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S’east govs are dangerously turning Igbo land into Jihadist violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna

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-Intersociety

 

Special Warning Statement

Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Strong Warning:

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety); Nigeria’s leading research and investigative not-for-profit Human Rights and Democracy Advocacy Organization since 2008, is strongly warning that the Governors and Governments of the South-East or mainland Igbo are deafeningly living in denial and dangerously turning the Mainland Igbo into Jihadist Violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna. It must be pointed out that despite our informed alarm raised in our seminally and widely read statement of March 11, 2024; available pieces of irrefutable evidence have continued to indicate grave danger signals ahead for the general security and safety of the Mainland and Outpost Igbo, their defenseless populations, territories and properties which totally and cumulatively threaten their fundamental human rights to Freedom of Religion or Belief and profession of Christianity in particular.

It saddens our heart that when shocking and terrifying statistics are being reeled out day in day out across Nigeria and African countries by international state and non-state actor investigative and research Rights and Humanitarian bodies; raising consciousness and alarms and pointing out dangers arising from the genocidal activities of the Fulani, Shuwa, Baggara, Kanuri and Maghreb radical Islamists or jihadists in Nigeria and Africa; the Governors and Governments of the Mainland Igbo or South-East are deafeningly and dangerously lending their hands, implicitly or explicitly, in flooding and saturating the Region with locally and regionally assembled Fulani jihadists and allied others; armed with prohibited firearms and covertly accorded “above the law status” and state protection by the present and immediate past Central Governments of Nigeria and the country’s Security Forces (NSFs). Today, the Igbo Land civilian Governors; both elected and selected, have become sobriquet: “Chief Insecurity Officers” of their respective Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. It has also been observed and widely suspected that the major motive behind the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments’ betrayal of trust and compromise of the Region’s territorial, citizens and property security and safety is rooted in forces behind their governorship selection or election and post-election court processes; requiring “loyalty of the graveyard” just to stay in power for mere maximum eight years. The above is to the extent that it has dangerously become a routine for an Igbo Land Governor/Government to compromise the religious, identity, property and territorial security and safety of the governed just to stay in public office by hook or crook.

We at the international Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law had in our statement of March 11, 2024, titled: South-East Lands Too Tiny For Grab For (Fulani) “Ranching/Settlements: Enugu, Abia And Anambra Govts, Others Must Back Off; strongly accused the Governors and Governments of the affected Mainland Igbo States of secretly forcing several communities in their States into ceding their forest reserves and farmlands for veiled or disguised Fulani herders’ settlements; a very dangerous timebomb presently detonating and uprooting the indigenous Christian communities, their natives and properties in places like Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna.

The most shocking and alarming of it all is that the time-bomb-prone arrangements by the Mainland Igbo Governors and other strongly suspected jihad enablers are being executed using different disguises and veiled names. It must be publicly remembered that the affected Governors and Governments particularly those of Enugu, Anambra and Abia have severally denied involvement in such dangerously security threatened exercise. However, irrefutable findings made by Intersociety have rubbished such denials; with most striking being a recent rejoinder statement issued by the National Leadership of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN), which unequivocally disclosed that the South-East Governors have commendably hearkened to their demand by providing lands for Fulani herders’ settlements in the South-East-so as to find a lasting solution to incessant “Herders-Farmers Clashes”. Below is the link to our statement of March 11, 2024: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/south-east-lands-too-tiny-grab-fulani-enugu-abia-must-pkovf

MACABAN Revelation That Rubbished Igbo Land Govs’ Denials:

The (rejoinder) statement of the National Leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) was issued on March 16, 2024; five days after Intersociety’s statement referenced above. Signed by its National Secretary, Bello Aliyu Gotomo, the MACABAN statement described as “unfortunate the opposition to (Fulani) ranching in the South-East by some groups within the zone, especially the International Group (Society) for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety”.

