This month marks the 68th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as set aside by the United Nations. Originally, 10th of December of every year is set aside globally as a UDHR Day. The UDHR is a bill of rights for all mankind, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 10th of December 1948 and designed for current world population of over seven billion people and their institutions and 193-member States of the UN as well as some 45 local and international trusteeship and occupied territories around the world.
This year’s UDHR event taking place here is unique in that it is the first time the SBCHROs under the coordination of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, is marking it with a press briefing for the purpose of presenting to all Nigerians and members of the international community the state of unlawful or criminal killings in Nigeria since the country returned to civil rule in June 1999; with the bulk of research and information concerning this coming from Intersociety. We are deeply grateful to Intersociety for allowing us to tap and share with it its rich facts and information resource.
As a matter of fact, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, Nigeria’s human rights records have soured and deteriorated steadily over the years, earning their worse status under the present Buhari Administration. Below is the apt summary of the Nigeria’s human rights problems, according to the US Department of State Reports on the State of Human Rights in Nigeria including its reports of 2009 and 2015:
“Deplorable human rights in Nigeria included the abridgement of citizens’ right to change their government; politically motivated and extra-judicial killings by security forces, including summary executions, vigilante killings, abductions by militant groups, torture, rape and other cruel, in-human or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and criminal suspects; hash and life-threatening detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and prolonged pre-trial detention, denial of fair public trial, executive influence on judiciary and judicial corruption; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption and impunity; domestic violence and discrimination against women; the killing of women suspected of witchcraft; female genital mutilation; child abuse and child sexual exploitation; societal violence; ethnic regional and religious discrimination, trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and child labour”.
In the consideration of the patterns and trends of these rights abuses, it is found that their perpetration comes from State and non State actors. While rights abuses such as political assassination and election killings have recorded a decrease since 2011, State actor heinous rights abuses like State murders or killings have gone spiral from their lower ebb between June 2007 and June 2015.
The high political terror, militarization and militarism policies of the Buhari Administration have also led to emergence of at least 18 armed opposition groups and upsurge in the inflow of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) in non State actor hands; rising to all time high of 5million in 2016 on average of a SALW per 40 citizens (Intersociety 2016).
101, 500 Killed Outside The Law In 17yrs: Killing outside the law is the act of taking a citizen’s life using processes and procedures not recognized by law (i.e. 1999 Constitution, regional and international rights conventions and laws) and it includes citizens taking into detention custodies alive but killed while being held, road killings associated with extortion and minor infractions, killing of unarmed and defenceless citizens engaging in church vigil and streets protest and processions; election day killings, military invasion and massacre of unarmed and defenceless villagers; raiding and killing by security forces of unarmed and defenceless citizens in their homes, churches, mosques and markets; any form of killing of civilians or non combatants by armed opposition groups in war and peace times; killings arising from inter-communal and religious violence particularly as they concern uninvolved or innocent and defenceless citizens; and culpable or inexcusable homicides.
Earlier Statistics: On 11th of December 2011, our coordinating partner-Intersociety found in its report (Nigeria In A State Of War: How 54,000 Citizens Were Killed Outside The Law Since 1999); drawn from its extensive investigation and other open and closed sources that not less than 54,000 Nigerian citizens were killed outside the law between June 1999 and December 2011. The breakdown showed that vigilante killings accounted for not less than 11,500 deaths between 1998 and 2002; including not less than 5,000 in Anambra State and 3500 in Abia State via OTA and Bakassi Boys and 1500 in Lagos via O’odua People’s Vigilante Group as well as 3500 similar deaths recorded between 2002 and 2011 in the hands of thousands of butchery vigilante groups particularly in the Southeast Zone.
The Odi and Zakibiam military pogroms of 1999 and 2001 accounted for not less than 3500; Ethno-Religious and Sectarian butcheries 16,000; Boko Haram 3000; election killings 2000; Inter-Communal killings 300; political assassination 220; and police custodial killings 17,000; totalling 54,000-57,000 deaths in 12 years or since 1999. In the report then, domestic homicides and killings by Fulani Terrorist group were not captured. In Intersociety’s recent updates, domestic and street homicides by common violent citizens are not included.
