The prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has accused the current administration of suffering from ACUTE IGBOPHOBIA and for non-challance to the sanctity of human life just as the Rights group said the belated reaction of Presidency to the damaging but credible report by Amnesty International on Police extrajudicial killings in South East of Nigeria, shows that for officials of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Igbo lives do not matter.
HURIWA expressed consternation and shock that Amnesty International spent huge resources to document extra legal killings carried out by security forces and even listed out the police victims of the attacks by unknown gunmen in the South East, but nearly a month after the report was extensively reported in the media, the president through Garba Shehu the senior special Assistant on media and publicity has only just reacted twenty four hours ago thereby telling whomsoever that is rational enough to decipher the body language of the president that he cares just a little about Igbo lives.
HURIWA argued that previously, the Federal government had always responded to Amnesty International’s numerous reports on killings in the North with absolute rapidity and precise speed, but it has taken government almost eternity to just respond cynically and irrationally to a very detailed empirical research on the killings by security operatives of suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); innocent Igbo youths and Students and even the casualty figures of police operatives similarly killed by unknown gunmen.
Aside the fact that Igbo lives matters not to President Buhari the Rights group carpeted the presidency for making largely pre-fabricated allegations against the already banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) just so that the government can hold on to something as a justification for the atrocities unleashed in the South East by security forces. HURIWA stated that proscription of an organization does not justify the reckless killings of suspected members of such a group especially when most of those killed were never armed.
HURIWA in the media statement signed by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, totally absolves Amnesty International of any sort of collusion with IPOB just as HURIWA said the president rather than castigate the London based International Civil Rights body:- Amnesty International, should be thankful that Amnesty International is helping Nigeria to sanitize the standards of policing in Nigeria and to expose rogue armed security forces committing atrocities against citizens.
“The president’s people should cover their faces in shame for making spurious, jaundiced and irresponsible allegations against the banned Indigenous Peoples of Biafra just for political propaganda, but the government has not established legally any nexus between the embattled IPOB and those sensational allegations. What a responsible government ought to have done was to understudy the Amnesty International report and prosecute armed security operatives identified to have applied extra legal killings as a tactic of law enforcement and not to make a generalized and fallacious allegation”.
HURIWA is therefore challenging Amnesty International to sue the Federal government of Nigeria before the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands so that the armed security operatives who executed citizens extra legally are prosecuted and punished internationally because the Muhamamdu Buhari’s administration has admitted unwillingness to investigate the indictments made against security forces but has chosen the lazy path of speaking from all sides of their mouths on a matter that is straight forward and factually verifiable.
HURIWA recalled that on August 5th 2021, Amnesty International said the Nigerian security forces have committed a catalogue of human rights violations and crimes under international law in their response to spiralling violence in Southeast Nigeria, carrying out a repressive campaign since January which has included sweeping mass arrests, excessive and unlawful force, and torture and other ill-treatment, said Amnesty International.
“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by Nigerian security forces in Imo, Anambra and Abia states,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director at Amnesty International.
HURIWA quoted Amnesty International as reporting that: “Nigeria’s government has responded with a heavy hand to killings and violence widely attributed to the armed group calling itself Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a pro-Biafra movement. According to government officials, the ESN killed dozens of security operatives and attacked at least ten public buildings, including prisons and police stations, from January to June. In response, security forces comprising military, police, and Department of State Services (DSS) have killed dozens of gunmen, as well as civilians, where attacks have been committed.”
The Rights Group said eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the security forces have engaged in excessive use of force, physical abuse, secret detentions, extortion, burning of houses, theft, and extrajudicial executions of suspects. Human rights groups estimated that the death toll of violence between January and June 2021 in Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi states might run into the hundreds. The police said ESN fighters killed 21 of its personnel in Imo state alone.
“Amnesty International carried out an extensive investigation to document the human rights violations and crimes under international law in Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia states from January 2021. The organization documented 52 incidents of unlawful killings and 62 cases of arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and torture. Media reports, video and audio recordings reviewed show that the Nigerian security forces also employed excessive force and other unlawful means to address the rising violence”.
HURIWA however lamented over a Month later on September 1st 2021 the Presidency urged Nigerians to discountenance entreaties by Amnesty International, alleging that it was colluding with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to attack the country.
The Rights group said a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, claimed that Amnesty International’s latest salvo at Nigeria was but more of the same.
Garba Shehu said also that: “Speaking the language of universal human rights, Amnesty International deploys it only in defence, even outright promotion of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria. Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences. This puts them in bad company. Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington D.C. IPOB murders Nigerian citizens. They kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country. Were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of its actions. Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of terrorism.”
But HURIWA said government’s belated reaction was also a clear message on the lack of respect by government to the sanctity of the human lives of Igbo Speaking citizens of South East of Nigeria just as the Rights group has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to either prosecute the indicted police operatives or be prepared to be dragged to the ICC in The Hague Netherlands.