A Nigerian journalist has written a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over human rights abuses, torture and extra-judicial killing perpetrated by members of the Nigeria Army during the recent invasion of a community in the South-East region.
In a letter dated September 24, 2017 addressed to the Chief Prosecutor of the court in the Hagues, Fatou Bensouda and addressed to the Information and Evidence Unit, Mr. Ahaoma Kanu, a multiple award winning journalist, called on the court to intervene and stop the unlawful deployment of soldiers by the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari to civilian communities in Abia State and other South-East region of Nigeria which has led to the torture, molestation, killings and severe abuse of the human rights of these civilians by officers of the Nigeria Army.”
The petition, made available to media, with the subject “PETITION AGAINST THE DEPLOYMENT OF MILITARY PERSONNEL TO THE SOUTH-EAST OF NIGERIA, TORTURE, KILLINGS, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES PERPETRATED BY THE NIGERIA ARMY, THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF, MAJOR-GENERAL TUKUR BURATAI AND THE QUIT NOTICE GIVEN TO IGBOS IN THE NORTHERN STATES BY THE AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM BACKED BY THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE NORTHERN ELDERS FORUM, PROF. ANGO ABDULLAHI,’ condemned the recent decision by the army to Initiate ‘Operation Python Dance’ in the South-East region which led to invasion of the home of the leader of the civil rights group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leading to the killing of some members of the group as well as other members of his community.
Kanu decried the decision by the Federal Government to initiate an attack on a civilian community in a manner that may have opened the door to genocide as has been exhibited by soldiers of the Nigeria Army in times past.
“The Nigeria Army has a very cruel history of gross human rights abuses, torture, brutal killings of citizens of her country over the years; a condemnable characteristic which have escalated since the election of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
The CNN/Multichoice African Journalist award winner enumerated the many occasions members of the Nigeria Army had attacked and killed Nigeria citizens since Gen. Buratai took over as the Chief of Army Staff describing the army under his leadership as having been turned into “a killing machine of a mass order.”
“According to an investigation by the Amnesty International (AI) which analyzed 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eye witness accounts, members of the Nigeria security agencies comprising of the army and the police embarked on a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions which resulted in the death of over 150 deaths of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South-East region of the country with 60 people shoot in a space of two days,” he said.
“In the report entitled “NIGERIA: ‘BULLETS WERE RAINING EVERYWHERE’: DEADLY REPRESSION OF PRO-BIAFRA ACTIVISTS, Amnesty Iinternational (AI) documents the killing orchestrated by members of the Nigeria security agencies. For instance, according to the report, pro-Biafra activists were killed on 30 May 2016, during events to mark the 49th anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, when an estimated 1,000-plus IPOB members and supporters gathered for a rally in Onitsha, Anambra state. The night before the rally, a joint security force task force raided homes and a church where IPOB members were sleeping. Several members of the IPOB were shot in several locations, predominantly in Nkpor, the venue for the gathering, and in Asaba.”
Kanu who is an activist and volunteer for some charities decried the attitude of the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari who he said has shown that he is not only a sectional leader but once who has shown absolute disdain and disenchantment for Igbos from the South-East with the way he has handled security issues challenges in the country.
“There have been incidents of people from the South-South, South-East, and South-West being attacked by Fulani-herdsmen, identified in the Global Terrorism Index as the fourth most deadly terrorist group in the world after Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Shabab. They move into communities unleashing mayhem with automatic rifles with which they sack communities but such criminals and killers are neither arrested nor prosecuted. The Federal Government does not deem it fit to deploy the army to confront these perennial terrorists neither has their activities being seriously checked because they are said to have people in the Buhari government giving them support. The Federal Government led by President Buhati pays little or no attention to this group of terror merchants who have killed over 2000 persons in the North Central, South East and South West of Nigeria,” he said.
Kanu called on the ICC to compel the Federal Government of Nigeria to adequately protect the Igbos in the North as the deadline to the Quit notice given to them to leave the region draws near with escalating news of plans by northern youths to go on with the planned attack.
“On the 19th of August 2017, President Buhari returned back from a 103 days medical trip and some few days later, the Arewa Youths withdrew the quit notice. We are hearing reports of plans to go on with the attack on the Igbos in Northern Nigeria come October 1. The Federal Government has not seriously done anything to adequately protect the Igbos in the North even as the deadline approaches.”
Kanu included in the petition a memory stick which he said contains exclusive videos, pictures and documents which he tendered to the Information and Evidence Unit of the court for their perusal.