A human rights group, Eastern Nigeria’s Rights & Intelligentsia Coalition, has launched an international justice campaign against immediate past Nigeria’s immediate Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, retired, and other twenty high ranking army and police officers including two sitting state governors. The group seeks their declaration as persona non-gratae anywhere in the world and life jail for atrocities against unarmed Igbos and others. In a joint international statement released on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the executive summary of it said:
”We, the undersigned human rights and intelligentsia coalition of old Eastern Nigeria origin, working toward redressing abuses and violations of human rights of grievous nature as defined by international instruments, have today resolved to launch local and international justice campaigns against the immediate past Nigerian Army Chief, Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai and over 20 others concerning their atrocious rights abuses while in office.
”The referenced international justice campaigns specifically border on justice for the victims of the horrendous rights abuses and violations and the severe punishment of their perpetrators. The chief perpetrator in this regard is immediate past Army Chief, Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Others in the list are senior serving and retired military and police chiefs, as well as the governors of Anambra and Abia States; all numbering over 20.
The coalition alleged secret execution Of Six Igbo Christian Soldiers At Abacha Barracks We have received with rude shock and deepest dismay the Monday, 25th Jan 2021 secret execution of six Igbo Christian soldiers, attached to the Armory Department of the Nigerian Army, Abacha Barracks in Abuja. The slain Igbo Christian soldiers; namely: Prince Ukwuoma, son of a traditional ruler; Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu were secretly executed under the instruction of now Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, a day before he left office on Tuesday, 26th Jan 2021. This shocking news was disclosed to us by Barr E.R. Okoroafor, an int’l human rights lawyer, who is very conversant with the matter and was also contacted by one of the slain soldiers through his family to defend them in the trumped up charges, executed using hazy and clandestine Military Court Martial.
According to them, ”We have received with rude shock and deepest dismay the Monday, 25th Jan 2021 secret execution of six Igbo Christian soldiers, attached to the Armory Department of the Nigerian Army, Abacha Barracks in Abuja. The slain Igbo Christian soldiers; namely: Prince Ukwuoma, son of a traditional ruler; Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu were secretly executed under the instruction of now Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, a day before he left office on Tuesday, 26th Jan 2021.
”This shocking news was disclosed to us by Barr E.R. Okoroafor, an international human rights lawyer, who is very conversant with the matter and was also contacted by one of the slain soldiers through his family to defend them in the trumped up charges, executed using hazy and clandestine Military Court Martial. int’l rights lawyer, “sometime in Sept 2020, an allegation of missing weapons was made at Abacha Barracks and it was immediately traced to a senior Colonel of Fulani-Hausa Muslim origin and instead of the COAS to issue query and sanction the Colonel, he exonerated him on the grounds of his tribe and religion.
The group alleged that the retired COAS turned around and ordered for the arrest of 12 soldiers guarding the armory. Out of the 12 suspected soldiers, six were Igbo, three were and the other last three were Fulani-Hausa Muslim. In the end, the latter soldiers were shielded and exonerated under questionable circumstances and the six Igbo soldiers were made to face secret court martial during which they were blocked and prevented from having access to their families and defense lawyers of their choice.
Going further, the human rights coalition claimed that Barr E.R. Okoroafor also told them that his attempts to stand in for the Igbo soldiers were stiffly opposed and he was flimsily told by the Army’s Legal Department that “civilian lawyers are not allowed to defend the accused soldiers except military lawyers”. Their trial was totally shrouded in secrecy and never disclosed to the public through Army statements till date; likewise their constitutional right of appeal to Court of Appeal and Supreme Court which was also totally denied. The persecuted and executed soldiers protested their innocence to the point of tendering their resignation in protest; all to no avail.
”Apart from their secret execution being totally despicable and condemnable and a clear case of ethnic cleansing, the Coalition also strongly suspects that the six Igbo soldiers were framed or singled out for persecution on the grounds of their ethnicity and religion. It is also doubtful whether the offense of ‘missing weapons’ in peace time is commensurable with death sentence in the Nigerian Military laws, all subject to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Another shocking part was where the immediate past Army Chief derived his power to order for secret execution of “justly” and “unjustly” convicted soldiers. This is more so when there is a national moratorium on death penalty in Nigeria. The Coalition therefore notes further that dozens, if not hundreds of Igbo soldiers have in recent times particularly since 2017/8 died under similar circumstances both in battle fronts and ‘peace time’. Additionally, there have been several reported and unreported cases of dismissals, resignations and desertions involving soldiers and officers of old Eastern Nigeria extraction on account of the ethnic cleansing under Buratai as Nigerian Army Chief.