The findings of December 2011 under reference heavily relied on unofficial or independent sources with few corroborative facts from official sources. Independent sources used included reports of local and international rights investigative and research organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, NOPRIN, OSIWA and the US Department of State on Human Rights; as well as reports of leading local and international media organizations.
It is on incontestable record that official crime statistics in Nigeria are not only unreliable but also scanty. They are also bedevilled with dark figures of crime syndrome (i.e. a large percentage of crimes so committed are either not recorded or suppressed by official crimes recording institutions).For full details of the report by Intersociety, see the link below: http://saharareporters.com/2011/12/11/nigeria-state-war-how-over-54000-nigerians-died-outside-law-1999.
The Alarming Increase In Criminal Deaths (101,500): 1999-2016: The updates done by Intersociety clearly show that deaths arising from killing outside the law have gone spiral and surged, hitting over 101,500 between June 1999 and December 2016. From over 54,000 deaths in December 2011, it further shows that over 47,500 unarmed citizens were killed in five years, between December 2011 and December 2016; out of which over 9,700 criminal deaths took place in seventeen months of the Buhari Administration or since June 2015.
The total criminal deaths hit 101,500 in seventeen years and 47,500 in five years of 2011-2016 following addition of about 8000 criminal deaths or civilian detainees’ custodial deaths which Amnesty International (AI) in its report of 2015 linked to the Nigerian Army in the course of its counter insurgency operations in the northeast Nigeria. The AI had in 2015 found that the Nigerian military had executed at least 1,200 men and boys between 2012 and 2014 and was responsible for the deaths in custody of another 7,000.
1. Over 101,500 criminal deaths in seventeen years or since 1999, on average of 5,970 for each of the seventeen past years
2. Over 54,000 criminal deaths as at December 2011 on average of 4500 for each of those past twelve years as at December 2011
3. Over 47,500 additional criminal deaths in five years or since January 2012, on average of 9,500 for each of the five years
4. Boko Haram accounted for not less than 17,000 criminal deaths in five years or since December 2011 on average of 3400 for each of the five years.
5. Custodial deaths or deaths in detention custodies mostly perpetrated by Police SARS, SCIDs and Army (during counter insurgency operations) accounted for not less than 21,500 in five years or since 2011 on average of 4300 for each of the five years and 350 monthly.
6. Over 6000 killed by Fulani Terrorists in five years or since 2011 on average of 1200 for each of the five years.
7. A variant of Fulani Terrorists accounted for at least 600 deaths in Zamfara State as at 2015.
8. Boko Haram killed not less than 2500 in seventeen months of the Buhari Administration on average of 147 for each of the seventeen months.
9. Fulani Terrorists killed not less than 1700 under seventeen months of the Buhari Administration on average of 100 for each of the seventeen months.
10. Over 4000 custodial deaths (Police SARS and SCIDs-3500; Army and others-500) occurred under the Buhari Administration on average of 235 for each of the seventeen months.
11. Over 1500 State murders mostly perpetrated by the Nigerian Army occurred under seventeen months of the Buhari Administration including over 1120 Shiite deaths and 250 Pro Biafra activists’ deaths on average of 88 for each of the seventeen months.
12. Over 700 cases of attempted murder representing IMN and IPOB members shot and terminally injured courtesy of the Nigerian Army.
13. Over 9700 criminal deaths recorded in seventeen months of the Buhari Administration on average of 570 for each of the seventeen months
14. Criminal deaths arising from inter-communal violence, election killings and dark figures of crime accounted for not less than 1000 since January 2012; bringing the grand total to 101,500 criminal deaths in the past seventeen years of 1999 to 2016 or 47,500 in the past five years of 2011 to 2016.
Exceptions: The criminal deaths above did not include those arising from road or aviation or marine or rail accidents; domestic homicides; street violent crimes’ generated homicides; recession and starvation generated deaths (i.e. deaths in IDPs’ camps) and battle-fields related deaths (i.e. fatal clashes between security forces and Boko Haram or Niger Delta Avengers). Though they are unnatural deaths but Intersociety’s findings are strictly based on inexcusable criminal deaths or killings.
