Coalition of 44 civil societies in the South-East has decried the ongoing unrest in the South-East states of Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia over the Nigerian Army and the police’s violation of at least 26 communities under the guise of searching for suspected Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members.
The coalition in a report it stated that under the excuse of searching for IPOB and its militant arm, Eastern Security Network, the security agencies – notably the army and the police – have arrested hundreds of young men and taken them away from these communities and their relatives do not know their whereabouts.
The report highlighted the affected communities to be in the Orlu, Njaba, Oru East and Orsu Local Government Areas of Imo State; Ihiala and Nnewi South Local Government Areas of Anambra State; others are Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State and some in Ebonyi State.
The coalition also mentioned Iriebe and Obigbo communities as well as Port Harcourt and Borokiri in Rivers State and communities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
Some of the groups which signed the report are: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, World Igbo Congress, Ala-Igbo Dev Foundation, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative, Biafra Genocide Survivors Group, International Society for War Against Lawlessness, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation and the International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative.
Others are: Igbo National Council, New Home Mentoring & Development Initiative, Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev, Initiative for Ideal Dev and Emancipatory Leadership and the Human Rights Organization of Nigeria.
The report said, “Among the Eastern communities physically and psychologically targeted and attacked since January 2021 by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, Air Force and the Nigeria Police Force are communities of Ubokoro-Atta, Okporo, Uda Orsuihiteukwa and Okwudor and others located in Orlu, Njaba, Oru East and Orsu LGAs in Imo and Orsumoghu, Lilu, Ukpor, Unubi, etc in Ihiala and Nnewi South LGAs of Anambra State.
“Others raided and attacked in April 2021 include Ohaji, Osu, Agwa and Izombe, etc in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo and between April and this month of May 2021, Onicha-Igboeze community and neighboring others in Ebonyi State and Etche, Iriebe and Obigbo communities as well as Port Harcourt and Borokiri in Rivers State and several others in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states have come under heavy military and police attacks including killings and late night abduction of dozens of defenseless citizens.
“Few days ago, there were reports of resumption of military air bombardments and ground troops’ killings and abductions in the Communities of Amuzi and Odenkwume and other neighbouring communities in Ihite/Uboma LGA as well as Arondizogu and neighboring others in Ideato North LGA, all in Imo.”
The coalition also knocked the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, “over his savage and genocidal comments” going by the IG’s directive to policemen to shoot at sight criminals.
“It must be clearly and boldly stated that the Coalition is in strong condemnation of recent attacks on security personnel and target and destruction of key government facilities in Nigeria including South-East and South-South and Muslim areas of Northern Nigeria; whether done by non-state actors or clandestinely planted state actors or state backed or procured non state actors especially the imported jihadists in the two regions,” it concluded.