally reserved for fallen soldiers. That the 90 dead activists are most likely buried in one of the two cemeteries; preferably the one close to Yahweh Church inside the Barracks and that the possibility of the dead activists buried outside the Barracks is very slim.
That in same evening, when the massacre ended and JTF agencies returned to their bases, 19 citizens including 12 deadly shot victims and their seven relatives and friends were forcefully taken away from their hospital beds at the Nnewi Teaching Hospital and brought before the Commissioner of Police, CP Hosea Karma. That the CP addressed his security sub commanders, labeling them “arrested hoodlums threatening the security of the State”. That he ordered the 12 deadly shot victims to be returned to the Nnewi Teaching Hospital and ordered the SARS Commander to take away for “confessional interrogation” (torture) the seven arrested relatives and friends of the 12 deadly shot victims. That the corpse of a dead activist was also brought to the State Command Headquarters at Awka same time and dumped in its premises; to be thrown off later in the night. That on Thursday, 2nd of June 2016, between 10.30am and 11am the soldiers stormed the Nnewi Teaching Hospital again and abducted eight of the deadly shot victims from their hospital beds and took them to unknown destination till date. That on Friday, 3rd of June 2016, five citizens with severe bullet wounds were transferred by soldiers from Onitsha Army Barracks to the State CID and that they were dumped inside its cell without any form of treatment till date.
A Military Source: That the bodies of over 90 murdered Biafran Heroes Day celebrants and other members of the public were given secret mass burial inside the Barracks in one of the two military cemeteries on Wednesday, 1st of June 2016. That it was a noon event under tight security. That the secret mass burial attracted top army and police officers including DCP OPS (J.B. Kokomo) and that Anambra State Government was represented by its Commissioner for Information, Mr. Tony Nnacheta, who arrived the Barracks at about 11.30am. That a number of graves were dug and the remains of over 90 murdered celebrants dumped and buried in their numbers.
A Military Police Source: That indeed over 90 dead celebrants and activists received a secret mass burial in one of the two military cemeteries located inside Onitsha Barracks, near Yahweh Church, leading to Obosi Town. That the secret mass burial was performed moments after the arrival of the representative of the Government and Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Tony Nnacheta, who is also the State Commissioner for Information. That he also supervised the graves before the commencement of the secret mass burial. That a total of fifteen graves were dug with some shallow and others deep and that some graves contained as much as ten corpses and others as low as five depending on the depth of each grave.
A DSS Source Corroboration: That closed calls made for certainty clearly confirmed the mass burial inside the Onitsha Army Barracks and on the said date, time, space and place.
A Rescued Citizen’s Corroboration: Mr. Henry Ibebuike Enekwe is an electrical engineer and 32 years old. He was declared missing in our Coalition (Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations) public statement of 3rd of June 2016 after his abduction by soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment in the morning of 30th of May 2016 on his way to Enugu, from his Eke-Nkpor base. Engineer Henry was rushing to Enugu to seal a house wiring contract with a Lagos based businessman. Happily, Engineer Henry Enekwe regained his freedom in the evening of Saturday, 4th of June 2016, following our advocacy intervention and a distress call by the Ebonyi State Directorate of DSS to its Anambra State counterpart, which led to his rescue from five days captivity and torture in the hands of his soldiers’ captors. Engineer Henry Enekwe’s younger sister and her husband are serving DSS operatives. He had hours after his release, spoken to Intersociety and confirmed the mass burial inside the Onitsha Barracks of over 90 murdered Biafran Heroes Day celebrants on Wednesday, 1st of June 2016. He further told Intersociety that some soldiers of northern origin guarding their cells, had in the night of same Wednesday, 1st of June 2016, around 8.30pm, violently or harshly communicated to them in their cells: “we don give your brothers mass burial today and if you people mess up, you will join them and nothing will happen”.
Rescued Citizen’s Account: Narrating his ordeal in the hands of his captor-soldiers, Engineer Henry Enekwe told Intersociety that he regretted bringing his young son into this country called “Nigeria” where beasts are perpetually in charge of the affairs of Nigerian people. That the greatest shock of his life was his encounter with soldiers on 30th of May 2016 in front of the street leading to St Edmunds Catholic, Nkpor-Agu. He said before his very eyes, three innocent citizens going home from an early morning church service at St Edmunds Catholic were shot and killed by soldiers.