HUNDREDS OF OBIGBO ARMY ABDUCTEES STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR
According to facts available at Intersociety, hundreds of defenseless Obigbo residents are still missing or unaccounted for more than three months after their abduction by the Nigerian Army under Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (as he then was). A total of over 400 Obigbo residents had gone missing between late October and second week of November 2020 after the Army invasion of Obigbo and its environs on 21st October, 2020; out of which 52 were rescued and freed in Niger State. Total of 93 others have so far been rescued and freed in Abuja. As it stands, 63 more names have been traced to different Army secret detention facilities in Abuja and at least three have been confirmed killed in Army detention among hundreds of those still being held captive and incommunicado in secret military locations..
It is our strong recommendation that the named perpetrators especially Retired Lt Gen Tukur Buratai must face prosecution and life jail at ICC or in national courts in any foreign country operating international criminal jurisdictions on crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We also call for a harvest of civil suits against the perpetrators by human rights lawyers and victims of the horrendous crimes under reference
Members of the international community especially the Western Democracies and the UN as well as international human rights organizations and institutions are particularly called upon to take diplomatic and advocacy notice of the named perpetrators and their atrocities. This is for purpose of holding them judicially accountable and ensuring that they end up being international pariahs.
The International Governments and Intergovernmental agencies should ensure that the perpetrators are declared “persona non gratae” including slamming them with appropriate international sanctions.
Sanctions against them should include making them ineligible in all regional and international military, policing and other security or diplomatic engagements especially those involving corporate and individual or intergovernmental consultancies, contracts, partnerships, exchange visits, awards, presentations, board or institution appointments, holidays, etc.
Other non judicial sanctions being recommended against the perpetrators include denying them and their family members visas, freezing their accounts and seizing or confiscating their assets abroad, etc.
It is also our expert information that the perpetrators especially Lt Gen Tukur Buratai can be arrested and taken into custody in foreign land and criminally charged through the instruments of municipal, active personality, passive personality and universal or international criminal jurisdictions or be sued through the instruments of civil claimant litigations, etc.
END EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
NIGERIA GRIEVOUSLY BREACHES ITS INT’L COMMITMENTS.
The Nigerian Government is a monumental failure in terms of keeping with its regional and international human rights and humanitarian obligations or commitments. The grievous rights abuses and violations by the Government and its security chiefs include those provided and clearly defined in various international instruments with ‘justiciable binding effects’. Among them are crimes of genocide defined by the Article 6 of the Rome Statute; crimes against humanity defined by the Article 7 and war crimes defined by the Article 8 of the same Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute was internationally enacted in 1998 and entered into force in 2001. Nigeria signed and ratified it on 27th Sept 2001.
Nigeria is also signatory to the Genocide Convention of 1948, Geneva Conventions or Laws of War of 1949 and its Protocols and Rules of Engagement (Jus In Bellum, Jus Ad Bellum and Jus Post Bellum) and Use of Force and Proportionality of same. Signed and ratified by Nigeria, too, with binding effects are the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (including Right to Self Determination via non armed resistance) of 1981; Int’l Covenants on Civil & Political Rights and Economic, Social & Cultural Rights of 1976; Convention against Enforced Disappearances of 2009 and Convention against Torture of 1985. These sets of int’l crimes are also prohibited by the country’s grundnorm or the 1999 Constitution; majorly categorized by the country’s body of criminal laws into: ‘crimes against persons’ and ‘crimes against properties’.
International Prohibited Acts: These include: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, unlawful imprisonment, unlawful killings, unlawful executions, abduction of slain victims’ bodies, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, torture, persecution against an identifiable group on the grounds of tribe/ethnicity and religion, enforced disappearance of persons, the crime of apartheid and other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
19 MASSACRES PERPETRATED BY NIGERIAN ARMY UNDER BURATAI AND OTHERS
Not only that many, if not most of the heinous crimes highlighted above were grisly perpetrated in Nigeria when Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai held sway as the country’s Army Chief, but there was also zero accountability as they were swept under the carpet till date by the authorities; thereby breaching the Rome Statute’s ‘Principle of Complimentarity & Zero Impunity’. Under Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai as Nigeria’s Army Chief, according to grounded statistics provided by the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law; a highly respected research and investigative advocacy group monitoring the grievous crimes and their perpetrators since 2015; the following 19 massacres and related others have taken place with none of the perpetrators brought to justice till date.