The MACABAN statement said “it took exception to Intersociety’s statement and interpreted the submission of the group as laden with ethnic hate and dysfunctional in this age when patriotic Nigerians are bent on charting a common front for a united and progressive nation”. MACBAN also “implored the Governors (and Governments) of the Southeast states to disregard such statements” and said they “remain optimistic that the Governors of the Southeast, along with all well-meaning persons and organizations in Igboland, will continue to recognize our essence in the livestock value chain in the geopolitical zone and continue to be fair in accommodating our people” and that “recognizing the industrious nature of the Igbo people and their successes across the globe (outside their traditional homeland), we trust in their continued hospitality towards our people in Igboland and implore the different tiers of government to take a critical look at the security challenges across the country and save Nigerians the humongous losses in materials and lives”. Below is the link to MACABAN leaders’ statement, dated March 16, 2024: https://dailypost.ng/2024/03/16/ranching-intersociety-spreading-ethnic-hatred-in-south-east-macban/

Cowardly Acts Of The Mainland Igbo Govs And Their Controlled Governments:

The cowardly acts of the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments have paved way for saturation of major communal farmlands, bushes, and forest reserves by locally and regionally assembled Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others. It must be remembered that Intersociety had seminally and exclusively researched and found that as at 2020/2021, “not less than 700 communal locations particularly bushes, forests and farmlands located in Mainland and Outpost indigenous Igbo areas of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Benue, Edo, Kogi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa States have been invaded and seized by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others; armed with illicit automatic weapons; remotely assembled and protected by the then Central Government of Nigeria and its, some say: “Islamic inspired security forces”. It was also observed that as at August 2019, only about 139 of such locations were traced to Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo-following the Ukpabi Nimbo Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen massacre of April 2016; killing at least 48 rural Christians and the early 2016 Southern ward movement of the Jihadists armed with AK-47s-remotely protected by national coercive agencies.

Intersociety’s findings above were later in 2021 corroborated by a retired DIG of Police who issued a disturbing statement confirming that “as at 2020, intelligence at his disposal as then serving Police DIG indicated that not less than 336 locations in the South-East have been seized and occupied by Fulani Herdsmen armed with AK-47 Assault Rifles”. Intersociety also investigated and traced the Mainland Igbo communal forests, bushes and farmlands’ seizure and occupation by the Jihadists to “a later part of 2015 camouflaged Army National Forest Mapping”; which resulted to the alleged State and military-protected influx and mass movement of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others into Southern and Middle Belt forests, bushes and farmlands. Today, the situation has become dicey and worsened by cowardly dispositions of the Mainland Igbo Governors and Governments. It has severally been noticed that the Mainland Igbo Govs are not only so scared of mentioning “Jihadist Fulani matters” in their security policies and programs but are also in reckless habit of shifting attentions in matters relating to jihadist-prone insecurity and other unsafe conditions perpetrated by the assembled Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others in the Mainland Igbo particularly in the South-East. Not until the MACABAN’s recent statement confirming the Mainland Igbo Govs’ conspiracy in breeding jihadist-prone insecurity and other unsafe conditions; the Govs have been living in denial and employed different disguises to cover up.

Anambra And Enugu Govs’ Recent Cowardly Acts:

As commendably reported by the News-Band, published on April 23, 2024, a family of wife, husband and maid were abducted by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and taken into a bush where they were held captive and raped for three days until payment of N15m leading to their release amidst bruises in their private parts including the husband’s anus inflicted with several rape wounds. The above shocking details were part of a Save Our Soul (SOS) addressed to Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo of Anambra State by one of the victims who recounted their ordeal in the hands of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen as they were navigating to Ukwulu through Abba Junction after ELDI. The victim further said, “I am a native of Ukwulu, married to Nawgwu. On the 17th of April, 2024, we came back to celebrate the marriage of my daughter and we were driving to Ukwulu through Abba Junction, after ELDI, we saw cows crossing the road and stopped. Immediately, the cattle men blocked the road and brought out guns and ordered us into the bush where they tied our hands behind us and started beating us. In the bush, they raped me and my maid before my husband every time without mercy. The third man tore my husband trousers and continued to rape him in the anus. They took our phones and ordered us to start calling our friends and family and demanded for N100 million for each of us or they will kill us. After 3 days of continuous rape, my maid became sick and started vomiting blood. My husband is dying as his anus is teared to pieces. I cannot stand up properly due to continue rape. They later released us on Saturday (April 20, 2024) after my son-in-law mobilized N15m, from where we were rushed to hospital at Asaba. Your Excellency please save your people by having that bush (in Ukwulu, Dunukofia LGA) surrounded by security people. Please chase out these evil cow men from Anambra. Please stop them from wasting lives. Even as we are leaving, they brought two other boys and took them into captivity. I am now a living dead due to (Jihadist) Fulani (Herdsmen) in my town. Even the villagers cannot react again due to fear.” The link to the female victim’s account is below: https://news.band/anambra-herdsmen-rape-man-wife-house-help-after-collecting-n15m-ransom/

Condemnable And Cowardly Reaction Of The Government Of Anambra State:

The reaction of the Government of Anambra State under Prof Charles Soludo to the abominable and atrocious incident was totally reprehensible, hastily conclusive, criminally judgmental, and primitively cowardly. Apart from being clear evidence of vicarious liability and complicity, it is also a mortal sin against God and unbecoming of “a traditional red-cap Governor”. The Gov and Government of Anambra State had reacted through the Media Aide to the Gov, Mr. Christian Aburime by describing the chief victim’s account as “another concocted narrative, void of credibility and mischievously syndicated to paint a scenario of insecurity within the peaceful State”. The most annoying of it all was the Gov’s manifest bias and reliance on widely perceived compromised third parties (Traditional Throne of Ukwulu and Anambra State Police Spokesman)’s accounts as basis for jumping into such hasty conclusion and cowardly reaction.

The manifestly bias position of the Government of Anambra State is a clear testament of cover-ups and cowardly handling of lives and properties of the defenseless citizens of the State.

It further puts a big question mark on ceaseless massacre of defenseless citizens using Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and blood thirsty security operatives-both conventional and unconventional. The Gov’s reaction was also laden with fundamental loopholes including absence of detailed investigation, reliance on possibly biased or compromised third parties as basis for jumping into hasty conclusion, disregard to family-hood and the victims’ personal dignity; and failure to extend humanitarian services to them; having been abominably battered and sexually abused. The Gov could not even invite and have a fatherly talk with the victim-family. Gov Charles Soludo’s reaction is also tantamount to issuance of license to the Jihadists to “abduct, kill, rape, extort and terrorize” more defenseless citizens of the State and their properties. By the action of the Gov, too, he can sufficiently be accused of aiding and abetting Fulani Herdsmen-led jihadism in the State. This is more so when the chief victim’s account is too factual and real to be false or concocted. Her account has also exposed the Government of Anambra State as being too afraid and cowardly to expose and go after the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their jihadist atrocities across the State. It may be correct to say that “the fear of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen as the beginning of wisdom for Soludo’s Government” has become a major security and safety policy direction of the Government of the State under his watch.

Intersociety had in its June 5, 2023, statement called on Gov Charles Soludo of Anambra State to conduct detailed investigations into a strong allegation made by the leaders of the Pro Biafra Movement that his Homeland Commissioner and the State Ministry of Homeland Security have been aiding the incursions by the Fulani Herdsmen Jihadists into Awka North and neighboring areas”. Commissioner Chikaodili Anara was also accused of “being the brain behind the general security challenges across the State including using AVG (Anambra Vigilante Services) to murder unarmed citizens and label them “IPOB/ESN members”; in addition to allegation of “procurement and forceful seizure of strategic communal lands for Jihadist Fulani settlements”. Among the communities said to be witnessing the unchecked influx of Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in Anambra State, according to the allegation are: Igbariam, Achalla, Amanuke, Ugbene, Ukwulu, Nando, Urum, Mgbakwu, Isuanaocha, Ebenebe, Awkuzu; all located in Awka North, Ayamelum and Oyi Local Government Areas. The Gov and Government of Anambra State have since then turned deaf ears and refused to investigate the matter till date.

In Enugu State, the State Government is still reportedly stopping at nothing in forcing several communities to cede their agriculturally strategic lands for veiled settlement of Nigeria’s most violent group (Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others). We had in our first warning statement of March 11, 2024 disclosed how the Government of Enugu State was coercing various communities in the State into ceding their lands for settlement of the Fulani Jihadists using different disguises. One of the affected communities cited is Elugwu-Akwu Community in Old Achi part of Oji River Local Government Area. It has also been brought to our attention that the Government of Enugu State recently issued coded directives to leaders of the affected communities including Elugwu-Akwu to henceforth send delegates to Government House of Enugu State for continuation and conclusion of arrangements and “agreements” on how to hand over their lands to the State Government. The State Government also reportedly restrained its top functionaries from visiting such communities to avoid being traced and publicly reported. It has also become a public knowledge that Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others have saturated forests, bushes and farmlands in over 46 communities in 10 of the Enugu’s 18 LGAs; terrorizing, unchecked, the defenseless indigenous natives of such areas including Aninri (Okpanku, Oduma, Nenwe, etc); Awgu (Agbogugu, Agbudu, Mgbowo, Awgu, etc); Igbo Eze North (Enugu-Ezike, etc); Oji River (Oji River Urban, Ugwuoba, Inyi, Akpugo-Eze, Olor, Achi Agu and Achi Uno, etc); Nkanu East (Akpofu, Amagunze, Nara-Unateze, Nkerefi, Mburubu, etc); Nkanu West (Akpugo, Akegbe-Ugwu, Ozalla, Obuofia, Agbani, Obe, etc); Udi (Eke, Obinagu, Agbudu, Nsude, Egede, etc); Uzo Uwani (Abbi, Nimbo, Nkpologwu, Adani, Iggar, etc); Isi-Uzo (Eha Amufu, Mbu, Ikem, Neke, etc); Enugu East (Ugwuogo Nike, etc); and Ezeagu (Olo, Iwollo, Akama, Amansiodo, Obeleagu-Umana, Umumba-Ndiagu, etc)