Besides, domestic and street violent crimes’ generated deaths are supposed to be featured periodically in the Nigeria Police annual or bi-annual crime statistics reports (if any); likewise road accident deaths reports by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
It is also important to add that Nigeria Police Force is locally and internationally notorious for pre-trial or custodial killings of detained citizens. It is so bad that even citizens who refuse or delay in parting with police personnel on the road are randomly shot and sent to their early graves. Citizens arrested and detained for minor misdemeanours and simple offences are also routinely tortured and sometimes killed in custody following their refusal or inability to pay huge “bail fees”.
For those arrested non-violently or who are not armed and violent during their arrest for violent crimes and detention in custody, they have automatically signed “their death warrant”. Torture and other degrading treatments are also a routine. Police custodial killings usually take place at night. All regular police stations in Nigeria apply physical or psychological torture on their detainees. The departments of the Nigeria Police Force deadly responsible for custodial killings are the Special Anti Robbery Squads (SARS); followed by the State Criminal Investigation Departments (SCIDs) and FCID.
There exist 37 State and FCT Police SARS departments across Nigeria, in addition to SARS departments in all the 12 Police Zonal Commands and the Force Headquarters at Abuja. The same number of SCIDs also exists. In processing their detained suspects, they hardly use mental and ICT investigative policing expertise or handling styles. Pre-arrest and detention data mining is near zero and investigative corruption including demand and forceful collection of huge “bail fees” are also commonplace. Where detained suspects cannot afford to “buy back their lives” or get themselves exonerated through huge “bail fees”; they get executed usually at late night.
Modern intelligence policing is near dead in the Nigeria Police Force. As result, average of 200 citizens are killed monthly in custody mostly by Police SARS; followed by SCIDs; on average of six citizens per State in every month. Army, DSS and other security forces are not exempted particularly during counter-insurgency operations. They also kill those arrested and taken into their custodies.
Authorities: The Intersociety’s report of 2011(Nigeria In A State Of War: How 54,000 Citizens Were Killed Outside The Law Since 1999) and its various publications of 2015 and 2016 are our lead-guide. Findings made by Intersociety in its recent updates are majorly derived from the Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace 2013, 2014 and 2015 Editions; the Premium Times of 10th of August 2016; the Core TV News of 22nd November 2016; and the Lists of Global Terrorist Incidents of the Wikipedia 2015.
Other are the Criminal Force by OSIWA and NOPRIN 2010, Amnesty International Reports of 2009 (Rest in Pieces) and 2015, Human Rights Watch Reports of 2005 and 2007 (i.e. Killing At Will), Legal Defence & Aid Project (LEDAP) Report of 2004, the US Department of State Reports on Human Rights of 2009 and 2015, newest Amnesty International Report: October 2016; Nigeria: Bullets Were Raining Everywhere; the Religion of Peace Organization Report of 2016, the (Christian) Open Doors Report of 2015, the Ripples Nigeria’s publication of 2016, the ECWA Church Press Conference of 2016, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN)’s statements of 2015 and 2016, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) World Wide information of 2015 and 2016, the CNN, BBC, AFP and AP news reports of 2014, 2015 and 2016, etc. We are deeply grateful to these lead-research, news and nonviolent socio-religious bodies.
Statistical Instances: In its 2014 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) Report, the Institute for Economics and Peace found that terrorist attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani Janjaweed resulted in 7530 deaths; thereby making 2014 the deadliest year for Nigeria in terror attacks. In the same 2014, the GTI also found that the Fulani Janjaweed killed 1229 unarmed citizens in Nigeria who were mostly rural Christians. The Terror Group also killed 621 defenceless citizens in first six months of 2015. Over 2000 deaths were recorded in 2013 courtesies of Boko Haram and Fulani Janjaweed. In 2015, a total of 4940 deaths were recorded in Nigeria in the hands of Boko Haram and Fulani Janjaweed (GTI 2016).
The Premium Times of 10th August 2016 further reported that 1269 defenceless citizens were killed by the Fulani Janjaweed in Benue State alone between 2013 and March 2016. In six months of 2016 alone, a total of 140 Christians were killed in Southern Kaduna by Fulani Terrorists according to the leadership of ECWA Church and in the same 2016, a total of 350 rural Christian famers were killed in Agatu in Benue State and Nimbo in Enugu State. Hundreds of others were also killed by the terror nomad group in various parts of the country including Plateau and Nasarawa States. Just on Friday, 9th of December 2016, Boko Haram struck in Adamawa State, killing at least 56 defenceless citizens.
