Intersociety bags NUJ “Recognition for Contribution in Engendering Rule of Law & Human Rights in S/E Nigeria” award
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), on Friday, November 17, 2023, received “An Award of Recognition for Contribution in Engendering Rule of Law and Human Rights in South-East Nigeria”.
The Prestigious Award was presented by the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Enugu State Council and handed over by the President of NUJ, Dr. Chris Isiguzo who flew in from Abuja with his entourage.
On the ground to receive the Prestigious Award on behalf of the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law were Prof Jerry Chukwuokoro, Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Criminologist/Board Chair of Intersociety, Anayo Okoli, a Board Member and South-East Bureau Chief of the Vanguard Newspapers and Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, a Respected Human Rights Lawyer and Head of Campaign and Publicity of the Organization.
On its part, Intersociety dedicated Enugu NUJ award to 1,560 dead, wounded, tortured, sexually abused, abducted and disappeared victims of Obigbo Army war-grade invasion and deadly use of force.
In an acceptance speech, the Intersociety Board Chair, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, a criminologist and researcher, said:
“The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, a Respected Human Rights and Democracy Voice in Nigeria and beyond since 2008, is dedicating the Enugu NUJ’s Correspondents Chapel Prestigious Award it received on Friday, November 17, 2023 to more than 1,560 dead, wounded, tortured, sexually abused, abducted and disappeared victims of the Obigbo Army War-Grade Invasion and Deadly Use of Force.
“The over 1,560 victims had included 130 dead victims, 150 deadly wounded victims, 620 tortured victims, 40 sexually abused victims, 620 abducted victims and 152 disappeared victims who became heinous crimes’ victims following the Nigerian Army’s war-grade invasion and deadly use of force that lasted for 20 days (October 21-November 10, 2020).
“The Army’s war-grade invasion and deadly use of force was brought about by former Governor Nyesom Wike’s State-wide broadcast of October 21, 2020, inviting soldiers of the Nigerian Army to “flush out IPOB terrorists in the area who killed six soldiers and four policemen and burned police stations”.
Mr. Umeagbalasi afterwards unveiled a new international report entitled “Inside Nyesom Wike’s bloody era in Obigbo (Rivers State): Oct 21-Nov 10, 2020“.
Umeagbalasi insisted that Wike must be sacked as FCT Minister and banned alongside 12 other key perpetrators for life from holding public offices and permanently denied entry visas into Western World and other advanced Democracies.
Below is a statement by Intersociety on the Obigbo massacre:
Gateway Into The Obigbo Army Massacre Report
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) and the Ekwenche Research Institute and Organization in Chicago, United States have joined hands in producing the international Report above mentioned.
The “Inside Wike’s Bloody Era In (Obigbo) Rivers State And Unspeakable Account Of The Nigerian Army War-Grade Invasion, Crackdown And Deadly Use Of Force”; is an international report involving three years of detailed criminological investigations and field data collection and compilation by Intersociety’s team of investigators led by Emeka Umeagbalasi, a university trained Criminologist and Graduate of Security Studies and post graduate expert in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution.
The International Report was produced for Intersociety and Ekwenche Research Institute, USA and it is 32 pages containing twelve (12) sections including Investigative Summary, Local, Regional and International Legal Frameworks, List of the Slain, the Wounded, the Abducted, the Disappeared and the Rescued. Included in the Report are the General Account of the Massacre and Abductions; Ten Group Photos of the Victims, List of the Key Perpetrators (numbering thirteen) and their Photos as well as the Recommendations.
Investigative Summary Of The Obigbo Army Massacre And Abductions
The Nigerian Army massacre in Obigbo, Rivers State, a densely Igbo populated area occurred as a result of the ENDSARS protests across Nigeria in October 2020 and crude and deadly crackdown measures adopted by the Nigeria’s security forces.
The ENDSARS protests were organized by aggrieved citizens against atrocious conducts of the dreaded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force; swiftly renamed “SWAT” and restored as “SARS” since 2022. In the killings and property destructions that followed, estimated number of deaths was put at no fewer than 400 defenseless citizens and scores of police personnel and soldiers across the country during which properties worth billions of naira were burned down or wantonly destroyed.
Lagos State where not less than 130 defenseless persons were killed and properties worth billions lost, was the hardest hit. The ‘End-SARS’ protests took a violent dimension on October 20, 2020 following widely suspected recruitment of Islamic hoodlums by then Buhari-led Government of Nigeria to counter the protests, attack the protesters (leading to killing of dozens of peaceful protesters and burning down or wanton destruction of their properties).
The above appeared to have been sinisterly hatched so as to make the protests look like “all Southern Christian affair”; with intents to force the peaceful protests to become violent leading to the Nigerian Army killings of October 20, 2020 at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State during which not less than 20 defenseless protesters were killed and over 30 others deadly injured.
In Rivers State, South-South Nigeria, Gov Nyesom Wike (as he then was) took the protests personal and turned same into a political weapon and settlement of scores with leadership of IPOB. He not only incited security agencies including Police and Army against Igbo residents in Obigbo and environs but also politicized the mob killing of some security personnel during the ENDSARS protests in Rivers State as “terrorist acts perpetrated by IPOB”.