Govs/Govts. Presiding Over Destruction Of Environments And Wild Lives In Igbo Land:

The Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments have also failed woefully to protect the natural environments including their wildlife in the Region and if extreme care is not taken urgently and as a matter of public interest, the Mainland Igbo’s natural environments will end up being destroyed by more than 70% in the next 50 years and 80% of the remainder will end up in the hands of the politically protected Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others; thereby cutting down brutally the present life expectancies further by 30% as a result of personal and environmental security threats to the lives of the citizens of the Region. In other words, in about 50 years’ time, if extreme care is not taken, average life expectancy in the Mainland Igbo will likely drop to about 40 years-following threats caused by reckless, unchecked and indiscriminate destruction of natural environments and genocidal activities of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others who are politically protected in forests and bushes of the Region. The most shocking is that these threats have conspiratorially been traced to the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments. Apart from widespread destruction of the Mainland Igbo natural environments; management and protection of such environments in recent years are also nothing to write about. Sources of oxygen (from plants and weeds); the livewire of human living and survival are gravely facing extinction in the Mainland Igbo as against sources of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; the mainstay of plants and weeds which are on rapid increase.

The Mainland Igbo Govs have also become the arch enemies of the Region’s natural environments and their wildlife-thereby threatening the right of the indigenous citizens of the Region to exist, develop and ethnically and environmentally protected and secured. The Mainland Igbo Govs have naively and selfishly allowed unchecked and unguided individual development initiatives and self-helps to threaten to destroy the Region’s natural environments including wildlife. The speed and recklessness with which bushes and forests and their natural lives are being attacked and destroyed in the Mainland Igbo by individual and corporate land vendors and agents has maddeningly risen to an apogee. The present Mainland Igbo Govs and their appointees have also been responsible for the destruction and conversion of mapped public and communal forest reserves into estates and private houses through criminal sales-with intents to divert proceeds for criminal enrichment.

Owing to the absence of environmental and development friendly rural and urban planning, corporate and private land vendors have been allowed, unchecked, to trespass or encroach on natural environments with reckless abandon-leading to springing up from right, left and center of private and group estates, market plazas, complexes, “jihadist ranching/farm settlements”, etc. The above is even as about 95% of public officials and authorities in charge of rural and urban plannings working for the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments are strongly suspected to be generally corrupt or corruptly enrich themselves. In other words, once bribed, it is anything goes including issuance of “stop work”; which has become sobriquet: “come and bribe or settle Government and build and deface or destroy environment as it pleases you”.

Christianity And Freedom Of Religion May Die In Nigeria And Igbo Land In 50 Years:

Intersociety has checked and strongly observed that if extreme care is not taken in Nigeria particularly in the ancestral Mainland and Outpost Igbo, Freedom of Religion or Belief including right to freely and willingly profess and practice Christianity or Judaism or Traditionalism; other than radical Islamism; will die or disappear. In other words, Christianity, Jewish and Traditional Religions are most likely to disappear in Nigeria or any part thereof particularly in Mainland and Outpost Igbo in the next 50 years. That is to say that Christian, Jewish and Traditional religious children born and being raised today in non-Muslim held areas of the country including Mainland and Outpost Igbo may not freely and peacefully practice their religions in the next 50 years.

Hypocrites And Fakers Have Outnumbered Real Defenders Of Christian Faith In Nigeria:

Apart from grave existential threats to Freedom to practice religion or believe in Nigeria or any part thereof; remotely or openly promoted or fueled by violent state actors using political, economic, and military means, Intersociety has also observed that over 80% of Christian leaders are hypocrites and fakers who are no longer true “Defenders of Faith”. Their chameleonic idiosyncrasies have also left 90% of their parishioners in grave psychological vulnerable state, forcing many into loosing faith in their professed Christian denominations.

