A human rights organisation, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, otherwise known as Intersociety, has knocked the Nigerian Army for failing to respond to the cogent human rights abuses in the South-East region, being committed by its personnel. The civic group asked the army to address the issues it (Intersociety) had raised rather than releasing a statement which failed to speak to the realities of uniformed personnel’s brutality in the militarised region. Intersociety mentioned these in its latest release obtained on Monday by Easterner, adding that the army had become bastardised and divided along religious and ethnic lines, which is dangerous for its operational activities. The army had in a statement on Saturday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, lambasted Intersociety, asking Nigerians to ignore its reports as lies.
But in its fresh release, Intersociety said, “The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has read and analysed the Nigerian Army’s statement of Saturday, signed by Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu. Not only that nothing meaningful was said in the Army’s statement but critical issues raised by Intersociety were deliberately dodged and left unaddressed.
“The Nigerian Army was responding to our detailed statement of Friday, 2nd Sept 2022, titled: “Secret Killings And House Burnings By Security Forces And Allied Militias Intensified In Imo, Anambra And Benue In Past July And August 2022 Resulting In Hundreds Of Deaths And Burnings…Army, Police continued to shield jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and turned their weapons against defenseless civilians as “terrorists.”
“The Nigerian Army had in its statement stammered and deliberately dodged critical issues raised in our statement. For instance, Intersociety had debunked the army’s false claims of “killing two ESN/IPOB terrorists specialised in detonating improvised explosive devices around Eke-ututu in Orsu-ihiteukwa part of Imo State on 30th August 2022”. We had investigated and found that the slain were defenceless block molders shot and killed at their block molding industry arena while the third person was an elderly man of over 70 Years dragged out from his abode, shot at his two legs, who later bled to death.
“Intersociety also gave their names as Citizens Ugochukwu Obianali and Chinonso and Senior Citizen Nicholas Onwughala. Soldiers of the Nigerian Army also riotously invaded a Community Health Centre in neighbouring Amalulu at late night of 30th August 2022 and abducted scores of the Health Center’s staffs and patients on admission, claiming that “they got an intelligence report that a suspected IPOB member’s wife was admitted at the Health Center as she was about to put to bed.”
“In the Army statement, the two issues above were silenced. Silenced too was the flooding of key Army formations in the South-East with senior officers and combatants of Northern Muslim extraction including the GOC, 82 Division, Enugu, the Brigade Commanders of 14 Brigade, Ohafia and 34 Brigade, Obinze and the Cantonment Commandant of the Onitsha 302 Artillery; all Northern Muslims. These are just to highlight but a few.
“Noted is the fact that the Nigerian military particularly the Army has suffered years of bastardisation starting from Civil War, post-civil war and military eras, but its current bastardisation since July 2015 is heading to the maddening point of irreversibility.
“Unlike the previous bastardisation periods caused by ethnicity and military tyranny, the present bastardisation in the Military is more menacing, taking religious dimension which has re-ignited the old wounds caused by ethnic and tribal divisions and hatred leading to the break out of the Civil war.
“Intersociety’s advocacy activities are beyond sectionalism, religion and ethnic zealotry. We have also boldly and pricelessly defended marginalized senior and junior security personnel and have had several interfaces with the Nigerian Army and Defense Headquarters especially between 2010 and early 2015. These had included written communication exchanges.
“We defended the marginalised members of the Nigerian Traffic Warden of the Nigeria Police Force especially between 2011 and 2012 including getting a respected Federal Lawmaker to work on a Bill to address the age long marginalization. The Bill had successfully passed a second reading before being abandoned by the victims who said “Buhari had promised to look into it when he assumed office”.
“We have since 2014 been pricelessly defending marginalised senior police officers from the South-East and others whose promotions were stalled. From non-state actors, we have several times risen in strong defence of defenceless Muslim minorities including the Shiites since 2015 as well as the persecuted and massacred Christians in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Niger, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Kebbi and Nasarawa States, in addition to South-West, South-East and South-South.”