To Christian Open Doors, 13,000 Churches, 1500 Christian Schools and 11,500 Christian lives were lost to Boko Haram terrorists in the north since 2000. Updates made by other research groups clearly showed that the number of defenceless Christians killed in Nigeria since then is over 13,000. The Religion of Peace Organization in its list of Islamic terror attacks on Christians also documented loss of 3,572 Christian lives between 2014 and a part of 2016 with 2,528 documented in 2014 alone. According to the Core TV news of 22nd November 2016, a total of 155 defenceless citizens were killed in less than a month in late 2016 and 50 others abducted in Maru, Shinkafi, Maradum and Zurmi Local Government Areas of Zamfara State by a variant Fulani Terrorists called “Bandits”. Another 200 defenceless citizens were also butchered in a 2015 shooting spree according to the GTI Report of 2015, released in the last quarter of 2016.
The emergence of the Buhari Administration in late May 2015 also led to spiral increase in State murders and terrorism. The Buhari Administration’s high political terror, militarization and militarism policies also led to multiplication of the country’s number of armed opposition groups; from about two before June 2015 to at least 18-20 in late 2016 with attendant increase in the inflow of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) to about 5million on average of about a SALW for every forty Nigerians.
To Buhari Administration’s disastrous record, the Shiite Muslim Movement (IMN) lost over 1120 of its defenceless and unarmed members including 1000 lost on 12th and 14th December 2015 massacre, over 30 lost on 7th of October 2016 and over 80 lost on 14th of November 2016. In the November 14, 2016 massacre, the IMN recovered only eight bodies and later discovered 34 mass graves in a certain location in Kano State, possibly containing two or more bodies in each of the 34 graves. Over 400 of its members are also victims of attempted murder. The IPOB and its supporters lost over 250 of its members and supporters on 30th of August and December 2 and 17 2015 as well as 18th January, 29th January, 9th February and 29th and 30th May 2016. Over 300 of its members are also victims of attempted murder. The 180 other slain members of the IMN and the IPOB technically represent dark figures of crime or unrecorded killings.
Regime Irresponsibility And Failures: According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index 2016, “99.5% of terrorism occurs in countries in conflict or with high political terror” and that “over 73,000 terror attacks across the world had killed 170,000 between 2000 and 2015”. Circumstances leading to the criminal death of over 101,500 Nigerians in the past seventeen years of 1999 to 2016 or over 47,500 in the past five years of 2011 to 2016 are solely caused by political class in furtherance of their thirst for political primordialism and intensification of ethno-religious divisions and cleansing. Resort to militancy and blood to get to Nigeria’s Presidency is now a commonplace. The Niger Delta politicians used it through Niger Delta militancy to ascend to the Presidency of Nigeria and the northern political hardliners used same through sponsorship of Boko Haram to assume the new mantle of Nigerian Presidency in late May 2015. The decline in Boko Haram terror attacks is largely and empirically attributed to this fact, and not claims of “military successes”.
It saddens our heart that the likes of Governor Nasiru el-Rufai of Kaduna State has graduated fully into an Islamic Fundamentalist Governor. He has abandoned the conventional art of governance to play the ignoble role of radical Islamic cleric. The Governor should be impeached over his complicity in the killing of Shiite Muslims and Southern Kaduna Christians.
The criminal killing of 101,500 defenceless Nigerians happened on account of regime irresponsibility and failures; to the extent that guns and bullets are everywhere, yet insecurity pervades the Nigerian landscape. The age-long structural and physical violence targeted at the Igbo Race has spiralled and got intensified under Buhari Administration.
Till date, most if not all the State and non State actor perpetrators of the referenced heinous killings are on the prowl. If a whopping number of 47,500 defenceless citizens could be killed in just five years or from 2011 to 2016 and nothing is concretely done about it till date; then Nigeria is at crossroads and doomed as well. Every nook and cranny of Nigeria’s exit and entry point particularly roads, borders, airports and marine routes are flooded with armed security personnel, yet the percentage of real security for Nigerian citizens is at its lowest ebb.