It is also projected that there are only about 20% among Nigerian Christian leaders who are true “Defenders of Faith” or Christian Religion-founded by Jesus Christ before his death in 33AD. There are also more “Defenders of Christian Faith” (about 60%) among the Laities or Parishioners than among the Christian leaders in Nigeria. Yet the greatest challenge facing such “silent majority true Defenders of Faith” is chameleonic disposition of the Christian Leaders. It has been generally observed that the ordeal or travail of the Nigerian Christians is fundamentally originated from the Faith Leaders who have abandoned “Defense of Faith” to “Defense of Stomach” by allowing dry quest for materialism and personal aggrandizements to dominate their supposedly Divine Calling.

As a matter of facts, many, if not most of Nigerian Christian Leaders have abandoned “Defense of Christ Faith” and resorted to building their paradises on Earth. This, they do by wickedly using the name of Jesus Christ to brainwash and defraud their parishioners. While there are about 60% Laity members who can truly defend ‘Christian Faith’ when called upon, about 95% of Christianity members in Nigeria including those willing to defend Christian Faith, are miracle seekers, capable of being brainwashed and cunningly defrauded in return for their dry quest for personal aggrandizements or pursuit of selfish desires. It was also found that many “Christian Leaders” and political actors including many, if not most of the present Mainland Igbo Govs are mockers of Christendom and Jesus Christ and have remotely been responsible for the tragedies befalling the security and safety of Christian Faith and Christians particularly the ongoing coordinated and systematic attacks on Christians, their sacred places of worship and learning; and other properties by their state-actor and non-state actor attackers in Nigeria or any part thereof.

Before South-East Govs Turn Mainland Igbo Into Benue, Plateau And Southern Kaduna:

It is therefore in the light of the totality of the above that the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) is strongly calling on the general public of the Igbo People worldwide and other apostles and disciples of the International Freedom of Religion or Belief within and outside Nigeria to take critical advocacy notice of the imminence of turning the Mainland and Outpost Igbo into sobriquet: “Jihadist Violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna”; with clear evidence at hand being the recent statement of March 16, 2024 by the National Leadership of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACABAN). Apart from the MACABAN confirmation of what has been publicly known, the cowardly and terrified fearful dispositions of the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments in matters involving the genocidal activities of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen in the Region’s forests, bushes and farmlands is also a clear case in point; likewise, brazen bias and partisanship of the deployed officers and personnel of the Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs). Till date, the Nigerian Security Forces have failed woefully to arrest and publicly parade Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen laying siege on Mainland Igbo forests, bushes, and farmlands. The policing branch of the Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs) have also refused to thoroughly investigate the forensic, ethnic, religious, gender and age-bracket identities of over 80 dead bodies including slain infants and pregnant mothers whose remains were discovered in Oct 2023 at Lopanta Fulani Cattle Market in Abia State as well as identification and prosecution of those behind their abduction and captivity killings and where, when, how and why they were abducted and killed. It is alarming and shocking that the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments could remotely lend hands and participate in turning their Region into sobriquet: “Jihadist Violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna” just because they want to be allowed by Jihad enablers to govern their respective States for a period of eight years.

This is even when the Govs constitutionally enjoy over 60 Executive Powers including Power of Immunity in Section 308 and Chief Security Officers of their respective States, among others. Posterity must therefore be made to negatively record and bash those Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments remotely or vicariously responsible for consistent efforts at “Islamic Fulanization” of the Mainland Igbo Nation-State; including: Gov/Government of Anambra State, Gov/Government of Abia State, Gov/Government of Enugu State, Gov/Government of Ebonyi State and Gov/Government of Imo State-widely seen as “frontrunner-enablers of imported insecurity and other unsafe conditions in the Region per Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen genocidal attacks or violence.

Calling For A Book Of Record And Class Action Suits Against The Govs:

Intersociety is strongly calling for a Book of Record, for purpose of posterity reckoning and remembrance on the issue; in addition to institution of Public Interest or Class Action Litigations to force the Govs to retreat and back off. Demanded, too, are national and international media conferences and other local and international lawful advocacy actions to restrict the vicariously culpable Govs and Governments controlled by them from turning the Mainland Igbo into sobriquet: “Jihadist Violence-prone Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna”. As a matter of fact, the Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments must be lawfully forced to publicly explain the motive behind ceding communal lands for Fulani Herders’ settlements under different disguises or deceitfully coded names-thereby putting the Fundamental Human Right of the citizens of the Region to Freedom of Religion or Belief in grave danger.

