From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Coalition of 44 Eastern Nigerian human rights, civil society organisations (CSOs) and intellectuals have blacklisted the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba over his alleged comments against South South and South East zones.
The groups said the recent public utterances of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, were also an indication that the government had designated the two regions as ‘hatefully and religiously a must crush’.
The CSOs, in a statement by Austin Okeke, Global leader, Igbo Board of Deputies (Worldwide) and Emeka Umeagbalasi, board chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), condemned the order by the IGP to policemen to shoot-on-sight suspected youths describing it as an intending genocide in the areas.
The groups, observed with deep shock, sadness and dismay the frightening moves by the acting IGP and the authorities of the Nigerian Army, and other branches of the Armed Forces to turn South East and South South into a society of beasts and barbarians.
“The coalition is therefore sensing and fearing that Eastern Nigeria is remotely designated by the government and its security forces and justice agency as “a major threat to widely suspected state jihad project and therefore must be crushed under the cover of anti-Eastern Security Network/Indigenous People of Biafra (ESN/IPOB) operations.
“Till today, Nigerian government has failed to credibly prove that IPOB/ESN carried out the recent attacks in the two regions with fresh facts emerging and discrediting the government’s claims. The Imo State government, for instance, has stated that 70 percent of over 400 citizens arrested over recent mayhem in the state are not Igbo or citizens of the two regions, meaning the attackers are likely linked to the government or jihadists imported into the two regions.
“We also have reason to circumstantially believe that the Nigerian government sees ESN as a major threat to its clandestine and policy support for jihadist activities of the Jihadist Fulani herdsmen in the two regions, including forceful occupation of farmlands, bushes and forests and mass killings, abduction, rape and killing of Christian women or their forceful marriage and conversion to Islam.
“The coalition is not surprised at the recent uncultured, frightening and genocidal comments and incitement by the acting IGP at the flag off of the so-called ‘Operation Restore Peace’ held in Enugu (on May 18) and Port Harcourt (on May 19). Going by unprintable things said by the acting IGP, including open threat and authorisation of genocide against Christians of Eastern Nigeria, the coalition wishes to conclude that such morally disreputable and savagely comments are literally jihad and ethnic cleansing enabler and therefore must not be taken for granted. The coalition hereby designates the acting IGP as ‘genocide enabler’. He has also been blacklisted in human rights community and soonest we shall take further steps to forward his name to relevant international human rights, diplomatic and inter-governmental quarters for their records and needful actions. We strongly condemn a situation whereby it looks as if it is only the lives and safety of security personnel matter in the country, especially in Eastern Nigeria with little or no government attention or priority given to killing, maiming and abduction of unarmed and defenceless citizens.”