That the soldiers, having arrested him and pushed him into their military truck, corked their guns and pointed them at the worshippers coming from the Church and violently shouted at them, forcing three of them to run for safety out of fear and panic, only for the soldiers to open fire on them, killing them instantly. That the soldiers were of Hausa-Fulani tribe and that they recovered the corpses and dumped them in their van and zoomed off to the Onitsha Military Barracks, in company of himself and others abducted alive. That he sat beside the dead corpses and the soldiers kept mocking them and their tribe.
That when they got to the Barracks, he saw a heap of dead bodies and those who were deadly wounded were dumped on top of dead ones. That the soldiers moved him, alongside others to open cells from where he saw more dead bodies being brought in and dumped. That later in the evening, the corpses were moved in the direction of a certain nursery and primary school inside the Barracks, from where they were never sighted again till the cell guards violently mentioned to them that they had been given mass burial.
That in the early hours of Friday 3rd of June 2016, around 1.30am, soldiers stormed their cells and took away 27 of his fellow captives and six deadly wounded citizens to unknown destinations. That the abducted citizens were never returned to the Barracks till Saturday evening, 4th of June 2016, when he regained his freedom. That while in the captivity of the soldiers of the Onitsha Military Cantonment, himself and others were tortured every morning and soldiers called it “morning tea”; whereby each of them was laid on a bench chair, flogged with “koboko”, with sachet water poured on the parts of their bodies where flogging or torture was being inflicted. That many innocent citizens were still being held in the Barracks amidst torture as at the time he regained his freedom. That the DSS operatives that rescued him told him that they had been in the Barracks six times with his name and soldiers kept denying the existence of such name among their captives. That torture was a routine and the wounded were left unattended to and that extra judicial killing of some captives including those with terminal gunshot wounds may most likely have taken place.
79 Names Of 130 Deadly Shot Victims:
Onitsha Zone: Obi Nkemakonam, Ubani Nwenneakonam, Nwuzo Friday, Ilo Friday, Olisama Chukwuemeka, Awah Sopuruchi, Okoye Chinedu, Ezeilo Chuka, Onyeduna Ifesinachi, Nnamani Sunday, Chinonso Amadi, Tagbo Chibuzo, Anyanwu Chika, Egbe Johnson, Osukwe Ijeoma, Nkechukwu Ikechukwu, Kenneth Eni, Orjichukwu Chigozie, Solomon Izundu, Ebili Edward, Gabriel Onyedikachi, Ilo Ozoemena, Nwauju Charles, Onuoha Chidozie, Onyemaechi Nwaezeoma, Innocent Obodoekwe, Ifeanyi Azubuike, Adigwe Chukwudi, Ogochukwu Mbam, Obiosa Chukwueme, Ugochukwu Samuel, Onuoha Chigozie, Maduka Egwela, John Onuchukwu, Maduabuchi Onwukanjo, Izuchukwu Nwaogba, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Ibekwe Okechukwu, Felix Odianwu, Okafor Moses Madukasi and Egwu Joseph.
Some of the deadly shot victims who ran out of hospitals to their homes courtesies of their friends and relatives, following incessant invasions of hospitals and their abductions by soldiers are Chidi Nwigwe, Uchenna Odaa, Ezeaka Ejike, Chima Anamuasonye and Nwaowe John. Some who were rescued by their friends and relatives and taken to Abia State for safety and adequate treatments are Ifeanyi C. Azubuike and Ugochukwu Nnamu and some of those rescued and taken to Enugu State are Ifeanyi Ogumma and Arinze Aja. Dozens of others with deadly gunshot wounds who escaped for safety have not been traced till date. Some may have died in the process owing to untreated wounds and other medical challenges.
The names of 29 citizens, out of those that were terminally shot by soldiers and police in Asaba are Ichoku Ndu, Ebere Obidike, Nwabueze Uzonna, Okey Roland, Chukwudi Ifenna, Isaac Uzochukwu, Eberima Aguh, Henry Gideon, Efion Apani, Abuchi Obi, Ozoemena Chukwuma, Lotenna Ifeajuna, Ifebuchi Okenwa, Wisdom Omota, Ejike Abunchukwu, Ozobu Ogbonna, Emeka Madueke, Paschal Gideon, Afam Onyeburu, Izu Onwubiewe, Okey Agubata, Celestine Nnamdi, Obieke Lotenna, Nwabueze Oti, Chijioke Ozoro, Nwadike Chibuzo, Azuka Ifeake, Chioma Nkemjika and Obiora Okonkwo. In all, out of at least 130 that were deadly shot and wounded, 79 are cited.
