This year 2020 shall be full of challenges, ups and downs in Nigeria; with the country falling deeper from ‘flying pan to consuming fire’. The country’s bastardized, selfish, clannish, ethno-religiously divided and oligarchic political class shall offer no iota of hope in the year; except continuing with deceit including use of ‘psychology of politics’ and propaganda; and state fears and terrorism in the governance of the country or any part thereof.
Generally, no remarkable or significant changes are expected. With religious intolerance and violence reaching a crescendo and gaining state protection, violence along religious lines including killings, destructions and fears are expected to continue and increase exponentially. Targeted killing of the members of Christian faith by jihadist Herdsmen and Boko Haram and ISWAP Islamist Jihadists is expected to continue.
With the state security forces losing grip of the Northeast, compounded by the Government pro jihadist body language, these killings are expected to escalate. Collateral fatalities involving Muslim deaths from Boko Haram and ISWAP attacks are expected to minimize and give way for increase in targeted killings of the members of Christian and other non Muslim faith.
For the record, between 1000 and 1200 Christians particularly women and children were hacked to death by jihadist Herdsmen in 2019, with over 600 killed between Jan and April. The number of Christians killed by Boko Haram and ISWAP in the year is certainly in their hundreds, if not leveled with those killed by Jihadist Herdsmen. Many of the killings went unreported or were censored by the country’s secret police and other security agencies. Where they are rarely reported, they are cited as “killings associated with unknown gunmen or bandits”. Intersociety has consistently monitored killing of Christians as well as other killings by the State in the past ten years.
In all these, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law as a registered non-governmental and nonprofit human rights, democracy, rule of law and public security and safety advocacy group in Nigeria since 2008; campaigning for respect, observance, promotion and advancement of democracy and good governance, civil liberties and rule of law and public security and safety, shall double its advocacy.
With respect and name earned in research, investigation, documentation and publications, in addition to being led by the lettered and experts; dogged, determined and uncompromised, Intersociety shall wax stronger in 2020. It must be boldly stated or pointed out that in our advocacy campaigns; we do not speak or tell Nigerians and the rest of the world ‘what they like to hear but what they ought to know’; all in line with friendly local and international laws and best practices.
We also do not do our activism or advocacy ‘the Nigerian way’. Instances abound. As an Igbo based rights and demo group, we recently took a strong stand against Allen Onyema and his Air Peace and supported his US indictment; yet when America killed the Iranian Quds Gen outside the law, we condemned the country. This is despite being a strong anti Christian Persecution advocate and a strategic partner of the US Embassy in Nigeria and the State Department.
In our advocacy, too, we do not care who you are or your political, economic, tribal or religious status or affiliation. We are strictly of the rule of law, human rights and societal decency, which was why we have strongly come out in defense of the likes of unarmed and defenseless Shiite Muslims and Pro Biafra Campaigners including IPOB. Till date, we do not recognize and shall never recognize their proscription and state crackdown because they were clearly politically, religiously and tribally motivated and ill conceived.
We have also come out in strong defense of marginalized ‘service personnel’ in the Nigeria Police Force and other branches of the Armed Forces and their geopolitical regions. The struggle shall continue especially where the Southeast Region is currently shut of Police AIG ranks and positions in Nigeria. We also make bold to say that the greatest institutional injustice in the country is the age long travail of the personnel of the Nigerian Traffic Warden Service, incorporated and enslaved by the Nigeria Police Force since 1975.
The TWS personnel as they are called, are age long victims of statutory and policy enslavement in the country both in terms of ranking and posting. Till date, no TWS officer statutorily rises above the rank of ‘Inspector’ or ‘DST (DSP)’ by policy per Obasango Administration (1999-2007). We shall continue the struggle until the grand injustice is statutorily and institutionally corrected or redressed.
Generally, we shall continue from where we stopped in 2019 and even do more for Nigeria and Nigerians. While our oversight roles shall cover all the ‘four generations of human rights’ under the UN System, our major focus shall remain with the ‘civil and political rights’- the primus inter pares of all and we shall be ‘here and there’, or locally, regionally and internationally.
Anambra State where we come from shall not be left out as we have been ‘congregating and aggregating all the socio-political developments in the State including the troubling roles of troublesome billionaires; example being the recent troublesome billionaire and Government instigated massive invasion of the Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s ancestral compound and other neighboring houses and massive arson and destruction that followed. We shall continue our campaign for justice to be done in the case.
For purpose of the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, we make bold to say that rule of equity heavily favors the Anambra South made up of Nnewi zone, Ihiala zone and old Aguata zone; out of which the golden rule sub-favors the old Aguata zone. This is because going by the rule effective from the return of democracy in 1999; Ihiala zone had produced a governor with Nnewi zone producing an acting governor and now with a serving senator. The old Aguata zone, on its part, had produced none (neither substantive nor acting governor since May 1999). The golden rule driving by fairness does not allow Nnewi to produce a serving senator and governor at the same time while the old Aguata zone another has none.
Our profound gratitude must go to our media friends including online, print, visual, audio-visual, web and social and great friends and supporters in Nigeria and across the globe. Specifically mentioned include (online) the News Express, the Nigerian Voice, the Trent, the Elombah Reports, the Premium Times, the Chidi Opara and the Odogwu Reports; the Sundiata, the NigeriaLawyer, the Int’l Christian Post and its associates; the Satellite Time (int’l), the Neighborhood Reports, the News Critic, the Global Sentinel, the Biafra Bulletin, the Third Eye, to mention but few.
For the print, deserving our deep appreciation and special commendation are the Sun, Independent, Punch, Vanguard, Oracle, Orient Express, This Day, Guardian and Nation Newspapers, etc. For visual, it is the AIT and for audio-visual, it is the Blaze, Minaj, the Purity, the VOA, the ABS, the Odenigbo and others. Also commended are various friendly social media platforms and their handlers particularly WhatsApp, Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter platforms and their handlers.
This statement is jointly signed by:
Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance and Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chair of the Board of Intersociety