IPOB/MASSOB Massacre: InterSociety Lampoons Nigerian Army Over Response to AI Allegations
Nneoma Ndibe, Abuja
The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has condemned the Nigerian Army over its response to the Amnesty International (AI) report on the alleged massacre of the members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for Survival of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) between August 2015 to 2016.
The Board Chairman of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, made this known in a statement titled: “Exposing Nigerian Army’s Shameless Falsehood And Remorselessness Over Amnesty Int’l Report On Massacre Of Unarmed And Defenceless Pro Biafra Campaigners In Nigeria”.
Umeagbalasi while commending the AI “for their courage, in depth investigation and analysis and apt findings concerning the Report”; held that the statement of the Nigerian Army, in which it lattempted to deny culpability and grossly misrepresented facts of the matter; is totally provocative, false, watery, unprofessional, crude, culpably homicidal, atrocious, shameful, Jihadist and remorseless”.
He said that the Army statement also falls far below or acutely short of the doctrines of modern soldiering or military science; the international best practices in civilian affairs handling styles as well as the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations particularly protection and promotion of human rights and international peace and security.
According to him, the contents of the Army statement further depict unprofessionalism and grossly run contrary to the Fundamental Rules of the International Law particularly the “Ten Basic Standards of the International Law and Humanitarian Principles”; containing strict guidelines for State actors in managing nonviolent (and even riotous) assemblies; other than active armed rebellion against an independent political territory recognized under the UN System.
Umeagbalasi said that having critically and expertly studied the Nigerian Army statement, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law; firmly finds contradictorily and boldly states as follows:
He alleged that the Nigerian Army of “present composition is Jihadist and ethnically biased in its operations and exercise of its auxiliary securitization roles particularly as it concerns its genocidal response to the peaceful and non-violent processions and protests by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and other Pro Biafra campaigners as well as those of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN)”.
He alleged:”That the Nigerian Army is a military assemble dominated by promoters and perpetrators of ethnocide, religocide and genocide. That the Nigerian Army’s operational modes are utterly vindictive, Yorean, hegemonic, crude, barbaric, murderous and atrocious.
“That the Nigerian Army grossly and recklessly adopts and uses via Presidential backing; operational death code of “treat (including waste or kill) any Pro Biafra Campaigner as a terrorist, failed coupist or insurrectionist with associated torturous and murderous sanctions outside the law.
That the Nigerian Army is engrossed in falsehood and criminal spinning of alarming proportions.”
“That the Nigerian Army brazenly and wickedly corrupts and bastardizes the UN Principles of Rules of Engagement; which are fundamentally embedded in the Geneva Conventions or Laws of War of 1949; which, in turn, originated from the three war (bellum) principles of Jus Ad Bellum, Jus In Bellum and Jus Post Bellum.
“That the Nigerian Army’s constant reference to use of “Rules of Engagement” in massacring unarmed and defenceless members of the IMN and unarmed and defenceless citizens exercising their regional and international rights to Self Determination such as members of the IPOB is a total corruption and bastardization of the UN System’s Rules of Engagement; strictly designed for internal and international armed conflicts as well as a fundamental breach of the Fundamental Rules of the International Law under the UN System,” he added.
According to Umeagbalasi, under the UN System, no armed forces of any member-State of the UN including the Nigerian Army are allowed to use war-like weaponry and force to control or manage citizens’ street match grievances; and where force is allowed at all, principles of Use of Force and its Proportionality must be strictly applied at all times-firearms or automatic weapons must not be used to disarm protesting citizens holding catapults.
He held that till date, there are no traces of members of the IPOB taking up arms against the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any part thereof.
He continued: “That till date, no concrete evidence has been produced by the Federal Government empirically showing that members of IPOB have engaged in bombing of any government or public facility or killing of soldiers and other members of the security forces in battle fields.
“That till date, no battle fields whether active or passive have been identified and linked to members of the IPOB.
That till date, no member of IPOB dead or alive has been linked by any branch of the Nigerian security forces; with provable evidence; to culpable homicide or murder of any innocent Nigerian citizen.”
He claimed that almost all the street protests embarked upon by members of IPOB since July/August 2015 have been devoid of violence; particularly at the beginning of the protests and where any violent rarely erupted; it most likely occurred on account of rare expression of angers and frustrations by the surviving peaceful protesters over the unprovoked shooting and killing of their unarmed and defenceless colleagues by soldiers and other members of the security forces.
Umeagbalasi further alleged that the host State Governments in the protesting areas, in conjunction with the security agents have on several occasions, attempted to plant violence into the peaceful protests so as to find grounds to unleash deadly State violence on the Pro Biafra peaceful protesters; and in some cases; some police personnel were found to have been used as sacrificial lambs by their operational commanders during the peaceful protests by being collaterally shot so as to portray IPOB as a violent or militant group.
He argued that where such unfortunate police officers rarely met the wrath of provoked and retreating peaceful protesters by way of clubbing or fist cuff wounds, they most likely got shot under in-service circumstances so as to blame it on IPOB and its leadership and portray same as “Armed Independent People of Biafra” (Retired IGP Solomon Arase, June 2016)
He further argued hat the use of Biafra Flags, Chaplets and Holy Bibles during IPOB street protests or Church Vigils or School Compound Singing and Praying can never be translated or interpreted to mean “use of firearms”, “dynamites” or “raw acids”.
“That conversely, there were provable evidence that it was soldiers that used raw acids and machetes against the unarmed and defenceless Pro Biafra Campaigners particularly during the 9th of February 2016 IPOB singing and prayer procession inside the National High School in Aba as well as the 29th and 30th of May 2016 World Igbo/Biafra Heroes Day at Nkpor and its environs.
“That further attestation to the fact that Pro Biafra Campaigners particularly members of IPOB have remained nonviolent and a non-armed opposition group could be seen in the nine-count criminal charges preferred by the Federal Government against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and three others before a Federal High Court in Abuja,” he said.