Such public explanations must comparably include “the land size of the South-East versus those of the other five geopolitical regions particularly the North-Central or Old Middle Belt State of Niger”; “explaining what is economically special in ceding Mainland Igbo forests, bushes and farmlands to the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen”; “explaining remote involvement of the Govs and their top political appointees in the procurement of lands for leaders of the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and allied others”; “explaining the number of such lands ceded or procured for them, if any, in places like Niger State, measuring more than 76,363sqm2 as against the landmass of the entire South-East, measuring only 29,525sqm2”; “explaining why cow ranches are not capable of being successfully implemented and quarantined in places like Niger State with total landmass of roughly three times higher than that of the entire South-East”; “explaining reasons for the remote involvement of Mainland Igbo Govs and Governments in ceding or procuring lands for the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen”; and “explaining available legal basis backing such action, if any, and its constitutional provision or location”.

International Freedom Of Religion Under Brutal Attack In Nigeria:

The International Freedom of Religion or Worship, otherwise called “First Freedom” is facing a serious threat of extinction by violent and intolerant state actors and non-state actors in Nigeria or any part thereof. It must be historically remembered that the “First Freedom” is one of the oldest fundamental human rights in the world; proclaimed as far back as 313AD through “the Edit of Milan” enacted by Emperor Constantine of the then Roman Empire. The enactment of the Edit of Milan not only ended long years of discrimination and persecution against Christians under Roman Empire, but also granted them Freedom of Worship or Religion. Today, the International Freedom of Religion or Belief has not only become a leading and important Human Right under UN System but has also been adopted and codified by several UN Member-States including the United States of America which enacted “the US Freedom of Religion or Belief Act of 1998”. The “First Freedom” has also become globally so important that it was decades ago assigned an ‘International Rapporteur’ under the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Human Rights/United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Fist Freedom Laws In Gross Breach In Nigeria”:

In Nigeria, despite the clear provisions, enforceability and ‘justiciability’ of Sections 10 (prohibition of adoption of any religion as a State Religion) and 38 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and allied others in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended and similar provisions in the country’s International Treaty Laws; the Fundamental Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief (First Freedom) has received and still receives brutal attacks, gross disrespect and degradation from the present Central Government of Nigeria installed and religiously inspired by the immediate past Government of Retired Major General Muhammad Buhari. The “First Freedom” Laws are also being observed in gross breach by several State Governments using Nigerian Security Forces (NSFs) as well as at the non-state actor level by motley of the Government-protected armed Jihadist Groups. It must be stated that the height of state actor and non-state actor brutal attacks on Freedom of Religion or Worship in Nigeria or any part thereof originated from July 2015, two months after Retired Major General Muhammad Buhari was installed as Nigeria’s President. Apart from the 2015 rise to State Power by jihad enablers, Nigeria political landscape was also visited for the first time ever with ‘Muslim-Muslim Presidency’ through a brutally rigged 2023 Presidential Poll.

Identifying Five Major Religious Violence Ravaging Nigeria:

Intersociety has since 2010 been locally and globally reputed as a leading advocacy voice in the promotion and advancement of the Freedom of Religion or Belief including tracking, documenting, and exposing anti-religious persecutions against religious minorities and forceful or induced conversions by violent state and violent non-state actors, targeting Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Traditional Religious Minorities. Statistically, we have severally investigated and found in different parts of Nigeria including Igbo Land the following five major religious violence:

A. Organized violence (especially destruction of religious symbols and sanctuaries and burning down of places of worship and dwelling houses) by radical or extremist (“Born Again”) Christian sects against Traditional Religionists and their sacred Sanctuaries.

B. State actor systematic and organized violence against Muslim Minorities (. i.e. Islamic Movement in Nigeria or Shiites). Such Sunni Muslim-led Nigeria Government attacks include killings and destruction of sacred places of worship, learning and dwelling houses belonging to Shiites using the Nigerian Security Forces particularly soldiers of the Nigerian military.

C. Grisly, egregious, and widespread violence by state actors (Islamic-inspired Nigerian political and military leaders) against defenseless Christians and their sacred places of worship, learning, dwelling houses and livelihoods including farmlands and crops, using soldiers of the Nigerian Military as well as the Government-protected Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, Jihadist Fulani Bandits and allied others.

D. State actor (security forces) organized violence against defenseless members of the Jewish Religion and others categorized under “the African Instituted Churches (White Garments)” as well as Traditional Religionists and their religious symbols and sanctuaries. Such security forces’ organized violence has severally been reported across Nigeria particularly in the South-East and parts of the South-South.

