A group, Policing Nigeria Awarenes Initiative (PNAI), has called on the United States of America and United Kingdom to restrict former President Olusegun Obasanjo and General T.Y. Danjuma, ex-Minister of Defence from entry into their countries as consequences for their alleged involvement in mass killings and detention of innocent Nigerians in Zaki Biam, Benue State and Odi area of Bayelsa during their administration.
The group made the call in a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, addressed to the US and UK embassies.
In the letter, signed by Egbe Akparakwu, Executive Director of PNAI, the group said Nigerians experienced "arbitrary detention and killing" under the Obasanjo administration, with Danjuma as Minister of Defence.
Akparakwu specifically noted that Richard Odunsanya, a former associate of Obasanjo, alleged that the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) was in charge of the killer squad that was formed under the military regime of late General Sani Abacha.
The letter read: "As a flashback, during the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo in October 2001, the then Minister of Defence, T.Y. Danjuma, ordered the military invasion of a community in Benue State, where thousands of people were killed and burnt beyond recognition. These innocent persons, including women and children, no doubt share the same faith with TY Danjuma.
“In 1999, over 2,500 civilians were killed by the military under T.Y. Danjuma in Odi town in Bayelsa State. Odi is another predominant Christian community in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria with a less than 1 per cent of the people as Muslims.
“In addition, under Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria witnessed an unprecedented government-masterminded political killings. This much was confirmed by a close associate who worked closely with him.
“Among those who were politically murdered during Obasanjo's administration include, the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, and South-South politicians, Chief Harry Marshall, Chief A.K. Dikibo, a former Senatorial candidate of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, in Imo State, Uche Orji, Arc Layi Balogun, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, Prof Chimere Ikoku, former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, in Anambra State, Chief Barnabas Igwe and his wife, Chief Victor Nwankwo of Fourth Dimension Publishers and Chief Funso Williams.
"All these Nigerians are people that share the same religious faith with both Obasanjo and T.Y. Danjuma yet were killed under circumstances that are quite familiar to the two men.
"It is also necessary for emphasis to be made that under Obasanjo’s civilian rule, the massacres at Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State where women and children were slaughtered, there has been no accountability. No one has been charged for this mass murder of innocent people despite countless petitions so far submitted by various groups and organisations calling for justice.
“There was also a huge rise in harassment and intimidation of human rights activists under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo. Arrests, torture and in some cases, systematic killings of youth activists in the Niger Delta were rife. The arbitrary detention and subsequent torture of Comrade Sunny Ofehe, member, Coalition for the Niger Delta Campaign (CNDC), and Mr. Oladeji Odukoya, a member of the Delta Youth Development Council (DYDC), is a clear testimony of the government use of force to silence its critics. Many of these have changed in recent times to pave way for a country where democratic principles are being entrenched.
“It is also our prayer that the duo of Olusegun Obasanjo and T.Y. Danjuma that have brought sorrow and tears to countless families be made to face the full wrath of the law.
"We implore your governments to raise these issues before the United Nations to serve as deterrent to other world leaders who abuse their office and those who might be preparing the new grounds for crimes against humanity.”