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CLO cautions FG against killing of Biafra agitators



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•   Accuses army of crime against humanity

The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has admonished the Federal Government against killing of armless pro-Biafra agitators by security operatives.  The CLO in a statement by Comrade Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike, Executive Director, construed the shooting of armless civilians by soldiers and other security agents in Onitsha, especially, at the odd hour of 1.30am as a case of gross violation of human rights, use of excessive force and crime against humanity. “This barbaric act has no place in a modern society as it also gravely undermines all United Nations and African Union and other international, regional and national human rights mechanisms. Nothing, whatsoever, can justify this flagrant infraction on the rights of the citizens,” Ibuchukwu declared.

The CLO, citing IPOD sources, lamented that no fewer than 11 protesters have allegedly been shot to death while several others were severely injured when a contingent of heavily armed Joint Taskforce of Army, Navy, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps attacked thousands of armless Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) protesters in the early hours of Wednesday, December 2, 2015, in Onitsha, Anambra State, South East Nigeria. It noted that among those killed by the joint military operation was a 21 year-old Vivian Emeka, adding that, efforts are still being made to get the particulars of other deceased victims. Those injured were said to be receiving intense medical attention at undisclosed hospitals in the city while over 100 others are reported to have been detained in Abuja by the Directorate of State Security (DSS).
It was highlighted that IPOD members are protesting the continued incarceration of their leader and the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who is being arrested and detained by the Nigerian authorities since October 1, 2015.
Ibuchukwu narrated that Kanu was arrested by security agents at the Murtala Mohemmed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on his arrival from the United Kingdom. Since then, he has been held in detention even against a Court Order which granted him bail. The order has not been appealed against by the authorities. The last time the matter was heard by the court was November 23, 2015. When the matter came up on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, the presiding Magistrate was absent because he lost his father. The matter was said to have been adjourned till December 16, 2015, but IPOB members were not happy over the “continued illegal detention and mindless torture” of their leader in custody against a subsisting Order of Court.
He decried that unconfirmed sources indicated that Kanu would be charged for terrorism. “His wife, Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, is under eight month pregnancy and claims that her husband is terribly sick, denied medical attention and may be killed in detention in the hands of Nigerian government,” Ibuchukwu stated, adding that on December 1, Kanu was returned to DSS detention camp as the court did not sit.
Consequently, IPOB members who thronged the court in Abuja to cheer their leader were dismayed by the ugly development and, thereafter, marched to the British High Commission in Nigeria where they were intercepted with teargas and brutally prevented from entering the High Commission by Nigerian security operatives, CLO pointed out. It stated that over 100 IPOB members were allegedly arrested, and are still held in detention. Angered by the continued detention of Kanu in defiance of a court Order and further detention of well over 100 IPOB members, their colleagues in the South East region, the home base of IPOB, started what was described as a “Solidarity Protest” in the commercial cities of Onitsha,  Aba, Nnewi and other major towns in the region.
The Onitsha Protesters were said to have blocked the head bridge area of Onitsha and prevented free flow of traffic to and fro the commercial nerve centre till their leader and members were released by the authorities. But at an odd time of 1:30 am, Wednesday, heavily armed soldiers, Navy officials, police and officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps stormed the venue of the protest and started sporadic shooting into the crowd during which time Vivian Emeka, female, 21, and nine others were heartlessly shot to death and numerous other armless citizens severely injured, CLO noted.
Moreover, Ibuchukwu stated: “on the war against corruption, while CLO maintains zero tolerance for corruption and other social vices and crimes, we shall strongly continue to disassociate ourselves from the violation of our laws and human rights on the altar of fighting graft and other crimes in Nigeria. CLO, in a very strong term, condemns this abuse of the Constitution by the Nigerian authorities and demands the return to the use of due process and respect for the rule law in addressing corruption issues.” He observed that this kind of exercise was last experienced in Nigeria in 1999 and 2000 when the Obasanjo administration declared onslaught on Odi community in Bayelsa State and Zaki-Biam in Benue State through executive terror and lawlessness.

“We urge the Nigerian government to deploy the energies and resources being wasted on armless citizens to confronting more serious issues of Boko Haram and other criminal elements whose activities terrorise and ravage our country, which have turned our young soldiers’ wives into widows in our barracks, children into orphans and our communities into IDPs camps,” Ibuchukwu stated.
CLO cautioned the federal government to handle the agitation issue by the youth in the South East and any other parts of the country with care so that it does not escalate into full blown war; adding that, Nigeria cannot afford to fight two or more wars at the same time.

Accordingly, the CLO demands as follows: That the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission conduct  full, unbiased, thorough and honest Investigations into the alleged shooting , killing and injuring of innocent and armless citizens in Onitsha, Anambra State, with the view to getting to the root of the heinous act and ensuring that justice was absolutely done. That Nnamdi Kanu whose wife, Mrs. Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, is under eight months pregnancy and whose bail has been ordered by the court be released immediately in consonance with the provisions of our law. CLO also insists that the continued detention and torture of Kanu against the order of a Court is an invitation to crisis and anarchy. CLO also demands   Immediate and unconditional release of all the unlawfully detained IPOB protesters across Nigeria, and a stop to unlawfully using security agents to rudely violate our laws, infringe on human rights of the citizens, disobey due process and remand suspects beyond the limit of the law.

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