This was even when dozens of defenseless citizens were also shot at close range and killed during the protests by soldiers and police personnel in the State and the rest of the country where not less than 400 unarmed citizens and dozens of security personnel including soldiers and police personnel also lost their lives.
In addition to the politicization of the Obigbo EndSARS protests, Governor Nyesom Wike (as he then was) on October 21, 2020 declared a curfew in Obigbo and environs and invited Nigerian Army to “flush out IPOB terrorists in the area who killed six soldiers and four police personnel and burned police stations”.
In response, the Northern-Muslim-dominated-and-controlled Nigerian Army under former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai (as he then was) went on unspeakable execution of ethnic and religious cleansing by unleashing war-grade invasion and massacre targeting defenseless residents of Obigbo and environs and in the end, no fewer than 130 defenseless residents were killed, 150 deadly injured and 540 men and 80 women of productive age-brackets abducted.
Dozens (about 40) of the 80 abducted Obigbo women were also alleged to have been sexually abused in military captivity. The most shocking was the fact that no fewer than 152 of the 620 abducted Obigbo residents are still missing in the hands of soldiers of the Nigerian Army since late October 2020. A total of 468 of the 620 abductees were traced to different secret Army dudgeons scattered in Niger State (Jebba, Zungeru, Suleja, Bida, Kontangora, etc), Abuja (FCT), Nasarawa, Kaduna, etc, from where they were freed through court bails.
The civilian houses and other properties burned down or wantonly destroyed during the Massacre were valued at over N20billion then (today’s market value of N100billion). The Nigerian Army massacre and abductions in Obigbo lasted for 20 days from Oct 21 to Nov 10, 2020 while placement of the area under siege lasted from October 21, 2020 to December 2021. Shockingly, till date, not even a single perpetrator or aider and abettor including former Gov Nyesom Wike and 12 other key perpetrators (all retired and serving senior Army officers) has been fished out and put on trial either locally or internationally.
Prowling Wike, 12 Other Key Perpetrators Must Internationally Be Blacklisted And Tried
It must be pointed out that in the case of Obigbo Army Massacre and Abductions of October 21 to November 10, 2020, no credible investigations have been carried out by the Government of Nigeria or any of its statutory criminal investigation agencies and not even a single perpetrator or conspirator has been apprehended, diligently investigated and sucessfully prosecuted; and are still on the prowl and walking freely with impunity more than three years after the massacre.
Totality of these explains why the Obigbo massacre and abductions has expressly placed and conveyed jurisdiction on ICC over the massacre and abductions; following “the brazen inability and unwillingness” of the Nigerian Government to fish out the perpetrators and put them on trial to ensure justice to the slain and the disappeared; justice to the perpetrators; and justice to the society that has been desecrated.
We have also observed that the immediate past Government of Nigeria under Retired Major General Muhammad Buhari and current central Government headed by Ahmed Bola Tinubu have continuously rewarded key perpetrators of heinous crimes and atrocities including those frontally involved in the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions who have been rewarded with key Government appointments including top military and security promotions and postings; or as key Government Cabinet Ministers and other top federal public office appointments.
A clear case in point was the recent appointment of former Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; a leading perpetrator in the Obigbo Army Massacre and Abductions as “a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in charge of the Federal Capital Territory”.
The Obigbo Army Massacre and Abductions will indelibly remain former Gov Nyesom Wike and 12 others’ nightmare for the rest of their lives. The apostles of justice and rule of law including courageous global rights campaigners are prayerfully called upon to pricelessly work toward ensuring that the perpetrators are kept behind iron bars of the prison locally or internationally in no distant future.
It is our strong recommendation and firm stand that former Gov Nyesom Wike in particular should be sacked as ‘a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja’ and he, alongside 12 other key perpetrators declared permanently unfit to occupy any elective or appointive public office locally and internationally for the rest of their lives in connection with their ignoble roles in the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions.
The 13 key perpetrators and others at large should be placed on permanent international visa bans or restrictions and stopped from setting their feet on human rights and rule of law respecter and compliant western world and other lawful countries. The victims’ families are also encouraged to file torrents of civil claimant suits against the former Rivers State Governor and 12 other key perpetrators.
The countries of EU, UK, Canada, Brazil, Israel, USA and others are called upon to take special diplomatic note for purpose of internationally blacklisting and isolating former Gov Nyesom Wike in particular and 12 other key perpetrators generally mentioned or listed in Page 26 of the Report. The attention of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is also drawn and called upon to act timely against the listed key perpetrators so as to deter others and bring justice home to the voiceless and defenseless victims.
The Igbo People and organizations in Diaspora are also called upon to rise against those that are involved in the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions and compel them to disclose the whereabouts of 152 other abductees yet to be located more than three years after their abduction. The action required from the Global Igbo People includes tracking down the named perpetrators in foreign lands and getting them to pay heavily through ‘civil claimant litigations or suits’ and arrested and kept behind bars in such countries especially those with “international or universal criminal jurisdictions”.
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
For: Ekwenche Research Institute, Chicago, USA
Prof Justin Akujieze (Renowned Physicist)
Board Chairman, Ekwenche Research Institute, USA
Maazi Luke Nwannunu
Chairman, Committee on Genocide
Ekwenche Research Institute, USA