They include: (1) the 30th August 2015 massacre of 40 defenseless citizens of Judeo-Christian faith during peaceful protests in Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Asaba; (2) 2nd and 17th Dec 2015 massacre of 30 defenseless citizens of same faith in Onitsha; and (3) 14th-15th Dec 2015 massacre of no fewer than 1000 unarmed Shiite Muslims during their religious processions in Zaria (Government later admitted massacring 348); (4) 18th and 29th Jan 2016 massacre of 20 defenseless citizens of Judeo-Christian faith 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 of Judeo-Christian faith during global Igbo Heroes Day in Onitsha and Nkpor (110 deaths) and Asaba (30 deaths).
(7) the 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 persons (IDPs) at Christian IDP camp in Kala-Balge, Borno State; (9) 20th Jan 2017 massacre of 20 unarmed protesters (pro-Trump rally) in Port Harcourt; (10) 4th Dec 2017 massacre (air bombing) of 50 rural Christians in Numan, Adamawa State; and (11) 11th to 14th Sept 2017 massacre of over 180 unarmed and defenseless citizens of Judeo-Christians faith in Ogwe, Aba, Isiala-Ngwa and Umuahia, all in Abia State.
The rest are: (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 over 30 Judeo-Christian worshippers and sports activists in Emene, Enugu State; (15) 20th night of Oct 2020 massacre of over 20 defenseless protesters in Lekki, Lagos State; (16) Oct 2020 massacre by Army/Police of over 300 unarmed citizens across Nigeria during the EndSARS protests including over 70 killed in Lagos and 50 killed in the Southeast.
(17) Oct/Nov 2020 massacre by Army of not some 102 defenseless Igbo citizens in Obigbo, Rivers State, (18) abduction between 22nd Oct and 10th Nov 2020 of over 400 defenseless Obigbo residents in Rivers State and their clustered incommunicado detention in different military dungeons in Northern Nigeria, during which scores were tortured or shot dead in captivity; and (19) Jan 2021 killings by Nigerian Army in Orlu, Imo State where about defenseless residents of the area have so far been reported killed. The Orlu Army killings is led by a Fulani-Hausa Muslim Army commander, named ‘Brig Gen Ibrahim Tukura’, Commandant, 34 Brigade, Obinze, near Owerri, Imo State.
OTHER LEADING PERPETRATORS IN THE 19 MASSACRES.
(1)Retired Lt Gen Abayomi Olanisakin, former Chief of Defense Staff (co-supervised the Sept 2017 massacre of over 180 defenseless Southeasterners and maiming of over 130 others in Abia and killing of not less than 102 Obigbo residents, maiming of 120 others and abduction of over 400), (2) Retired Air Chief Marshall Sadique Abubakar (supervised the air bombing of not less than 300 Christians in Jan and Dec 2017 in Borno and Adamawa States), (3) Major Gen Ibrahim Attahiru (new Army Chief of Staff and coordinator of the massacre of 216 defenseless Easterners in 2015/6 in Anambra and Abia States).
(4) Retired IGP Solomon Arase and Retired IGP Ibrahim Kpotum Idris (co-supervised the massacre of over 400 defenseless Easterners on 30th August, 2nd and 17th Dec 2015, 18th and 29th Jan, 9th Feb and 29th and 30th May 2016 in Anambra and Abia and 20th Jan and 11th-14th Sept 2017 in Abia and Rivers States), (5) Retired Director Musa Daura (former DG, SSS and state intelligence provider in referenced massacres that took place in 2015, 2016 and 2017) and (6) Major Gen Adamu Baba Abubakar, (former GOC, 82 Division, Enugu and coordinator of the massacre of over 180 defenseless Easterners in Sept 2017), (7) Major Gen Lasisi Adegboye (current GOC, 82 Division, Enugu and formerly a principal staff officer of the Division and co-coordinator of the massacre of over 180 defenseless Easterners in Abia State in Sept 2017).