E. Mob killings and destruction of dwelling houses and sacred places of worship and religious symbols by radical Islamic youth groups remotely instigated by radical Islamic leaders in Mosque and political establishments targeted at defenseless Christian students, preachers, etc.

Settlements For Jihadist Terrorism Not “Rights To Freedom Of Movement And Residency”:

Intersociety is strongly opposing veiled settlement arrangements for purposes of jihadist terrorism being promoted by State actors and jihad enablers and disguised as ‘enforcement of the citizens’ constitutional rights to freedom of movement and residency’. It must be pointed out that global laws and conventions never allow groups or individuals to move and reside outside their ancestral homes with illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) or engage in sundry genocidal atrocities or heinous crimes against persons and properties. The constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, movement, residency and acquisition and ownership of immoveable properties anywhere in Nigeria as contained in Sections 40, 41 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution do not and can never include invasion and terrorization of communities, their natives and properties on the grounds of ethnicity and religion. Those using “climate change” as a defense are also threatening and undermining the United Nations’ Principle of International Peace and Security and nowhere in the international law and humanitarianism under UN System is the state actor and non-state use of force or violence recommended as a lasting solution to the so called “climate change-forced/enforced migrations”.

Shocking Statistics Arising From Our Several Reports In Nigeria:

In Nigeria, according to Intersociety’s Special Report of Feb 14, 2024, more than 8, 200 defenseless Christians were hacked to death in 13 months of Jan 2023 to Jan 2024 and over 8,000 abducted; out of which 10% or 800 are not capable of returning to their families alive. Nigeria also recorded over 150, 000 religious related deaths since the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising; involving killing of at least 100, 000 defenseless Christians, 46,000 moderate Muslims (killed by fellow but radical Fulani Muslims and allied others). Not less than 4,000 deaths were drawn from non-Christian and non-Muslim Faith members. Direct killings also accounted for not less than 100,000 deaths and indirect killings including deaths arising from state actor and non-state custodial torture and shootings or hackings; took the remaining 50,000 deaths. Between July 2009 and Jan 2024, not less than 19, 000 churches including over 2000 sacred temples of the “African Instituted Churches” and Jewish religion and over 1000 sanctuaries of the Traditional religionists were wantonly destroyed or burned down. About 2,500 Christian schools and other sacred places of learning were also affected. In the first past four months of 2024 or Jan to April, the number of Christians killed and those abducted has risen to estimated 800 and 1000 respectively.

In all these, Benue, Plateau and Southern Kaduna have steadily remained the worst hit since June 2015; to the extent that in the past four years or 2020 to 2023; the three Christian-held States had lost not less than 24,000 defenseless Christians on yearly average of 2,000 Christian deaths. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, dangerously accommodated in the three States over the years have also seized, Islamized and Islamically renamed more than 300-400 uprooted indigenous Christian communities since June 2015 and uprooted and displaced over 1000 Christian communities. Today, Benue State accounts for at least 2m Christian IDPs-with hundreds of thousands of others found in Plateau and Southern Kaduna. Release International, a respected UK not-for-profit group promoting the International Freedom of Religion or Belief and caring for the persecuted Christians in Nigeria had in its April 22, 2024 statement, condemned strongly soldiers of the Nigerian Military for opening fire with live bullets at defenseless students of the University of Jos protesting attacks against Christian villages by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen-allowed by soldiers to operate freely without challenge. The students’ protest followed recent indiscriminate killing of defenseless Christians leading to death of more than 40 between 1st and 18th of April 2024 in Christian/University communities located in Bokkos and Mangu in Plateau State; during which soldiers of the Nigerian Military reportedly took side and allowed the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen to wreck havocs despite having been severally alerted ahead of the Jihadist attacks. In the ensuing shootings, soldiers reportedly shot dead scores of students and wounded others. The link to our Feb 14, 2024 Report is below: https://intersociety-ng.org/jihadist-genocide-of-christians-in-nigeria-bloodiest-in-2023-8222-hacked-to-death-from-jan-jan/

Shocking Statistics On Fulani Jihadist And Allied Others’ Atrocities Across Africa:

According to a Special Report by the Fox News (Digital), dated April 14, 2024, “Christianity is in deadly crisis in more than half or 28 of the Africa’s 54 Countries or Member-States; with over 165 churches closed or shutdown in Sudan in 2023 alone”. Quoting the 2023 Open Doors Report and other internationally respected sources including Nigeria’s Intersociety, the Fox News further disclosed that “out of every 10 (defenseless) Christians killed in Africa in 2023, nine were killed in Nigeria” and that “24 Christians are killed every 24 hours in Nigeria or one Christian death every hour”. The link to Fox News Report is below: (https://www.foxnews.com/world/christians-africa-face-worrying-rise-killings-persecution-displacement).

