…..Nigerian Army debunks allegations
Nigeria’s security agencies allegedly killed atleast 1,400 residents in 100 Igbo communities and razed about 1,000 homes in 14 months, according a report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety).
According to report titled, ‘Massacre in Eastern Nigeria: A Special Investigative Report’, security agencies allegedly involved in the massacre are the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy.
The report was signed by the Board Chairman, Intersociety, Chief Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head of Campaign and Publicity, Chidimma Udegbunam; Head of Democracy and Government, Chinwe Umeche; Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Obianuju Igboeli; and Head of International Justice and Human Rights Programme, Chinaza Bernard, among others.
It claimed that 4,800 civilians were arrested, while 1,000 were missing and could not be accounted for within the 14-month period spanning October 2020 till December 2021.
The report stated, “The Nigerian security forces, presently structured along northern Muslim lines and deployed in Eastern Nigeria, had in 14 months or between late October 2020 and December 2021, killed no fewer than 1,150 defenceless citizens of Eastern Nigeria.
”All the victims were members of the Judeo-Christian faith and mostly ethnic Igbo citizens. Their killings represent monthly average of 85 deaths and daily average of three, and could be monthly average of 155 and daily average of 5.5 deaths if the presumed dead 1,000 missing citizens are added.”
It added, “The trio of governors Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and David Umahi of Ebonyi State are the most vicariously culpable governors that aided and abetted the killings and property destruction, including burning of civilian homes and sanctuaries. “
When contacted, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, described the allegations as outrageous and defective.
Nwachukwu said, “These allegations are not only outrageous, but cannot hold water. The joint operations led by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies have never targeted any defenceless and innocent Igbo person or group of persons as alleged.
“Rather, the troops have operated with a very clear mandate to rid the South-East of criminals and stem the violent activities of members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and other dissident groups.
These are groups that claim they are fighting for the emancipation of Ndigbo, but sadly their activities have been characterised by violent annihilation of Ndigbo, cold and bloody murder of security operatives and other innocent Nigerians. These are criminals, who have used the force of arm to rob, loot and dispossess people of their earnings and belongings.
“We are talking about lawless people, who have desecrated the sanctity of Ndigbo traditional institution by abducting, torturing and murdering their very own traditional leaders in cold blood. These are cannibals, who killed Nigerians, butchered their bodies, roasted and feasted on them. Most infuriating, is that they video recorded and disseminated it on social media.
How could any right thinking person refer to these callous criminals as innocent and defenceless? This apparently smacks of mischief and possibly has ominous undertones. These criminals and murderers cannot by any stretch of imagination be tagged innocent or defenceless Ndigbo. To do so will amount to an assault on the psyche of Ndigbo and Nigerians, who have been victims of the violent activities of these dissident groups.”