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How over 100,000 civilians were killed by security forces between 2015-2023 — Report


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Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, Thursday, Jan 18, 2024


By General Investigative Findings of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety); Nigeria’s leading Human Rights and Democracy Research Advocacy Voice since 2008, the Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs)-comprising the Military (Army, Air Force and Navy under the Defense Headquarters); the various crack squads of the Nigeria Police Force and the Spy Police (SSS) have in the past eight years and four months or 100 months or 3,010 days gone-by (August 30, 2015-Dec 31, 2023) carried out 28 major ‘Conduct-Atrocity Operations’ calamitously leading to direct or indirect death outside the law of over 100,000 unarmed and defenseless citizens of Nigeria during which tens of thousands were deadly tortured and secretly held without fair and evidence-base trial and several thousands of others permanently disappeared during custodial abductions and incarcerations.

The direct or indirect death of over 100,000 unarmed and defenseless citizens of Nigeria in 100 months gone-by was found to have represented average yearly deaths outside the law of 12,500, 1,050 per month and 35 unlawful deaths per day. The ‘indirect deaths’ included those that died from torture and gunshot injuries or those abducted and disappeared; and hunger, starvations and deprivations visited upon their dependants occasioned by their absence. Included in this category are victims of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Jihadist Fulani Bandits’ massacre or terror. Shockingly, about 70% of the direct dead, tortured, abducted and disappeared victims are found to have belonged to members of the South-East, the South-South and the Old Middle-Belt Christians and non Muslim others; out of which roughly 50% represented the sedentary Trado-Judeo-Christian citizens of Igbo extraction openly shot and killed outside the law under false labeling and class criminalization; or abducted from their homes or job places; or on their way to home or work or social outings and tortured or starved to death; or permanently disappeared or secretly held outside the provisions of the written laws without fair and evidence-base trial.

The remaining 30% represented the unarmed and defenseless Muslim victims killed or maimed during the Nigerian Security Forces’ crude counterinsurgency operations in Muslim parts of the North-East States of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Adamawa severally captured in the Amnesty International Reports. Apart from our findings strongly indicating that the 70% Christian and other non Muslim victims directly or indirectly died in the hands of the Nigerian Security Forces on the grounds of their Faith and Ethnicity, there was also coded security operational policy of “cow humanization” whereby security forces speedily activate rapid responses (including arrests, abductions, disappearances and “neutralization”) against the killers or attackers of Muslim cows than killers or attackers of non Muslim citizens particularly the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and the Jihadist Fulani Bandits. Our findings further indicated that the Nigerian Security Forces are neutrality and professionalism challenged; having brutally been radicalized, biased and bastardized particularly since July 2015.

NSFs Must Be Restructured And Their Personnel And Bosses Retrained And De-Radicalized

The Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs) are inches away from being converted to full blown ‘Tribo-Islamic Gendarmes’ and to stop this from being the case, they must be urgently restructured and their personnel and bosses comprehensively retrained and de-radicalized. The “Fulanization” factor in the Security Forces must be frontally addressed including weeding out all the reportedly clandestinely conscripted ethno-religious killer elements in the Security Forces during the disastrous years of the Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammad Buhari (May 29, 2015-May 29, 2023). The Nigerian State must also drop and discard the infamous “State Jihadism Project” and take the country back to its supposedly secular status. We are making bold to say that the security forces of Nigeria will never make any meaningful progress in the areas of the country’s territorial and citizens’ security and safety as long as the Nigerian Government continues to beat about the bush and rigmarole in securitization absurdities, frivolities and irrelevancies.

It is also regrettable that about 85% of the country’s security personnel and bosses are still starkly illiterate in ICT security and intelligence including “Man-Mental-Machine” Policing and Soldiering. Most of the country’s security personnel and their bosses are starkly computer illiterates with gross deficiencies in mental security and intelligence skills. Few of them that are well read have become “professorial or doctoral morons” having been grossly drenched in pandemic corruption and other corrupt practices.

Nigerian Security Forces’ 28 Major ‘Conduct-Atrocity’ Operations Since August 2015

(1) 30th August 2015 massacre of 40 defenseless citizens during peaceful protests in Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Asaba; (2) 2nd and 17th Dec 2015 massacre of 30 defenseless citizens in Onitsha; (3) 14th-15th Dec 2015 massacre of 1000 unarmed Shiite Muslims during their religious processions in Zaria (Nigerian Government later admitted killing 348); (4) 18th and 29th Jan 2016 massacre of 20 defenseless citizens during peaceful protests in Aba; (5) 9th Feb 2016 massacre of 30 unarmed protesters in Aba; (6) 29th and 30th May 2016 massacre of 140 defenseless citizens during the Igbo Heroes Day in Onitsha and Nkpor (110 deaths) and Asaba (30 deaths), (7) 2016 starvation to death of 240 civilian detainees including 29 children with ages between newborn and five years at Giwa Army Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State (AI Report: 2016); (8) 7th Jan 2017 military massacre (air bombing) of 236 internally displaced Christian IDPs in Kala-Balge in Borno State; (9) 20th Jan 2017 massacre of 20 unarmed citizens during pro-Trump rally in Port Harcourt; (10) 4th Dec 2017 massacre (air bombing) of 50 rural Christians in Numan, Adamawa State during which Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen blocked those fleeing the bombardment and slaughtered not less 30 more defenseless Christians, (11) 11th to 14th Sept 2017 massacre of over 180 unarmed and defenseless citizens in Ogwe, Aba, Isiala-Ngwa and Umuahia in Abia State; (12) 29th and 30th Oct 2018 massacre of 47 Shiite Muslims in Abuja; (13) 29th/30th June 2020 Army massacre of 30 unarmed Tiv Christians in Taraba State; (14) 23rd August 2020 Army massacre of 30 Judeo-Christian worshippers and sports activists in Emene, Enugu State; (15) 20th night of Oct 2020 massacre of at least 20 defenseless protesters in Lekki and 130 across Lagos State; (16) Oct 2020 massacre by Army and Police of no fewer than 400 unarmed citizens across Nigeria during EndSARS protests including not less than 130 killed in Lagos and 60 killed in the Southeast; (17) Oct/Nov 2020 massacre by Nigerian Army of more than 105 defenseless Igbo residents of Obigbo (excluding 25 killed in military captivity), Rivers State; (18) abduction between Oct 21 and Nov 10, 2020 of 620 defenseless Obigbo residents in Rivers State and their incommunicado detention in different military and spy police dungeons in Northern Nigeria during which more than 25 were tortured or starved to death in Army captivity and 152 others disappeared till date.