Also, out of over 120 Biafran Heroes Day celebrants and other members of the public massacred by soldiers and their cohorts on 30th of May 2016, over 90 of their corpses were abducted by soldiers and buried inside the Onitsha Army Barracks military cemetery. As it stands now, the corpses of ten of over 120 murdered activists are presently in the custody of their families and some mortuaries. The ten corpses of over 120 murdered activists under reference are part of those saved from being abducted by soldiers. Out of the ten, six have been identified by name and traced to their families. They include four saved in Asaba: late Citizens Hero Vincent, Okeke Obiora, Apam Oyi and Nwabueze Uzonna) and two saved in Onitsha: late Citizens Ernest Uzor and Chika Uka. The identities of four others are yet to be ascertained and they include two at Crown Hospital in Nkpor, one at St Charles Borrowmeo Hospital in Onitsha and one sighted at the State Police Command Headquarters at Awka in the evening of Monday, 30th of May 2016. Investigations and searches are continuing.
It is recalled that we had earlier condemned the basket-load of lies cooked up by the trio of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and the Government of Anambra State over their vicarious and individual ignoble and abominable roles in the massacre under reference. We also promised to rubbish their lies and falsehoods with undiluted facts and figures so as to de-contaminate and de-pollute the minds of all Nigerians and the international watchers who might have been fed and contaminated with same as well as shaming the serial liars including the Government Of Governor Willie Obiano and Anambra State Police Command which have continued with their gargantuan falsehood and brazen denials. Attachments below contain over 45 photos depicting the State horror and Genocide across the Niger under reference. Each of the photos is titled and pictorially described. They range from military trucks conveying recovered corpses of massacred activists to Onitsha Army Barracks to those of dead and deadly wounded victims, etc.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332
Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 10th of June 2016)- The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) wishes to inform all Nigerians and international watchers that we have totally been vindicated concerning our special publication of 6th of June 2016; titled: How Over 90 Biafran Heroes Day Activists Were Massacred By Security Forces & Buried In Military Cemetery Inside Onitsha Army Barracks. The link to the special publication under reference is provided below: http://www.intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/144-genocide-across-the-niger. Our vindication follows the failure of the trio of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and the Government of Anambra State, which played leading murderous roles in the genocidal massacre to statistically and correctly deny or contradict findings of ours contained in the special publication. Today marks 96 hours or four days after the release of the special publication, yet the three killer establishment including the Buhari’s administration, have maintained “a conspiracy of silence” or silence of the graveyard, till date. The special publication has commendably received a very wide publicity in leading local and international media, particularly the online and social media.
The findings of ours under reference have not only rattled and unsettled the three killer establishments including the Federal Government of Nigeria, but have also shamed them locally and internationally by exposing and rubbishing their cooked up basket-load of lies. The Government of Anambra State, on its part, has embarked on failed damage control and shedding of crocodile tears. Another aspect of our research findings following our special publication under reference is that the named killer authorities decided to run riot on Nigeria’s traditional media with a basket-load of lies over their genocidal acts in the genocide; the moment they realized that their butchery acts have led to the death of over 120 innocent and unarmed citizens and injuring of dozens of others in less than eight hours. Following this, a basket-load of lies was let loose; stigmatizing and criminalizing the event organizers and their supporters as well as mangling and suppressing casualty figures with reckless abandon. The Government of Anambra State, for instance, on its part, lied unpardonably by claiming that no single activist was killed and that the unarmed and innocent Biafran Heroes Day celebrants were armed with guns with which they opened fire at the security forces and that other arms recovered from them included dynamites, machetes and biafran flags.
The army and the police also corroborated the false claims of the Government of Anambra State, leading to issuance of another violent order by retiring IGP Solomon Arase, ordering for disarming of armed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as well as the Nigerian Army, which claimed it acted within the ambit of the Rules of Engagement, Self Defense and Use of Force. In all these, lies of unpardonable and alarming proportions were cooked up with intents to pollute the public minds and cover-up their genocidal acts. But for our effective application of investigative analytical method and microscopic evidencing, leading to exposition of the genocidal atrocities under reference particularly the high casualty figures and their secret mass burial; the Government of Anambra State, the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police Force and the Federal Government of Nigeria would have succeeded in contaminating the minds of Nigerian public and the international watchers with their basket-load of lies using a gagged section of the Nigerian media.
The most heinous of the genocidal atrocities committed by the three killer establishments was the brazen denial to the effect that no innocent citizen lost his or her life in the genocidal massacre; whereas above 120 deaths were recorded and above 130 deadly injured citizens were affected. The second heinous part of it all was the coordinated unlawful evacuation of dozens of corpses of the murdered activists and their secret mass burial inside Onitsha Military Barracks cemetery. Totality of these is geared towards cover-up or erasing of traces of criminal culpability of the perpetrators.
