The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law notes with gravest concerns the uncontrollable and systematic killing in recent times+ of Igbos in Nigeria particularly in the northern parts of the country.
Less than two months ago, over four dozens of Igbo youths who are in their prime stages of socio-economic productivity were both killed extra-judicially and murdered in cold blood by the Nigeria Police Force and dumped into the Ezu River of Death in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.
As we speak, the outcome of the sampling autopsy, as seemingly manipulated as its process appears, which was carried out by selected government bodies, is still being awaited many days, if not weeks after it was concluded and reportedly handed to the federal government committee in Abuja, Nigeria.
While the snippets of the scientific exercise, corroborated by a top government official in the State, are already in the public domain, clearly showing that the victims were gun-shot, bruised, suffocated, etc, by their captors while in their custodies, we have every reason to suspect that the result of the sampling autopsy is being re-worked on to extricate the culprits and shift the blames to God knows angle.
As if the forgoing atrocious act was not enough, up to 108 Nigerian citizens of Southeast extraction popularly called Igbo tribe, including 59 passengers who bought tickets and boarded a modern luxury bus belonging to the Gobison Motors Limited were on Monday evening, 18th day of March, 2013, massacred at the New Road Luxury Park in the Sabon Gari (non-native zone) city of Kano State, Northwest Nigeria (elomba reports 20-03-2013).
According to confirmed accounts from the crime scene, corroborated by the Kano State Police Command, a strange Volkswagen golf car drove into the Park at about 4:00pm on the said date and parked in between two luxury buses belonging to the Gobisom Motors Limited, which were fully loaded with passengers, and exploded, killing all the passengers on board.
A modern luxury bus in Nigeria carries 59 passengers outside attachment, while the old model type popularly called akpuluka-Brazil, which is not much in the transport usage nowadays carries 42 passengers outside attachment. The explosion, according to the same accounts, led to further explosions, which affected other three luxury buses belonging to Ezenwata Transport Limited and Chiemzie Transport Limited, said to be scantly loaded with passengers.
The said New Road Luxury Park is located at the heart of the Igbo area in Kano State called Sabon Gari. In the times past, the area, regarded as an outcast by the host Hausa-Fulani, was given to early Igbo traders in the State to live and suffer. But, years later, the area was transformed to the envy of the host communities including the present and successive governments in the State. The area is now the busiest and one of the most costly sub-cities in Kano State and a melting pot for over 3million Igbos resident in Kano State.
Thirty seven-year-old severely burnt Emmanuel Bassey lies in a hospital bed at Murtala Mohammed Specialist hospital in northern Nigeria’s largest city of Kano on March 19, 2013. Two suicide bombers rammed their car into a bus loaded with passengers at the bus station, killing at least 22 people and injuring 65 others, the following explosions burnt five buses.
While it is possible that the number of Igbo citizens, who were massacred in the bombing orchestrated by the northern politicians’ backed violent Islamist groups, is in their hundreds as evidenced by other eyewitnesses accounts including those who observed the evacuation of the dead bodies and the injured, the Kano State Police Commissioner, one Musa Daura, as expected, claimed that 22 people died and 65 injured in different categories.
It is recalled that we had on 18th day of January, 2012, in our letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, protested against the endless massacre of Igbo citizens in Nigeria with specific reference to the massacre of estimated 510 Igbos in the Boko-Haram related violence between 2011 and second week of January 2012 alone.
In the said letter of ours, we made far reaching recommendations including the need for geopolitical equity in the promotion and posting of senior police officers from Superintendents of Police to Deputy Inspectors General of Police. We observed then, which is still the order of the day in the NPF, that the police-citizen protection ratio in Nigeria was very high for northern Muslim citizens and Southwest (Yoruba) citizens and very low for Southeast citizens (Igbos). We also observed that the northern and southern minorities now called South-south and North-central Geopolitical Zones of Nigeria (northern Christians) are more protected in the hands of the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force than the Igbos or the people of Southeast Nigeria.
