By Leaders Of Intersociety, Southeast CLO And Southeast Rights & Democracy Coalition
According to available research statistics, the Nigerian Government’s violent crackdowns on unarmed and nonviolent self determination activists and members of the general civilian population of Eastern Nigeria have forced the former into violent self defense.
Going by Intersociety’s records arising from its years of research and investigations in Eastern Nigeria, the Nigerian Government was responsible for the massacre of not less than 480 unarmed agitators and other defenseless members of Eastern Nigerian population, mostly Igbo citizens.
The security forces also shot and fatally injured over 700 others. These egregious and horrendous crimes were perpetrated between August 2015 and Sept 2017; during which several hundreds were also arrested or abducted and held without proper trials for years; and other hundreds were abducted and disappeared.
The perpetrators included soldiers of the Nigerian Army, operatives of the country’s secret police and the Nigeria Police’s ‘special squads’.
The security forces also killed countless unarmed citizens and made away with their bodies and in many, if not in most cases soaked them with raw acid substances and dumped the same to decompose beyond traces in secret mass graves.
It must be noted that the self determination activists maintained nonviolence from August 2015 to Dec 2020. The casualty figures recorded by security forces then were acutely asymmetric or disproportional when compared to the number of civilians killed.
Conversely, statistics and circumstances had changed since January 2021 till date (October 2021). For instance, there have been increases in the number of deaths and property violence in Eastern Nigeria since January 2021.
The referenced period above represents the agitators’ change of ‘struggle tactics’ from ‘nonviolence to violent self defense’. It must be pointed out that there are presently more than 30 self determination groups in Eastern Nigeria with ‘the Indigenous People of Biafra’ or ‘IPOB’ in the lead.
Among them are “the mainstream”, “the renegades”, “the radicals” or “leftists”, “the centralists” or “moderates”, “the conservatives”, “the urban refugees” or “self exiled intellectuals” and “moles” recruited and armed by Government.
From available statistics since January 2021, the Nigerian security forces have since October 2020 (if Obigbo Army massacre is added) killed not less than 750 persons in Eastern Nigeria including 700 unarmed and defenseless citizens and estimated 50 armed agitators.
Unlike in 2015 to 2017 and 2017 to 2020 (during the period of nonviolence); the security agencies have lost at least 400 personnel. Key public properties in their hundreds were also lost to armed agitators and armed Government secret death squads.
The above were the first segment highlights contained in the Enugu International Press Conference held on Sunday, 24th October 2021 and hosted by leaders of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law and assisted by key leaders of the Southeast CLO and the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations (SBCHROs).
The international press conference, addressed by Intersociety’s boss, Emeka Umeagbalasi, had in attendance the key leaders of Southeast CSOs; namely: Barr Chidimma Udegbunam (Intersociety), Barr Obianuju Igboeli (Intersociety), Anayo Okoli (Intersociety Board Member), Comrade Chibueze Nwajiaku (Intersociety), Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku (Intersociety) and other Southeast Rights and Democracy CSO leaders including Comrade Aloysius Attah (Chairman, Southeast CLO), Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme (Anambra State Chairman of CLO), Assoc Prof Jerry Chukwuokoro (SBCHROs), Okezie Kelechi, PhD (SBCHROs), Comrade Chilos Godsent (President of Igbo National Council), Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor (ED, FENRAD), Comrade Alozie Nwokocha (SBCHROs), among others.
The media reporters’ crowded event also had in attendance the reporters of Vanguard, Sun, Leadership, Punch, Daily Telegraph, Daily Independent, This Day, National Post, News Express, Guardian, African Examiner, Daily Asset, Njenje Int’l Web TV Media, UK (which aired the event live across the world) as well as the reporters of Nation Newspapers, 247/Third Eye, Nigerian Pilot, TVC/Core TV, Dream FM and Solid FM (Enugu) and representative reporters of Odenigbo Radio and City Radio FM, Anambra State.
Understanding Agitation For Self Determination
Self Determination is the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in international order and a core principle of international law arising from customary international law.
The international legality of Self Determination is further recognized as a general principle of law and enshrined in numerous international rights, humanitarian and security and defense treaties or pacts.
Customary International Law involves an aspect of international law embedded in the principle of custom. Along with general principles of laws and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, Int’l Jurists, United Nations and its Member-States to be the primary sources of International Law.
Therefore, the collective rights of a People to be born, exist, live, move, associate, develop and worship peacefully in a specified territory; recognizing and respecting rights of others to do same are all founded on international customs and traditions-and derogation of same by any Member-State or its part; or independent or state backed armed opposition group, is totally prohibited and punishable.
Nigerian Constitution Supports Agitation For Self Determination
Nigeria’s subsisting Constitution (the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended) is generally governed by spirit and letters of the law. Its enforcement and obedience are also governed by Morality and Justiciability.
In other words, all the 320 sections of the Constitution and their subsidiaries are either morally or legally enforceable in the country or any part thereof.
Therefore, apart from the fact that the existing Constitution supports agitation for Self Determination having contained ‘Social Contract’ obligations for public office holders or those manning executive, judicial and legislative functions and morally demanded their full implementation at all times, the non state actor agitation (using nonviolence or self-defense violence) for the actualization of these sacred governance obligations in the country or any part thereof is caused by failure of the above named public office holders in Section 13 of the Constitution to govern the country democratically, pluralistically, secularly, securely and developmentally; thereby placing the country in the citadel of diversity, peaceful co-existence and inclusiveness.
Morally Binding Fundamental Objectives In Gross Breach
The ‘Social Contract’ obligations expected of the country’s 17,500 public office holders, now in gross breach, are highlighted as follows: Sections 14 (democracy, social justice and inclusiveness), 15 (unity and faith, peace and progress and abolition of corrupt practices and abuse of power), 16(national prosperity, economic growth and development and equitable distribution of same), 17 (freedom, equality and justice), 18 (provision/accessibility/ affordability of equal and quality education to all citizens of education age), 19 (favorable foreign policy or ‘citizen-diplomacy’ including respect for international law and treaty obligations), 20 (protection of environment including safety and security of air, land, forest and water) and 21 (pluralistic protection, promotion and preservation of Nigerian cultures and prohibition of any religion as a State Religion in accordance with Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution).
As a matter of fact, therefore, the failure of the public office holders to implement these is a fundamental breach of Section 2(1) of the 1999 Constitution (indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria) and a serious threat to the same.
Time To Free Nnamdi Kanu And End Violent Crackdowns Against Agitators
The Nigerian Government must free Nnamdi Kanu and end all forms of violent crackdowns and state persecutions against agitators and innocent and defenseless members of the Eastern Nigeria population.
The Government is gravely breaching the Constitution in Sections 19 (1) (d), 35 and 36 of the country’s international and domestic obligations by refusing to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is given fair hearing and allowed speedy and fair trial within the Constitutionally stipulated time frames irrespective of the alleged offense gravity or be granted bail or freed unconditionally.
The condemnable act of the Nigerian Government in this regard also constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security and derogation of international customary, human rights and humanitarian law obligations and has portrayed the country in bad light and presented her as “a rogue Member-State of the United Nations and African Union”.
The delays by the ICC’s new Chief Prosecutor and other world justice bodies to re-commence and consolidate their investigations into conduct atrocities by the present Nigerian Government and its security forces against unarmed and defenseless citizens of Eastern Nigeria are deeply worrisome and amount to issuance of impunity tickets to the perpetrators to continue to terrorize, kill, maim, abduct, torture, disappear and destroy en masse with reckless abandon and impunity.
Contacts: WhatsApp: +2348174090052, Email: email@example.com, Website: Intersociety-ng.org