ONITSHA (Sundiata Post) – Research and human rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), has accused security agents in the South East of causing the abduction and disappearance of not less than 2,100 people in South-East Nigeria since January 2021.
In a report obtained by Sundiata Post, Intersociety said soldiers, policemen and other security agents deployed to the South-East falsely label and abduct Nigerian citizens of Igbo extraction as IPOB/ESN members.
It said this has led to “not less than 170 open killings, secret abduction and permanent disappearance or feared unlawful execution in custody of no fewer than 550 and general arrest/abduction of not less than 2,100”.
The full executive summary of the reports reads:
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a leading research and investigative rights group is in possession of graphic details of how soldiers, police and other Nigerian security operatives presently deployed in the East madly, wildly, hatefully and falsely label and abduct innocent citizens especially the citizens of Igbo ethnic nationality and Christian faith and spill their blood for gallantry. These have led to not less than 170 open killings, secret abduction and permanent disappearance or feared unlawful execution in custody of no fewer than 550 and general arrest/abduction of not less than 2,100. The arrested/abducted are presently held in different open and secret dungeons located within and outside the East and among those outside the East are in Makurdi Prisons in Benue State where over 300 were recently found to have been transferred and kept. Others are conventional and unconventional military, police and SSS detention facilities in Abuja, Niger State and other undisclosed locations in the North. They are also in Owerri, Awka, Port Harcourt and Abakiliki State CIDs and Prison or Correctional facilities such as Owerri Prisons holding over 130 including 107 remanded days ago. Shockingly, in the past one week or Monday 24th to Sunday 30th May 2021, not less than 30 open and secret killings by soldiers and police have taken place with most taking place in Imo State where scores of corpses have been freshly traced to the mortuaries of the Government Medical Centres. The slain are all victims of extra-judicial killings including innocent citizens ‘killed after the act’ at crime scenes and falsely labeled for gallantry. The findings above cover the first five months of 2021 or January to May 2021.
Intersociety had investigated and found as follows: That: soldiers, police and other security operatives have since January 2021 openly shot and killed over 170 persons in the two regions out of the number, at least 145 are innocent citizens or victims of extrajudicial killings while 25 others are combatively involved. That: the named security agencies have abducted over 2,100 and falsely labeled over 90% of them “ESN hoodlums/terrorists” including over 300 dumped recently in far away Makurdi Prisons in Benue State, over 70 dumped at Awka State CID and over 107 others recently remanded in Owerri Prisons after “mobile court” mumbo jumbo arraignment.
That: soldiers accounted for most of the abductions and disappearances including not less 550 citizens disappeared since January 2021 or suspected victims of unlawful executions.
That: over 90% of those paraded by soldiers and police as “ESN hoodlums/terrorists” are innocent; and same goes for over 90% of the slain bodies tagged “ESN hoodlums killed in gun duel with security forces”. They are victims of ‘after the act’ crime scene shootings and killings.
It is on unarguable and empirical record that the security forces of Nigeria are presently rated one of the worst in the world in terms of lack of professional knowhow, secular or pluralistic composition and adherence to human rights principles during their operations. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian security forces disastrously lack technical knowhow including technical policing and soldiering or e-policing and e-soldiering and mental competence; otherwise called ‘man-machine-mental policing and soldiering’ such as intelligence and mental and technology based crime detection and investigation. The security forces of Nigeria are also acutely hateful and Islamist in their composition and operational approaches. This further explains why they channel all their energies and resources towards clamping down citizens of the two regions including abducting, killing and maiming them in large numbers, but turn blind eyes on others especially members of the country’s Muslim population with particular reference to their criminal elements. Totality of the above is therefore responsible for the referenced atrocious conducts.
The most alarming of it all is the abandonment of all rules of engagement governing conflict or war time and peacetime operations and crude resort to jungle justice and atrocious conducts. Even in armed conflict, killing of wounded soldiers or combatants and prisoners of war is internationally outlawed and perpetration of same is clear act of war crimes. But in ongoing security operations in the Southeast and South-south Nigeria, thousands of innocent citizens have been targeted for false labeling and abduction. Hundreds have also been shot and killed or maimed. The abductions and killings are officially sanctioned by Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police. In all, it is correct to say that there is ongoing mass persecution in the East targeted at Igbo Christian citizens, singled out and dubbed “IPOB/ESN hoodlums”.
The report was signed by
- Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist/Board Chair
- Barr Chinwe Umeche
- Barr Chidimma Udegbunam