We discovered in the course of our investigation into the Nigeria Police Force rankings, promotions and postings that there existed and still exists an age-long suppressive policy being visited against the Igbo senior police officers tended and still tend to shut them down from ascending premium positions and postings.
For instance, there were and still are tea makers and tea drinkers in the police command cadre. There, also, were and still are commanders and the commanded in same. It was on the strength of that gross lopsidedness that we prayed President Jonathan to issue a presidential proclamation to the effect that the promotion and posting of the 37 States and the FCT Commissioners of Police should be based on six geopolitical zones of Nigeria; that is to say 6 State CPs should come from each geopolitical zone.
Also where there are 90 State and non-State CPs in Nigeria, each zone should get 15; where there are 240 DCPs/ACPs, each zone should get 40; where there are 24/30 AIGs, each zone should get 4/5; and where there are 6 or 7 DIGs, each zone should get at least one DIG. This, we believe, should be extended to the other branches of Nigeria’s security forces as time passes by. The foregoing is still our position till date.
The noble reason for the far reaching recommendation of ours stated above is not farfetched. Firstly, the NPF is the largest public security and law enforcement organization in Nigeria peopled by approximately 371,000. Other security forces put together are not up to the size of the NPF. Secondly, by law and norm, the NPF is the chief protector of Nigeria’s democracy and her citizenry and as such, the most populous and powerful public security organization in the country; taking up to 60% of Nigeria’s real defense/security expenditures both in terms of recurrent and capital spending.
Thirdly, the recommendation, if judiciously implemented, will address the glaring police-citizen protection ratio gap between the Igbo citizens and their counterparts particularly northern Muslims’ partners. Fourthly, absence of same number of Igbo State ACPs, DCPs, CPs, AIGs and DIGs with their northwest, northeast and southwest counterparts, in the top police management or security meetings in Nigeria put the Igbo race in a perpetual state of insecurity and other unsafe conditions.
Because the 37 States and the FCT Police Commands in Nigeria as well as their Area and Zonal Commands are dominated by ACPs, DCPs, CPs and AIGs from our other partners’ zones, Igbo residents and communities particularly in the northern parts of Nigeria are utterly denied early warning, preventive and hazard mitigation security measures or interventions by the country’s security forces led by the NPF. It has been severally alleged that during killings targeted at the Igbos particularly in the northern parts of Nigeria, official and private phone numbers of the areas’ CPs usually go off, but hours after the killings they come back. Even when their numbers are not off, responding to them at that point in time is an act of impossibility.
They usually emerge after the killings to evacuate the dead and the injured and to grant press interviews so as to mangle the causality figures. This is entirely the opposite when Hausa-Fulanis resident in the south are occasionally threatened or perceived to have been threatened. Prompt and effective security measures put in place in Anambra State and other parts of the Southeast Nigeria following the Monday’s Kano massacre is a clear case in point.
It is on account of these apparent injustices against the Igbo race in Nigeria that we hold that the Igbos are the most unprotected and hated tribe in Nigeria. The race is also not safe in the hands of the Nigeria’s security forces including the Nigeria Police Force. Despite the fact that its youth population is very enterprising, non-violent, tolerant and law-abiding, yet the promising population, especially the males are the most hunted by the security agencies in Nigeria.
The Igbos are akin to African Americans and Hispanics (Mexican Americans) in the United States who are always gone after by the US law enforcement agents with a false belief that they are more lawless than the so called white Americans. Out of about 2.3 million prisons and correction centers’ inmates reportedly in the U.S., as at 2009/2010, the former are in majority.
In Nigeria, it is possible that out of the country’s reported 54, 0000 inmates, greater percent of them are the Igbos; out of those killed in the Boko-Haram insurgency in the country since 2009, Igbos are indisputably in majority; out of those killed in the country’s ethno-religious killings since 2001, the race had majority of its sons and daughters murdered; out of those killed extra-judicially by security forces in the course of fighting the Boko-Haram insurgency, it is most likely that Igbos take a commanding lead; out of those taken into police custody and murdered, Igbos may most likely be in majority; and out of those killed across the country at police roadblocks, the Igbos may be in majority as well.
We challenge the Nigeria’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and the NPF to prove us wrong by publishing credible crime statistics/reports detailing the geopolitical origins of the victims including the country’s prisons and correction centers’ inmates.
The Igbos are also the most hunted in the areas of pre-crime checks by Nigeria’s security forces particularly the law enforcement agencies like the NPF. For instance, an average northerner who owns a car or motorcycle; bears a machete or dagger or single/double barrel gun, etc, is free from the prance of the law enforcement agents. He can drive his car or ride his motorcycle for years without authorized papers, yet he is not a law breaker; whereas any Igbo citizen who nears any of these is an express candidate of summary death and extortion in the hands of the law enforcement agents particularly the officers and men of the NPF(Nigeria Police Force).
This princely treatment is to a large extent, extended to the citizens of the Southwest Nigeria. Politically, Igbos are endangered too. For a mere fact that President Goodluck Jonathan, considered as a half Igbo, is present Nigeria’s President, has irked the Northeast, Northwest and Southwest political gladiators, who have ruled Nigeria in turn until 2010 when it moved to the South-south zone of Nigeria.
Today, they have deployed both political, information and human warfare to return the country’s presidency to their destructive status quo. Dangerous and anti-Igbo emancipation moves have been initiated by the trio of political power mongers by way of the so-called political alliances using Igbo’s political tea makers and flute blowers to catapult our great race back to the political Stone Age and enslavement. Information warfare against the Igbo race is also directed against it from left, right and center, particularly from its Southwest partners
The Igbo political clowns and failed leaders are celebrated and canonized by the Southwest media, whereas great achievers and successful political leadership transformers from our great zone are condemned and destroyed by same.
With political clowns in-charge of our zone, it is perpetually enslaved politically. Coordinated media attacks directed against Professor Chinua Achebe and his book titled: There Was A Country (A Personal History Of Biafra) recently and ongoing politically motivated crisis engulfing the Igbo central political party-APGA are a clear case in point.
Finally, it is very obvious that the Igbos are facing battles for their survival and cultural identity from many fronts particularly from Northeast, Northwest and Southwest. When an Igbo son or daughter occasionally becomes the head of Army, Customs or Immigration, booby traps are laid against him or her from other tribal partners.
False or spurious accusations such as tribal promotions, postings and recruitments, rent air, but someone other than an Igbo heads the Army, Customs and Immigration, etc, anything goes with impunity and immunity.
We condemn the endless massacre of Igbo people by Nigeria’s legal and illegal armed brigades. The President Jonathan’s gross incompetence in the face of all these is alarmingly worrying. In the past 2012 and present 2013 budgets, a total sum of N1.87trillion(N921billion & N950billion respectively) was provided for security, yet the country, particularly the Igbos have continued to be unsafe and endangered in their own country.
We condemn unequivocally the mouthed reactions of the Presidency and those occupying elective and appointive top public offices in the Southeast zone of Nigeria each time these unprovoked killings of the Igbos take place. The Presidency appears deaf and dumb and has refused to implement far reaching recommendations and pieces of wise advice offered by thinkable Nigerians.
By this the Presidency is making unquenchable retaliations someday soon by the targeted ethnic groups and their sympathizers against their attackers, inevitable day by day. If, some say, coconuts heads, can produce elements taking human lives in dozens, then it will be monumentally disastrous if the thinkers and inventors of our times are pushed to the wall. Their own lethal elements may most likely be WMD. The great transformers of deserts and slums must never be underrated. If President Jonathan and his team refuse to stop these senseless killing of the Igbos, then great danger lies ahead.
Not minding the foregoing and pending when the gross security imbalances in the country’s polity including the NPF are frontally addressed, the Igbos should be vigilant at all times wherever they reside in Nigeria and invoke their sacred rights of Self-defense. They must remain law-aiding and refuse being the attackers unless attacked.
While exercising their sacred rights to self-defense, proportions of their responses must not exceed those deployed by their criminal attackers. This is universal yardstick behind sacred rights to self-defense.