Take the case of Fulani Janjaweed, for instance, its umbrella registered body, the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria is still retained and recognized by the Federal Government under its Corporate Affairs Commission as a registered body, despite being a violent organization and armed opposition group. Till date, its leaders and board members have not been arrested and charged for manslaughter for killing of thousands of innocent and defenceless citizens; in accordance with the country’s extant criminal laws.
The killer-elements within the armed opposition group are still on rampage and on the prowl, defying State sanctions including prosecution for murder or culpable homicide. In all these, the Buhari Administration has steadily and dangerously kept mute, aiding and abetting the butcheries; yet 1500 unarmed and defenceless citizens including members and supporters of IPOB and IMN who never used or advocated violence have been rounded up and massacred by soldiers, police and navy with reckless abandon.
Three Igbo Distinguished Personalities of The Year 2016: 1. Nnamdi Kanu: In addition to renewal of the prestigious Prisoner-of-Conscience Award, bestowed on Mr. Nnamdi Kanu who is leader of Radio Biafra London (RBL) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) World Wide, earlier this year; we have again resolved to name him as one of the Three Igbo Distinguished Personalities of the Year 2016. These are in recognition of his nonviolent and peaceful campaign for the emancipation of the Igbo Race using nonviolent and peaceful means.
Against all odds, he has spent 14 months in detention without trial and his group IPOB has lost over 250 of its members and supporters to the militarist Administration of Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Over 150 of his members are presently languishing in various prisons and other detention centres including DSS dungeons across the country on trumped up criminal accusations. More than 300 of his members and supporters were also deadly shot and battered. The most striking aspect of Kanu’s advocacy style that gladdens our heart is his pacifist approach, in spite of State provocations and use of deadly violence in policing his group’s nonviolent activities.
2. Peter Gregory Obi: He is the former Governor of Anambra State and true embodiment of Peopling Governance, Input and Output Legitimacies. Mr. Peter Obi is the first of its kind in recent Nigerian political and public governance epoch. If his type is raised gubernatorially in eighteen States of Nigeria’s 36 States; then the entire country will automatically experience social, economic and political transformation of rapid and scientific proportions.
What Mr. Peter Obi was to Anambra State when he held sway was what then Governor Bill Clinton was to the State of Arkansas in the United States in 1980s; by raising his State to high greatness. Former Governor Obi was chosen as the Second Igbo Distinguished Personality of the Year 2016, as a pace setter and formidable standard of performance measurement for incumbent and upcoming elected public office holders particularly the governors or Federal elected public office holders. Apart from tremendous social and infrastructural transformation of Anambra State when he held sway; he was and still is the only governor that left his State with at least N86Billion worth of cash and investments and in surplus digits. He was the only governor who refused to mortgage his State into serial and slavish indebtedness. While a rich State like Lagos State incurred over N500Billion debts till date, Anambra State under Obi reduced its previous local and foreign debt overhang to N11Billion and refused to borrow.
Ikechukwu Ekweremadu: Barr Ike Ekweremadu is chosen as the Third Igbo Distinguished Personality of the Year 2016 on account of his bold and courageous disposition against all odds since June 2015, in his capacity as the Deputy Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and highest Igbo Federal Lawmaker. He towered and withstood the executive persecution and leprous treatment simply because he came from a federal opposition party and insisted that the Igbo Race is too important in Nigerian political landscape to be left out in the sharing of the principal leadership positions of the 8th National Assembly of Nigeria. He has also made an imprint in the defence of Igbo interests; in spite of threats and blackmails from the Executive Arm since June 2015. Senator Ekweremadu's position as it affects the collective interests of the Igbo Race particularly against the killing of innocent and defenceless Igbo citizens by security forces and the Fulani Janjaweed is very encouraging and endearing.
With this recognition and the Three Igbo Distinguished Personalities, distinguishing themselves in their three respective fields of social, governance and legislative advocacies and performances; there is most likely a light at the end of the tunnel for the Igbo Race. This recognition is not award bestowment but rather an appreciation of the fact that the triplet Moses may most likely have landed again in Igbo Land!
International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law and Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations
By: Emeka Umeagbalasi (a graduate of Criminology & Security Studies and M.Sc. graduate of Peace & Conflict Studies)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone
2. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
3. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria
4. Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International
5. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
6. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum
7. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
8. Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative
9. Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)
10. Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch