A civic organisation, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, otherwise known as Intersociety, stated that the Nigerian government’s clampdown on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader, NnamdI Kanu, is a direct violation of its own constitution.
According to the group’s board chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the government should free Kanu and end the violent crackdowns against the agitators before peace would be restored in the South-East region.
Intersociety made this submission in Enugu State during an international conference on the Anambra State governorship election, agitations for self-determination and the general insecurity in the region.
The conference also had the Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights Organisations, and the Southeast Rights & Democracy Coalition in attendance.
According to a release obtained by SaharaReporters, Intersociety said, “The Nigerian Government must free Nnamdi Kanu and end all forms of violent crackdowns and state persecutions against agitators and innocent and defenseless members of the Eastern Nigeria population.
“The government is gravely breaching the Constitution in Sections 19 (1) (d), 35 and 36 of the country’s international and domestic obligations by refusing to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is given fair hearing and allowed speedy and fair trial within the constitutionally stipulated time frames irrespective of the alleged offense gravity or be granted bail or freed unconditionally.
“The condemnable act of the Nigerian government in this regard also constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security and derogation of international customary, human rights and humanitarian law obligations and has portrayed the country in bad light and presented her as “a rogue Member-State of the United Nations and African Union”.
“The delays by the International Criminal Court’s new Chief Prosecutor and other world justice bodies to re-commence and consolidate their investigations into conduct atrocities by the present Nigerian government and its security forces against unarmed and defenseless citizens of Eastern Nigeria are deeply worrisome and amount to issuance of impunity tickets to the perpetrators to continue to terrorise, kill, maim, abduct, torture, disappear and destroy en masse with reckless abandon and impunity.
“According to available research statistics, the Nigerian Government’s violent crackdowns on unarmed and nonviolent self-determination activists and members of the general civilian population of Eastern Nigeria have forced the former into violent self defence.
“Going by Intersociety’s records arising from its years of research and investigations in Eastern Nigeria, the Nigerian government was responsible for the massacre of not less than 480 unarmed agitators and other defenseless members of Eastern Nigerian population, mostly Igbo citizens. The security forces also shot and fatally injured over 700 others.
“These egregious and horrendous crimes were perpetrated between August 2015 and Sept 2017; during which several hundreds were also arrested or abducted and held without proper trials for years; and other hundreds were abducted and disappeared. The perpetrators included soldiers of the Nigerian Army, operatives of the country’s secret police and the Nigerian police’s ‘special squads’.
“Self determination is the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in international order and a core principle of international law arising from customary international law. The international legality of Self determination is further recognised as a general principle of law and enshrined in numerous international rights, humanitarian and security and defense treaties or pacts.”