ONITSHA, Anambra State (Sundiata Post) – A human rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has said that no fewer than 7,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since June 2015 as a result of lopsidedness in the leadership of military and security command structures.
The group, in a statement sent to Sundiata Post on Sunday, also said about 1,000 Churches and other Christian facilities were destroyed within the same period.
As the country prepares for the 2019 general election, Intersociety in the statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi and Obianuju Igboeli, called for the a redress of the situation.
The full statement entitled ‘Time To Revisit National & Regional Security Lopsidedness That Fueled Killing Of Christians & Military Massacre Operations In (Eastern) Nigeria’ reads:
“As Nigerians prepare to go to polls in the February/March General Polls, time is here and ripe to revisit and revaluate the lopsidedness inherent in the national and regional lists of security service chiefs and heads of paramilitary and justice establishments in Nigeria. The acute lopsidedness has fueled and deepened ethno-religious divisions; undermined the unity and cohesiveness and grossly retarded the growth and development of the country.
“This is more so when the present central Government of Nigeria has remained dangerously stubborn and unrepentant with attendant far-reaching consequences capable of exposing and exploding the country into intractable ruination. Timing of this statement of ours, therefore, is for the subject or topic to be made a priority and an election campaign issue offering Nigerians a golden opportunity to seek for total reversal and cessation of same.
“Nigeria, a country composed of over 380 tribes and multiplicity of religions; dominated by the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani Ethnic Nationalities with socio-political pluralism, has since June 2015 been turned and run like “a unitary Islamic State” by the central Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo, which has returned to the voting citizens seeking for reelection. Of its multi religious groupings, Christianity and Islam roughly run neck to neck in terms of population.
“Apart from thousands of defenceless citizens, mainly Christians, killed by Boko Haram Islamic insurgents since June 2015, government-backed Fulani jihadists who solely target and kill Christians and burn or destroy their sacred places of worship; are further responsible for killing since June 2015 of no fewer than seven thousand Christians and burning or destruction of over 1000 churches and other Christian facilities. In 2018 alone, no fewer than 2,400 Christians were targeted and massacred by the Government protected jihadists with hundreds of churches and other Christian facilities burnt to ashes or destroyed. As at end of October 2018, no fewer than 2,262 Christians were killed.
“Shockingly, in all these anti Christian butcheries, the central Government of Nigeria has done little or nothing. Perpetrators are not only known and walking the streets of Nigeria freely, but have also come out boldly to endorse the Presidential Candidate of the APC and threatened more killings if the Candidate lost in the poll. The central Government, on its part, has not hidden its circumstantial or vicarious support for the jihadists and their patrons. Its military has gone to the extent of abandoning its core military duties and responsibilities to become cattle rearing entity or industry. Totality of these has been linked to lopsided or jihadist composition of the country’s security establishments especially its service chiefs and heads of paramilitary and justice establishments since July 2015.
“Regionally, particularly in the Southeast and Igbo South-south Region of Nigeria, the military and other security formations and their headships are also lopsidedly composed and flooded with officers of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim background with ethno-religious or jihadist motives characterizing discharge of their security responsibilities. The lopsided composition was recently investigated and researched on and linked to the August 2015 to September 2017 military massacre operations in Eastern Nigeria that led to mass killing of no fewer than 480 defenseless citizens of Igbo-Southeast and Igbo-South-south origin; during which over 500 others were also shot at close range and critically injured.
“Owing to same lopsidedness and Islamist styled or violent system of administration, it has been researchably found by Intersociety that (1) the Southeast Region of Nigeria has perpetually remained under military siege since August 2015, (2) over 95% of commanding officers of the military formations in Southeast Region and Igbo South-south are Northern Muslim officers; likewise top Police and SSS commanders including Commissioners of Police for Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Delta States and Directors of SSS for Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia States as well as the AIG in charge of Zone 9, Umuahia, (3) Southeast Region and Delta State lost not less than N336b in the past 40 months (August 2015 to December 2018) owing to police and military insecurity and corruption and general disruption of the economic activities of the Region on account of the military massacre operations and their aftermath.