It is therefore shocking and saddening that the same Governor Willie Obiano that went gaga in feeding the whole world with the above named basket-load of lies and labeling of Biafran Heroes Day celebrants as “miscreants and hoodlums”; leading to their mass murder, has suddenly turned around to shed crocodile tears and pretentiously apologetic. He had during his visit at Nkpor, following the special report of ours under reference, promised to “offset the hospital bills of the wounded”. This is after soldiers and SARS under his security watch, had invaded a number of hospitals including the Nnewi Teaching Hospital and abducted the wounded in their hospital beds; forcing most of the 130 citizens with gunshot wounds in other hospitals in Anambra State as well as Asaba in Delta State to flee their hospital beds and escaped to neighboring States.
It further saddens our heart that the Governor who was laboriously elected by the People of Anambra State in November 2013 to protect them and ensure their welfare in accordance with Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, has turned against his people and even worsened their security and welfare. Rather than rising to the occasion to protect his people against the rampaging dictatorial administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari and its murderous uniformed men, Governor Willie Obiano has joined forces with sworn enemies of his own people. Today, he is a “king governor” and governor of the elites, while the masses who got him elected are abandoned with their lives, liberties and social values including ethnic identities and rights to bury their murdered loved ones turned to shreds and given away to rampaging ethnic cleansers.
It is on record that out of over 200 innocent and unarmed citizens; mostly in their 20s and 30s, killed in the Southeast and the South-south parts of Nigeria by the Army, the Police and other security forces between 30th of August 2015 and 30th of May 2016; a period of nine months, following nonviolent and peaceful assemblies organized by self determination activists and campaigners; 160 of them were killed in Onitsha under the violent security watch of Governor Willie Obiano. The 160 dead activists include four citizens killed in Awka on 30th of August 2015, over 13 killed in Onitsha on 2nd December 2015, over nine killed in Onitsha on 17th of December 2015 and over 120 massacred in Onitsha and Asaba on 30th of May 2016 as well as 10 others or more found dumped in the mortuary by soldiers and those that died later in hospitals including four that died at the Multicare Hospital at Nkpor. Over 36 of those killed were killed in Aba, Abia State on 18th and 29th of January and 9th of February 2016.
We therefore consider Governor Willie Obiano’s promise to “offset the hospital bills of the wounded” in the genocidal massacre of 30th of May 2016 as a fraud, ill-conceived and grave insult to those himself and others violently departed as well as those who were terminally wounded. This is because the same Governor under whose security watch and authorization soldiers went on rampage, invading hospitals and abducting the wounded in their emergency beds, leading to desertion of all but few whose relations are yet to ascertain their whereabouts or afraid to do same; is the same Governor “pledging to offset their hospital bills”. At Nkpor Crown Hospital where he reportedly visited, all the gunshot victims on admission, except two dead activists yet to be identified by their families, have long been hurriedly discharged by their families. Mere pledge to offset the hospital bills of the wounded is nothing but “medicine after death” and desperate moves to panel-beat a second term gubernatorial ambition; which is why we regarded the Governor’s grossly belated assuaging moves as “failed damage control and shedding of crocodile tears”.
Now that our special publication and its thoroughly investigated contents have forced the Government of Anambra State through Governor Willie Obiano to probate and reprobate, there are two frontal ways to remedy the genocidal massacre under reference; local and international ways. Locally, on account of our expository publication, which has forced the killer establishments to the point of dumbness and apologies of the graveyard; the Government of Anambra State must formally and boldly come out publicly to admit and explain fully its roles in the genocidal massacre. These include how much it spent in funding the genocidal operation through its JTF, the total number of innocent and unarmed citizens that were killed, why they were killed, which provisions of the 1999 Constitution and regional and international conventions empower their killers to kill them, how and why their remains were unlawfully gathered from genocidal scenes by the State Government funded JTF and under what condition they were kept before their secret mass burial in Onitsha Army Cemetery, and why and how they were given secret mass burial inside the Onitsha Army Barracks in the noonst of June 2016. of Wednesday, 1
The Government of Anambra State must also tell the whole world the constitutional basis or otherwise upon which its JTF operatives including soldiers and SARS invaded hospitals where the wounded are receiving emergency medical attentions and got them abducted and taken to undisclosed locations. Nigerians and international watchers must be informed too, of the number of them that were shot dead or forced to die on the process and where they were buried. There are reports of abduction by soldiers and SARS operatives of innocent and unarmed citizens in their homes in late night raids and invasions with some, if not many not seen till date. The general public must be told where they were buried? Was it only automatic weapons with live bullets that were deadly used by soldiers, SARS operatives and police personnel in the genocidal massacre or were raw acid substances and machetes used against innocent and unarmed Biafran Heroes Day celebrants by soldiers, SARS and other security forces?
