“I maintain that protest is an important democratic component of freedom of expression and freedom to assemble. Protest is an inalienable right of the human person. It starts from the womb. Babies kick inside the womb thereby expressing the desire to come out: inherent sense of liberty. When babies are delivered, they come out crying. This is as a result of the new environment. This is life! The Federal Government should prosecute all security personnel involved in the recent killing of protesters and reckless shooting of the protesters (in Onitsha). Let the protesters that come in conflict with the law, for example, if any loots, be dealt with under the due process (of) law; not killing. The criminal intention of the security personnel becomes obvious when the protesters are not armed and are non-violent. Some security personnel kill on ground of hate camouflaged as threat to security. This is one important reason the Federal Government should always make security personnel account for killing of protesters, regardless of the cause. You don't kill a fellow citizen who is not armed for expressing himself or herself”. (Uche Wisdom Durueke, Esq., President Civil Liberties Organization, Nigeria (December 4th 2015).
The leaderships of the Southeast based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations, under the coordination of Intersociety; comprising the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), the Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club(HRC) (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights (FEJDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), the International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (INTERSOLIDARITY), the Street Law Africa (LawAfrica) and the Igbo Ekunie Initiative (IEI) (a regional rights campaigner) are in possession of more facts and pieces of pictorial evidence exposing the dastardly roles of the Nigeria Police Force and the military in the last Wednesday‘s mass shooting, maiming and killing of innocent and unarmed protesters/picketers in Onitsha during a peaceful protest/procession/picketing held by the leaderships of the IPOB and a splinter body of MASSOB for the purpose of peacefully pressurizing the Buhari administration to unconditionally free Citizen Nnamdi Kanu, who has been presidentially detained in solitary confinement since 14th of October 2015.
The official brains behind the mass shooting and killing are the trio of IGP Solomon Arase, COAS Tukur Buratai and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State. Apart from being vicariously liable, they are also personally culpable by virtue of their orders for maximum or deadly force to be used to quell the pro Nnamdi Kanu and Southeast political self determination protests; as contained in the COAS order of November 12, 2015 and the IGP’s order of December 1, 2015. Governor Willie Obiano’s official and personal culpability stems from his roles as the creator and general overseer of the Joint Security Taskforce (the lead-perpetrator) as well as the Chief Security Officer of Anambra State. These were reinforced by his late night broadcast to the State on 2nd December 2015 following the murderous handling of the peaceful protest by the named official establishments. While the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) had in the course of issuance of his use of deadly force order; described the protesters as insurrectionists (taking up arms against Nigeria); IGP Solomon Arase on his part ordered his sub commanders to maximally apply their coercive powers to quell the protests. He specifically directed AIGs in charge of Zone 5, Benin; Zone 6, Calabar and Zone 9 Umuahia as well as all Commissioners of Police in the affected States to henceforth “maximally exercise their statutory mandate in preventing any gathering that threatened public order and national cohesion”. It is therefore on the basis of these lethal orders and conducts of the three official entities that the mass shooting and killings of the unarmed and defenseless protesters were maximally carried out by their sub commanders and subordinates.
More Facts On How Police, Navy & Army Opened Fire On Unarmed Protesters: Contrary to erroneous impression created by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase and the Government of Anambra State to the effect that what led to forceful and bloody dispersal of the protesters at the Onitsha Bridgehead end of the Ojukwu Gateway was total blockage of the Niger Bridgehead and its Onitsha-Asaba Expressway by the protesters; facts on the ground clearly showed that it was the soldiers that actually blocked the Asaba end of the Niger Bridge for the purpose of preventing the peaceful protesters from moving into Asaba, the capital of Delta State. Further facts also indicated that the protesters had carefully planned their protests and processions moving from Upper Iweka to the Niger Bridge, back and forth; forming elbow walls and occupying one lane, leaving the other lane for motorists and other road users. Their attempts to extend the peaceful processions to Asaba Old Toll Gate and returning to the Niger Bridgehead for picketing/vigil were denied by soldiers who completely blocked the Asaba end of the Bridge, causing long and excruciating traffic jams from the evening of Tuesday, 1st December 2015 to the noon of Wednesday 2nd December 2015. The picketing/vigil was also carefully planned and organized to be held off the two main lanes of the Expressway and restricted to its service lanes and adjoining open spaces.