Others Are: (19) Jan 2021-Oct 2023 abductions, disappearances, torture, maiming, killings and burnings by Nigerian Army and Police Crack Squads in Imo State leading to unlawful death of more 1,100 unarmed citizens involving Army/other military and Police personnel and unlawful killing of not less than 1000 defenseless citizens by armed criminal entities during which more than 1,600 civilian houses and thousands of automobiles, electronics, market stores, trucks of goods, etc were burned down or wantonly destroyed (see Intersociety’s Special Investigative Report of May 21, 2023 and its updates at https://intersociety-ng.org); (20) involvement of Nigerian Army/Military and other armed state and non state actors in the unlawful killing of over 7000 unarmed and defenseless Eastern citizens (non Muslims) between Jan 2021 and November 2023 in Igbo dominated States of Delta, Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi, during which over 3,200 civilian houses and tens of thousands of other properties including market stores, trucks of goods and automobiles, etc were burned or wantonly destroyed, (21) protection, aiding and abetting by Army and Military of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen terrorism in forests, bushes, farmlands, major roadways and triangles across the Five Igbo Land States of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia and their neighboring Delta, Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States; (22) repeated involvement of the Nigerian Army/Military in sundry roadway corruption and brutalities including extortion, solid mineral thefts and aiding and abetting roadway/highway kidnappings and armed robberies in the East; (23) the Nigerian Army’s brazen operational partisanship resulting in indiscriminate bombings, destructions, abductions, disappearances, killings, maiming of defenseless Christians and their properties in Christian villages or areas in Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Taraba and Munya, Shiroro, Rafi and Paikoro Local Government Areas in Niger State, etc; (24) strong accusation of the involvement of the Nigerian Army/Military and police special squads of conniving with and protecting Jihadist Killer Fulani Herdsmen who go about, unchecked, slaughtering defenseless Christians and wantonly destroying their properties across Nigeria particularly in the East and Middle-Belt; (25) constant refusal by the Nigerian Army/Military to come to the rescue of defenseless Christians and their properties under attack by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their allies and deployment of war grade weapons and personnel in situations of disproportionate reprisals and self defense by those constantly under attack including indiscriminately arresting or cracking down and falsely labeling their youths and leaders as “terrorists and bandits” while turning blind eyes on Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Jihadist Fulani Bandits.

The Rest Are: (26) indiscriminate bombing and razing of defenseless civilian villages and homes by Nigerian Army/Military in the South-East particularly in Imo, Anambra and Abia States since 2021 and their refusal to carry out ‘clearance operations’ in hideouts and enclosures where Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their allies are militarily protected including places like Leru, Lokpanta, Isiukwuato, Nneochi, Umunneochi, Okigwe, Ihube (Aku-Ihube), Umulolo, Umunze (and its neighbors), Uturu, Eke-Udi (Ugwu Onyeama) and Ugwuogo-Nike-Opi-Nsukka forest areas, etc; with a clear case in point being the recent (October 2023) announcement by Gov Alex Otti of Abia State of discovery of not less than 80 dead bodies including 20 headless bodies at the Lokpanta Fulani Cattle Market; (27) the 3rd Dec 2023 killing of over 120 defenseless Islamic Festival celebrants in Tudun Biri part of Kaduna State.

The innocent Muslims numbering over 120 were killed by two airstrikes coordinated by the Nigerian Defense Headquarters of the Nigerian Armed Forces; and (28) the 2023 Christmas Eve (between Dec 24 and 25 and aftermath) massacre by Fulani Jihadists of not less than 300 defenseless Plateau Christians in Ndun, Ngyong, Murfet, Makundary, Tamiso, Chiang, Tahore, Gawarbe, Dares, Darwat, etc in Bokkos Local Government Area and Gashishi and Ropp Districts of Barkin-Ladi LGA and others in Mangu LGA, etc. It must be noted that the killings would have been prevented if the massively deployed security forces had heeded several early warnings and acted securely and unbiased.

For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

Emeka Umeagbalasi, M.Sc. (Criminologist-Researcher)

Board Chair, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire

Head, Campaign and Publicity

International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

Obianuju Joy Igboeli Esquire

Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law


WhatsApp/Mobile: +2348174090052

Email: info@intersociety-ng.org

Website: https://intersociety-ng.org

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