The Government of Anambra State must also recant all the lies it told against the organizers and supporters of the Biafran Heroes Day Anniversary to the effect that “they were armed with guns, shot at security forces, killed two police officers, found armed with dynamites and machetes and that nobody died on the side of the celebrants”. Totality of these constitutes “true gubernatorial repentance, confession and apology”. Shedding of crocodile tears is never good enough and roundly rejected!
Further, all the over 90 corpses of murdered Biafran Heroes Day celebrants secretly buried in a military cemetery inside Onitsha Army Barracks in the noonst of June 2016, must be publicly exhumed by the Government of Anambra State, demographically and pathologically identified and medically investigated. This should be followed up by placement of Government radio and television announcements on Government owned stations like ABS TV & Radio, local, national and international NTA as well as privately owned TVs and Radios including Channels TV, AIT, Silver Bird, Galaxy and Minaj TVs, as well as Blaze, Purity and Odenigbo Radios, etc. Such adverts should also be placed on leading newspapers and leading online media as well as Government written announcements to be announced in churches, markets and town unions. of Wednesday, 1
The Government announcement will contain a call to members of the public and interest groups to send the names and pictures and bio-data of their missing dead relations, recovered dead bodies as well as those shot and wounded by soldiers and other security forces in the genocidal massacre that took place in Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba between the early morning and late night of 30th of May 2016. The Government of Anambra State must also designate easily accessible and secured points of contact for collection and verification of such names and pictures as well as ensuring hurdle and threats-free atmosphere for their family members and friends so as to ensure maximum cooperation and responses.
The remains of those murdered by the Government of Anambra State and its JTF must be released to their families and in the case of those beyond scientific or pathological identifications; their families must be allowed to go home with sands or earth mud extracted from the secret mass burial sites inside Onitsha Army Barracks. Each of the families of the 120 murdered activists must be issued with a living cheque of N5million; while each of the families of the 130 wounded citizens must receive N2million cheque. After all these, the Government of Anambra State through Governor Willie Obiano must tender unreserved written apology to the Igbo race, the People of Niger Delta, members of the deceased and the wounded families, the IPOB, MASSOB, the BIM, etc and all Nigerians and international watchers. The written apology must be placed on leading government and private media outfits: audio, audio visual, paper and online media.
It is our further recommendation to Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Anambra State to put plans in place to relocate the Onitsha Army Barracks and conversion of the land or space to “Freedom Square” for democratic free speeches and peaceful assemblies to be dedicated to all those innocent and unarmed citizens murdered since 30th of August 2015 as well as to the peoples of Southeast and South-south Nigeria.
As for those who played leading murderous roles in the genocidal massacre particularly Col Issah M. Abdullahi (Commander, Onitsha Military Cantonment), Major C.O. Ibrahim (operational commander of the genocidal massacre), CP Hosea Karma (CP, Anambra State Command), DCP Makama (2i/c, Anambra State Police Command), DCP J.M. Kokomo (DC, OPS, Anambra State Police Command) and the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Tony Nnacheta, etc, they should be administratively dismissed from their duties and charged to court for murder, conspiracy for murder, attempted murder and related others.
If the Federal Government continues to refuse to make the named heads of security forces to account for their heinous crimes as it did in the case of other perpetrators, we shall be left with no other choice than to conclude that “the Federal Government has again, failed woefully under the international law’s “Principle of Complimentarity”; by being unwilling and unable to bring its perpetrators to justice; thereby providing sufficient grounds for international criminal justice including ICC interventions or sufficient resort to other regional and international remedies under the ECOWAS, AU or UN Systems. The manifest unwillingness and inability of the Federal Government of Nigeria under reference has already made the likes of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (COAS), Mr. Solomon Arase (Retiring IGP), CP Hosea Habila (CP, Abia State), Lt Col Sidi Kazim Umar Sidi (Commander, 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Abia State) and ACP Peter Nwagbara (Aba Area Commander) the ICC bound and international criminal justice fugitives; with the test case of them all being retiring IGP Solomon Arase, who leaves the NPF on 21st of June 2016. We deeply pity him and his post retirement life. This is because there is no longer impunity and immunity for regime atrocities and no hiding place for their perpetrators.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348034186332
Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
*Photo Caption - Governor Willie Obiano