We, the Coalition of Southeast Human Rights Organizations, comprising the Anambra State Branch of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum, Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights, Society Advocacy Watch Project, Anambra Human Rights Forum and PADDI Foundation; wish to align ourselves with the earlier statement issued by our leading Coalition Partner (International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law) over the above subject. The statement is reproduced below as follows:
“Our immediate and prompt attention has been drawn to a statement made by the Nigerian Army yesterday in Abuja, in which it issued a stern warning with vivid reference to millions of Nigerian citizens who are peacefully and non violently asserting through non violence and peaceful assembly and association, their regional and international rights to self determination. Such rights are also constitutionally guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution in the form of rights to personal liberty and peaceful assembly as well as rights to freedom of association and movement and they are contained and enshrined in Sections 35, 40 and 41 of the Fundamental Human Rights Charter of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We wish to warn and remind the leadership of the Nigerian Army not to forget that there still exists International Criminal Court and other formidable local and international mechanisms through which its commanding officers found engaged in “brutal suppression or quelling” of ongoing peaceful and non violent protests shall be held accountable for crimes against humanity. Let the Nigerian Army also be reminded that during the recent economic meltdown in USA, some States agitated to secede from the United States, yet they were not tagged “insurrectionists” warranting “military suppression”. Even in the present United Kingdom, Scotland, which agitates for secession has not been militarily crushed. It is unarguably a case of “crimes against humanity” when brute force is deployed to crush a people asserting non-violently for fair belongingness and fortification of their ethnic identity”.
Beyond our alignment and total agreement with the referenced statement above, we wish to further demand for the immediate removal and replacement of the Service Chiefs particularly the Chief of Air Staff and the Chief of Army Staff. Their open threats and comments are attestation of desperation of their Commander-in-Chief to return Nigeria at all costs to closed and riotous society akin to present North Korea and Syria.
Having failed woefully owing to quack and crude military counter measures approaches to tame intractable atrocities of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents and bloody menaces of the Islamic Fulani terror brigade (erroneously called Fulani Herdsmen) despite countless public assurances; all they could now do is to turn their coercive and lethal arsenals against millions of unarmed and non violent self determination activists protesting for the release of their extra judicially detained leader (Citizen Nnamdi Kanu). From every indication, further oiled by the referenced lethal threats, the Service Chiefs have conspired with their Commander-in-Chief to turn Nigeria overnight into a wilderness of brigandage powered by jungle justice; leading to arrest and extra judicial and incommunicado detention of the leader of the unarmed and non violent protesting citizens. We ask the Service Chiefs: can you ever beat a child and ask him or her not to cry?
We had expected the Service Chiefs to advise their Commander-in-Chief who has long lost touch with modern military science and approaches under civilian-democratic processes and get him further acquainted and mentored in clearly defined military roles in democracy (including respect for human rights such as rights to peaceful assembly and association, life, human dignity, personal liberty and movement; as well as crowd control), but we are totally disappointed at the country’s Service Chiefs. Not even their international exposures gotten from their participation in international Peace Operations (peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, conflict resolution, peace building and respect for human rights) have changed or affected their age-long military crudity and barbarism; presently under manifestation.
Lastly, we wish to remind the country’s Service Chiefs and warn them too that they should individually and vicariously be held responsible locally and internationally in the event deaths or injuries arise from their crude and lethal handling (as threatened) of future peaceful and non violent processions or protests in Nigeria or any part thereof. While other countries have advanced in their democratic processes to the extent of establishing liberty or freedom squares where their unarmed and non violent citizens irrespective of their religious, ethnic and other social affiliations usually gather to register their democratic grievances against policies and actions of the governing authorities; Nigerian military is here and busy issuing lethal threats to un-lethal and harmless citizens protesting against the unconstitutional and detention above judicial bail or extra judicial detention of their leader.
We challenge the Nigerian Service Chiefs to make good and practical their panicky and cowardly threats against the unarmed and non violent protesting citizens and get ready to be condemned and rot in jail internationally for the rest of their lives.
For: Coalition of the Southeast based Human Rights Organizations:
1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization
2. Emeka Umeagbalasi (+2348174090052)
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
3. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
4. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)
5. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights
6. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
7. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum
8. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
9. Eze Eluchie, Esq. (+2348175177880)
For: PADDI Foundation