The rest are: (8) Major Gen Abdul Kalifa Ibrahim (former Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia and co-coordinator of the massacre in Sept 2017), (9) Major Gen John Enenche (former Defense Headquarters Spokesman and co-supervisor of the massacre of 180 defenseless Easterners in Sept 2017), (10) Brig Gen Isa Maigari Abdullahi (former Commandant of 302 Artillery, Onitsha and coordinator of the 2nd and 17th Dec 2015 and 29th and 30th May 2016 massacre of over 180 defenseless Easterners in Anambra and Delta States, (11) Retired DIG Jabila Joshak (9th Feb 2016 Aba massacre), (12) Retired AIG Hosea Karma (2016 World Igbo Day massacre in Anambra and Delta), (13) Retired DIG Anthony Ogbizi (Sept 2017 massacre in Aba, Umuahia, etc).
(14) AIG Babatunde Johnson Kokumo (2016 World Igbo Heroes Day massacre in Anambra), (15) Major Gen I.H. Bature (Sept 2017 massacre in Aba, Umuahia, etc), (16) Major Gen Enobong Okon Udo(supervisor of 20th Jan 2017 pro Trump rally killing of 20 defenseless citizens in Port Harcourt, Rivers State), (17) Brig Gen Sagir Musa (co-supervisor in the killings of Dec 2015 to Sept 2017 in Anambra and Abia), (18) Col Umar Sidi Kasim (Commanding Officer, 144 Battalion, Asa in Abia State and coordinator of the 9th Feb 2016 and Sept 2017 massacres in Aba, Umuahia, etc), (19) Col C.O. Ibrahim (Onitsha Cantonment Military Police Officer and troop commander of the 29th and 30th May 2016 World Igbo Heroes Day massacre in Anambra and Delta), (20) Govs William Obiano and (21) Victor Ikpeazu of Anambra and Abia States (mobilized and funded the 2016 World Igbo Heroes Day massacre in Anambra and the 9th Feb 2016 and Sept 2017 massacres in Aba, Umuahia and others), etc. The office immunities of the two Govs will elapse on 17th March 2022 and 29th May 2023 respectively.
Attached Photos belong to four of the six slain Igbo Christian soldiers; namely: (1) Prince Ukwuoma (in Army uniform with rifle), (2) Ebube Isaiah (in Army uniform with rifle), (3) Moses Anyim (in civilian cap) and (4) Godwin Uchendu (in passport)
The following people are the signatories:
Emeka Umeagbalasi (M.Sc.), Board Chair, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Prof Anthony Ejiofor-Chairman, World Igbo Congress (USA)
Prof Uzodimma Nwala-President, Ala-Igbo Dev Foundation (ADF)
Prof Justice Chidi-President, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative
Prof Justin Akujieze-President, Ekwenche Research Institute (USA)
Dr. Moses Nwaigwe-President, Biafra Genocide Survivors Group (USA)
Austin Okeke, Esq.-Global Leader, Igbo Board of Deputies (UK)
Kanayo K. Odeluga, MD., MPH-Executive Director, Igbo League, Inc.(USA)
Mercy Alu, MBA, PhD-Executive Coordinator, the Int’l Association of African Authors & Scholars (USA)
Dr. Onyenkachi Orjiako, Esq.-Rep, Int’l Society for War Against Lawlessness (USA)
Dr. Okezie Kelechi-ED, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation
Dr. Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro-Rep, Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative
Comrades Chilos Godsent & Zulu Ofoelue-Reps, Igbo National Council
Ezekwike Chekwube Violet, Esq.-Founder, New Home Mentoring & Dev Initiative
Comrade Aloysius Attah-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Comrade Justine Ijeomah-ED, Human Rights Social Dev & Environmental Foundation(HURSDEF)
Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State
Comrade Peter Onyegiri-ED, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
Comrade Alex Olisa-Rep, Southeast Good Governance Forum
Comrade Nnana Nelson Nwafor-ED, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev.;
Comrade Nkwocha Anozie-ED, Initiative for Ideal Dev & Emancipatory Leadership;
Comrade Emeku Uche-Rep, Easy-life Initiative for Rural Youths;
Comrade Samuel Njoku-Chair, Human Rights Organization of Nigeria;
Comrade Ngwobia O. Ngwobia-Rep Primate Salvation Initiative; and
Nze UgoAkpe Onwuka (Oyi)-National Coordinator, Igbo Renaissance Forum