Shooting Of Onlookers & Passerby By Navy Personnel At Uga Junction: Further detailed disclosure of how Governor Obiano’s Joint Security Taskforce turned the picketing/procession arenas in Onitsha into a war field has emerged. That of Uga Junction involving personnel of the Ogbaru Post of the Nigerian Navy was an eyesore and shocking. The shoot-at-sight orders of the headships of Police and Military were maximally applied in the instant case when the Navy personnel opened fire on unarmed and innocent onlookers and passerby, hitting and critically injuring at least six persons. The shooting erupted when the Navy personnel opened fire on one of the protesters said to possess traditional anti bullet charms. Unable to shoot and kill him, the shooting attracted a crowd of passersby and onlookers who reportedly cheered the magical protester. In returning, the Navy personnel opened fire on them, shooting them at closed ranging leading to unfortunate ones being hit and critically injured by fired live bullets. One of the shot and critically injured victims was a female youth corps member.
Best Aluminum Industry’s Shooting & Vandalism: The incident took place in the evening of Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 along Anyika Street in Awada Layout near Onitsha. There, one of the Mobile Police Personnel attached to the Managing Director of the Firm, recklessly opened fire and shot indiscriminately leading to gunning down of one of the retreating protesters. On sighting the shot protester, the culprit police officer took to his heels, leading to mob invasion of the Firm and subsequent vandalization of the Firm’s premises. The Firm’s Managing Director was miraculously spared and escaped lynching by the retreating angry protesters.
From the three accounts above, in addition to those contained in our earlier joint statement of 3rd December 2015, it has been indisputably and empirically established that the organization and management of the protest/procession/picketing was totally non violent, peaceful and substantially hitch free and that elements of violence accompanying it leading to killing of over thirteen (13) unarmed protesters and critically injuring of over 24 others; was solely caused by the trio of IGP Solomon Arase, COAS Tukur Buratai and Governor Willie Obiano; who collectively and individually ordered violent disruption of the peaceful protest/procession and bloody dispersal of the protesters. That is to say that the procession, protest and picketing would have started and ended peacefully but for State highhandedness leading to commission of State murder and mutilation of the unarmed, non violent and innocent citizens.
Pictorial Evidence of the Murdered and the Injured Protesters: Contrary to brazen denial and spinning of the casualties associated with the killings by the authorities of the country’s security forces led by the Nigeria Police Forces, we are now in possession of more pieces of pictorial evidence of those killed and injured in the Onitsha protests of 2nd December 2015. There are at least 24 shot and critically injured victims of the protests as well as over thirteen (13) dead victims. The shot and critically injured victims who spoke in a video clip attached below over their lethal ordeal at the hands of the security forces; include Citizens Chidiebere Nnaji (Enugu State) and Felix Ndianefo and Ikechukwu Okafor (Anambra State). The names of some of the dead victims are Miss Anthonia Nkiruka Ikeanyionwu (Anambra State), Kenneth Ogadinma (Abia State), Chima Onoh (Enugu State), Angus Chikwado (Anambra State) and Miss Felicia Egwuatu (Anambra State). There are other killings in Idemili and Onitsha and their environs in late evening of the Black or Murderous Wednesday (December 2nd, 2015). The pictorial evidence and video clip are attached below.
Finally, the release of pieces of pictorial evidence under reference is not only to shame those making futile attempts to deny any official culpability and mangle the casualty figures in the callous and murderous act under reference but also to send a strong message to the duo of IGP Solomon Arase and COAS Tukur Buratai as well as Governor Willie Obiano that there is no hiding place for those who shed the blood of innocent citizens outside the law for the purpose of consolidating or furthering their political interests such as seeking and receiving presidential attention. The perpetrators of the Black Wednesday in Onitsha, Anambra State who spilled the blood of the unarmed and defenseless citizens to be presidentially recognized and compensated must be made to face the wrath of the law and morally nationally and internationally. It is extremely important to remind that President comes and goes; IGPship, COAShip and Governorship also come and go; but perpetrators and committers of State Murder will never go unpunished no matter how long it takes. They must be reminded firmly that State murder and torture are never statute barred and morally expiring.
For: Coalition of Southeast Based Human Rights Organizations (CSBHROs):
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi (+23474090052 (office)
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)
3. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
4. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC)
5. Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq.(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR)
6. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW)
7. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF)
8. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF)
9. Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY)
10. Evlyn Chinwe Eze, Esq. (+2347019646494)
For: Street Law Africa (LawAfrica)
11. Tochukwu Ezeoke(+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (a regional rights campaigner)