“(4) Out of the whopping N336bn lost, N100bn was lost to police, military and paramilitary extortions in 40 months (August 2015-December 2018), (5) Total of over 480 defenceless citizens were shot and killed in the Region under non war situations and outside the law by military and police personnel between 30th August 2015 and 14th September 2017 on orders of the Buhari/Osinbajo’s Presidency, (6) Over 500 defenceless citizens were also shot at close range and critically injured during the military massacre operations in the Igbo heartland (Southeast and Igbo South-south) with scores crippled for life, (7) Other atrocities of national, regional and international law breaches were also perpetrated in the Region during the military massacre operations; with no single perpetrator arrested, tried and sentenced till date.
“(8) Southeast Region is a major, if not perpetual victim of the Buhari/Osinbajo Administration’s victimisation, persecution and structural violence policies; including being the only Region without a security service chief, with least number in the command structures of the Nigeria Police Force and the Military and least recipient of strategic federal appointments and federally allocated or executed projects, etc, (9) Southeast Region is the most potentially endangered Region in Nigeria owing to infiltration of strategic parts of the Region including communal forests and boundary and other strategic locations by government backed jihadist elements using military operations and networks as a cover or backup.
“Attached below are the Five Tables and their auxiliaries in JPG format showing the national and regional (Southeast and Igbo South-south) lopsidedly composed security lists or Northern Muslim dominated security service chiefs and heads of paramilitary and justice establishments fueling ceaseless killing of Christians particularly in the old Middle Belt and the military massacre operations in Eastern Nigeria.
“Table One represents the Northern Table showing citizens of Northern Nigeria occupying 18 top security, paramilitary and justice positions out of the country’s top 22 security and related others positions. Of 18 top positions occupied by the North, 17 are Muslims and only one is Northern Christian.
“Table 1 (b) represents Southern Table, with only four top security positions, out of which two are Christians and two others are Christians. In the said Southern Table, no citizen of the Southeast is among the occupants of the country’s top 22 security, paramilitary or justice positions. In all the 22 top positions, 19 are Muslims and 3 are Christians.
“Table 2 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) represents the names, ethno-religious and geopolitical allocation of the country’s 31 serving Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) valid as at 31st December 2018; indicating that North has a total of 23 AIGs involving Northwest=10, Northeast=5 and North-central=8, while South has 8 AIGs involving Southwest=6, South-south=1 and Southeast=1. Of the total 31 serving AIGs in the country, 22 are Muslims and 9 are Christians. The only Igbo/Southeast Police AIG in the list-AIG Godwin C. Nwobodo (Enugu State) will retire statutorily on 12th August 2019.
Table 3 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) represents the names, ethno-religious and geopolitical allocation of the country’s 12 serving Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) in charge of the 12 Police Zonal Commands as at 31st December 2018. Of the 12 Police Zonal AIGs, North has 9 and South 3; out of which 8 are Muslims and 4 are Christians. In the said list of 12 Police Zonal AIGs, the Southeast with total sedentary and pastoral population of no fewer than 50m is excluded or allocated with zero Police Zonal AIG till date.
Table 4 (a) and (b) represents the names and ethno-religious backgrounds of 18 top military commanders of 18 top military formations in Southeast and Igbo South-south Region of Nigeria as at 12th January 2019. The list shows that 13 out of the 18 top military officers are military officers of Northern Hausa-Fulani Muslim background. Others are two Northern Christians and three Southwest or Yoruba Muslims. Shockingly, none of the 18 named top military officers manning military formations in the Southeast and Igbo South-south Region of Nigeria is of Igbo-Christian extraction or origin.
Table 5 (a) and (b) represents the names and ethno-religious backgrounds of Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Directors of SSS posted as at 12th January 2019 to Southeast and Delta State (a state with approximately 40% Igbo population). As clearly indicated in the table, out of the six CPs, five are Northern Muslims and one is an Igbo-Christian who will retire on 30th April 2019. In the list of the State Directors of SSS, out of the six, four are Northern Muslims, one a Southwest or Yoruba Christian or Muslim and one an Igbo woman married in Edo State, South-south Nigeria.”