Findings made by Intersociety across Africa have corroboratively shown that Fulani Jihadists and allied others have risen to state power across Africa and secured access to licit and illicit arms and ammunition particularly Small Arms and Light Weapons-SALWs; thereby confirming the recent Fox News Report that: “Christianity is facing deadly crisis and persecution in 28 of Africa’s 54 Countries or Member-States”.

According to a seminal article written by Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD, dated June 29, 2023, “the mass killings, kidnappings for ransom, displacement and occupation of ancestral lands belonging to indigenous Nigerians (on the grounds of religion) are currently being perpetrated by: (1) Muslim Fulani Herdsmen, (2) Muslim Fulani Bandits, (3) Boko Haram, (4) Islamic State of West Africa Province and (5) covert and overt collaborations and conspiracies of the Nigerian Muslim Fulani (religious and political) leaders…”. “Across Africa and in Burkina Faso, a Christian-majority country has just been taken over by a Muslim Head of State amidst heinous activities of Fulani insurgents. Mali is being attacked from one angle by Fulani insurgents. Cote d’Ivoire, a Christian-majority country is under Muslim rule. Guinea-Bissau, a Christian-majority country has been taken over by a Muslim Fulani.

The Gambia, a Fulani-minority country has been taken over by the Fulani. Senegal, a Fulani-minority country has been taken over by Fulani. Sierra Leone, a country without a defined ethnic Fulani territory has a Fulani Vice President. Togo, a country with less than five percent Muslim population is being attacked by Fulani-sponsored insurgents through her border with Burkina Faso. Chad, a country of 52.5% Muslims and 44.4% Christians has become a perpetual Muslim nation and a launch-pad for Islamic conquest of Nigeria. Congo DRC, a country with a negligible three percent Muslim population is being besieged by these Jihadists. Uganda, a nation with a negligible five percent of Muslim population is being attacked by these Muslim insurgents. Mozambique, another country with only four percent Muslim population is equally besieged by these jihadists”. Nwankwo T. Ezeigwe, PhD, continued: “Central African Republic (CAR) was once conquered by a negligible Fulani minority of less than five percent population with the help of Chad and Sudan through their Seleka insurgent group, until the ordinary people—the majority Christian population of the people took up arms through their Anti-Balaka uprising and re-conquered their land from the Fulani invaders. Majority of the Fulani population of Central African Republic was driven out of the country and subsequently settled in refugee camps in Cameroon, Chad, Congo DRC, Republic of Congo, Sudan and, South Sudan”. Same goes for Cameroon, etc. Back home, according to him: “Enugu State, the political Capital of Southeast Igboland has practically been run over by Fulani herdsmen and their bandit kinsmen.

The Enugu-Okigwe axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway has become the den of Fulani kidnappers. (The former Government) of Abia State Government installed them at Umuchieze, Isikwuato with the full protection and connivance of the officers and men of 82 Division of Nigeria Army Headquarters, Enugu. The Nsukka-Ugwuogo Nike-Enugu Road has become a harvest for these Fulani kidnappers. The same applies to Ugwu Abor by Ugwu Onyeama Coal Mine along Enugu to Ngwo axis of Enugu-Expressway; likewise, the Udi Four-Corner (as at late 2022). The large expanse of land running from Ugwu Abo by Ngwo Enugu Expressway to Opi Nsukka has been conquered by these Fulani kidnappers without a single shot being fired (from security agencies). The link to the seminal article of Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD, is below: https://intersociety-ng.org/jihadist-genocide-of-christians-in-nigeria-bloodiest-in-2023-8222-hacked-to-death-from-jan-jan/

For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety)

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist-Researcher

Board Chair @ Intersociety

Chinwe Umeche Esquire

Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program @ Intersociety

Obianuju Igboeli Esquire

Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program @ Intersociety

Ndidiamaka Bernard Esquire

Head, International Justice and Human Rights @Intersociety

Ositadinma Agu

Head, International Contacts and Mobilization @Intersociety

Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire

Head, Campaign and Publicity @ Intersociety

General Contacts:

Phone/WhatsApp: +2348174090052

Email: info@intersociety-ng.org

Website: https://intersociety-ng.org

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