We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprised of individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; for the umpteenth time unequivocally condemn the heinous, barbaric and shameful massacre once again of peaceful pro-Biafra protesters who were holding prayers in a school premises in Aba by agents of Nigeria’s infamous army and police force. Such cowardly killing of unarmed protesters exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful protests only goes to confirm the globally acclaimed notoriety of Nigeria’s disoriented security services that more often than not, turn their guns on the hapless and defenceless citizens they are trained and paid to protect.
That the Nigerian army and police that have not acquitted itself in the fight against Boko Haram and other security challenges will always so callously murder unarmed civilians under the watch and orders of President Buhari only validates the widely held notion that Nigeria has finally returned to full blown dictatorship and tyranny. Consequently, the nation is once again facing human rights violations, repression and tyranny at a scale that far supersedes what obtained under erstwhile military dictators. No nation whose security services murders unarmed innocent civilians who are engaged in peaceful protests and free expression both of which constitute some of the most basic attributes of democracy can still call itself by any definition a democracy.
We note that while Buhari campaigned on change; his idea of change has turned out to mean repression, extra judicial detentions, mass killing of unarmed civilians and other human rights abuses that characterise the dark past Nigerians laboured to escape from. It is even more shameful that while Buhari in the course of addressing the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa urged “African nations to put down their guns and stop spending scarce resources killing our children and inflicting unspeakable horrors and unimaginable hardship on our brothers and sisters,” yet, under his watch, Nigeria has become a killing field where the guns are blazing, the army and police are killing peaceful protesters and inflicting the same unspeakable horrors and unimaginable hardship on fellow citizens that he condemned in his AU speech.
We submit that a president who has no inclination for peace or dialogue and who since inception of his administration has been busy widening the theatres of conflict with killings and extra judicial detentions goes abroad to preach peace only, in the vain hope of impressing and deceiving a global audience. But the world is wiser and the mounting human rights violations of the administration are increasingly subject to international scrutiny. We therefore, use this opportunity to again call on the International community; the United Nations, Human rights watch, AU, Amnesty international, the European Union, the US state department and others to take note of Buhari’s increasing human rights violations and decimation of democratic rights and principles. We warn that the constant killing of unarmed pro-Biafra protesters in cold blood is a recipe for disaster that could at some point force the Biafra groups to legitimately seek self defence and thus conflict/insurgency for which president Buhari, the COAS Tukur Buratai, the IGP Solomon Arase, the police commissioners and army commanders of respective units where such killings have taken place should be held responsible.
While we continue to pursue the indictment of all those implicated in such heinous crimes against humanity within International statutes, we urge governors of the respective states, the national assembly and state assembly members to uphold the tenets of democracy and speak out against tyranny and the egregious violation of the fundamental rights of their constituents by the army and police.
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke
President Igbo Ekunie Initiative