NO LESS than 15,000 unarmed and defenseless civilians have been violently killed in Nigeria since war veteran Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as elected President on May 29, 2015, a frontline rights group said.
In a statement issued on Monday in Onitsha, to mark the 2017 “World Human Rights Day, the Int’l Society For Civil Liberties & The Rule Of Law (Intersociety) lamented that“human rights situation in Nigeria especially under milito-democratic Presidency of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari has not only deteriorated, but also reached an alarming stage where human rights culture and community is brutally invaded, attacked and taken over by atrocity perpetrators and their agents as the “new face” of human rights voices and campaigns in Nigeria.”
According to the statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Intersociety’s board chairman and head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, “The deplorable situation of human rights in Nigeria has further worsened especially in the past 31 months or since June 2015; leading to killing of not less than 15,000 unarmed and defenseless civilians by violent agents of the State and non-State violent actors whose violent activities are sanctioned or condoned by the present central Government.
“The lopsided composition of the security and policing structures in the country is a major indicator responsible for gross abuses of human rights in Nigeria; likewise the application of torture friendly methodologies and use of untrained personnel in crime detection and investigation. Reckless use of the military in managing civil grievances also heightened abuses of human rights in Nigeria especially since June 2015.
“Of the 15, 000 State’s direct and indirect killings in Nigeria since June 2015, available statistics clearly indicate that the Nigerian Army and ors is responsible for not less than 2000 civilian deaths; the Nigeria Police, by way of custodial or captivity deaths, accounts for 7, 750 while Government backed terrorist Fulani Herdsmen and atrocious and Jihadist Boko Haram insurgents account for the remaining 5000 to 5500 deaths; totaling not less than 15, 000 deaths or over 15, 000 deaths in 31 months.
“To erase traces of these killings and their perpetrators, Human Rights Community and campaigns in Nigeria have not only been infiltrated but also defaced, distracted, influenced and made to derail gravely. Leading perpetrators of gross rights abuses in Nigeria and their establishments now recruit and fund “human rights groups” and “activists” and commission them to write, protest against and attack those that demand justice for atrocities perpetrated by such regime criminals.
“A good number of hitherto leading human rights groups and activists in Nigeria have also been cornered to sing their praises and mount image laundering campaigns at national, regional and international levels. Some have been rewarded with sensitive public positions such as the office of the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission. Such characters are rewarded for heading or prominently participating in several government kangaroo committees “investigating” various army killings in Nigeria; where they influenced or authored watery reports exonerating the army and its heads from culpability. This is in spite of overwhelming evidence and testimonies of the survivors and victims’ relatives or associates.
“For instance, such characters participated in the first Army Rights Abuse panel on Shiite killings in Zaria which the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, spearheaded and at the end, a watery report was turned in, exonerating the Army and its COAS and “heavily” indicting Shiites. In the second Army Rights Abuse Panel on IPOB and ors killings, same characters were recruited and, again, the Nigerian Army and its COAS was exonerated to the point that “no single IPOB member was killed by Army in Southeast” in 2015 and 2016. The characters were again brought into another kangaroo Army Rights Abuse Panel of Enquiry. As recently as barely two weeks gone by, one of such characters became a presidential nominee for the position of “Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission”; thereby signaling the final “rest in pieces” for the NHRC in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Human Rights Community has also since mid 2015 lost some, if not many of its finest brains, movers and shakers to the same atrocity perpetrators and their agents. The referenced have been recruited especially since mid 2015 and now serve as consultants, appointees, supporters, speech writers, and spies, ‘attack dogs’ or ‘defenders of abusers of human rights’ in Nigeria.
“Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was absolutely right when she recently cautioned leading international organizations such as WB and IMF to “be extremely careful about groups funded by present Government or its appointees in Nigeria who go about parading themselves as human rights groups especially anti corruption crusaders”. The activities of these human rights turncoats have emboldened the referenced atrocity perpetrators and inculcated in them a seeming irreversible culture of impunity and incorrigibility; encouraging and embolden them to perpetrate more atrocities with reckless abandon.
“Therefore, the greatest shock received by the leadership of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) in this year’s world human rights day anniversary was over a speech delivered yesterday, 10th December 2017 by Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai; “marking the World Human Rights Day”. That mocking speech alone; as far as human rights issues are concerned; is a clear indication that Satan and its agents has gone to holy places of Godly worship in Nigeria and become their General Overseers; to the extent that arch enemies of human rights with a negative record breaking of over 2000 State murders; have suddenly become human rights voices and celebrants in Nigeria. That is to say that Palm kernel has been allowed to ripe at the tail of a palm frond in Nigeria!
“It is freshly recalled that the Nigerian Army under Buratai as its COAS and its mother body-Defense Headquarters is responsible for the death of not less than 2000 civilians between August 2015 and September 2017. By Amnesty Int’l Report of 2016/2017, not less than 240 civilian detainees died in military custody inside Giwa Barracks in 2016 in Maiduguri, Borno State. Amnesty Int’l says: The military arbitrarily arrested thousands of young men, women and children who fled to the safety of recaptured towns, including Banki and Bama, Borno state. These arrests were largely based on random profiling of men, especially young men, rather than on reasonable suspicion of having committed a recognizably criminal offence.