Burning Issues In Nigeria: Our Position
….Leaders of SBCHROs
Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, Thursday, 23rd Jan 2020-A crucial meeting of the leaders of the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations-SBCHROs; a coalition of over 20 human rights and democracy organizations was recently held in Onitsha. The meeting, called to assess burning issues in Nigeria in general and Southeast in particular also set agenda for 2020 and mandated the principal officers of the Coalition to critically and periodically review and take informed position on burning issues affecting the country and the Southeast or South-south Region.
The meeting, held on 12th Jan 2020, had the following in attendance: Emeka Umeagbalasi (Convener, SBCHROs), Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., Anayo Okoli, Samuel Kamanyaoku and Rev Sister Anastasia Chidiebere Umesegha, etc, representing Intersociety; and Aloysius Attah and Zulu Ofoelue, representing the Southeast CLO. Others who attended are: Architect Eric Eyituche, Ike Nwandu and Chidi Ugwu (members of ADF, Enugu), Dr. Jerry Chukwuokoro (ISPHRI, Enugu), Vincent Ezekwueme (Chair, Anambra CLO), Chidi Mbah (Sec, Anambra CLO), Elisha Umeh, Paschal Anigbo, Denis Ezeokoli, Ikechukwu Onyekwelu and Stanley Okoro (all key members of Anambra CLO).
The rest in the attendance list are: Peter Onyegiri(CHRPA, Onitsha), Alex Olisa(Southeast Good Governance Forum, Awka), Samuel Njoku (HRON, Onitsha), Nnana Nelson Nwafor (FENRAD, Aba), Nwokeocha Anozie (IDEAL, Aba), Emeku Uche Udensi (ELIRY, Aba), Dr. Okezie Kelechukwu (Environmental Watch-Foundation, Abakiliki), Barr Violet Ezekwike (VOVI, Awka), Chilos Godsent (President, Igbo National Council, Owerri), Capt Barr Casmir Nwafor (ex serviceman, politician & civil rights activist), Prof Justice Chidi (Southeast Academia and civil rights activist) and Barr Justus Uche Ijeoma (civil rights activist & ED, Int’l Human Rights & Equity Defense Foundation, Onitsha).
Leaderships of the Forum for Promotion of National Ethos & Values (Enugu), Igbo Ekunie Initiative (United Kingdom), Society Watch & Advocacy Project, Anambra Human Rights Forum (Awka), Community Empowerment Network (Aba) and Southeast Movement against Transactional Politics & Profligacy (Awka) also consented. Total of Thirty-Nine (39) persons attended the meeting.
The meeting reviewed and deliberated on burning national and regional issues that took place after its last meeting of Dec 2018 particularly as they concerned the 2019 general elections and the regional security threats and other unsafe conditions facing the Igbo Nation and the Southeast; identified to have been made possible by hate, discriminatory and harmful policies and conducts of the present Federal Government. Responses to the above by the state actors particularly the elected and appointed public office holders in the Southeast and the non-state actors such as rights and democracy CSOs and professional and community based bodies were also x-rayed.
Intersociety Has Done Well In Research & Documentation
The Coalition is deeply appreciative of forensic research, documentations and publications carried out by Intersociety; likewise its consistent and informed position on burning national and regional issues. The group’s deeper knowledge of local and int’l laws and grounded principles of democracy and human rights and-application of same in its entire works including its recent updates on military massacre in Eastern Nigeria (August 2015-Sept 2017) is also commendable and emulative.
A Good Lesson From Yoruba Nation
The Yoruba Nation may be criticized by a cross section of the lettered for their ‘libertarian’ or selfish concept on human rights, democratic and regional matters; or lack of ‘egalitarian’ concept in same. They may also be criticized for jointly installing for Nigeria-the democracy of the graveyard since late May 2015; but the Nation-State is never a push over when it concerns ‘their own’.
Despite being a strategic partner in the present failed Government of Nigeria, yet the Nation-State has proven that such partnership must not be at the expense of their collective security, interest and welfare. Collectivism is also very high and consolidated in the Nation-State, in addition to high volume of adult literacy. It also parades a brigade of personalities of international repute, unlike the present Igbo Nation with a dearth or dying population of same.
Truth be told, in Yoruba Nation today, wealth and its bearers is placed where it belongs; likewise religion, tradition and knowledge and wisdom. Religion; Christianity or Islam, has never been allowed to override the trio of collective security, collective interest and collective welfare all inculcated in the culture of the Nation-State or Ethnic Nationality. That is to say that knowledge and wisdom are for the lettered and the wise, wealth for the rich class, religion for God and man where and when necessary and tradition for cultural value, social conscience and collective security.
Each of these serves the Nation-State outside the confines of undue use or extremist application. Also, the Yoruba Nation, having been the pioneer beneficiary of the media in 1930s, 40s and 50s, has consolidated their grip on same particularly in the area of mainstream media or print and electronic. The typical case in point was the recent launch of the Southwest Regional Security Outfit and the Omoyele Sowore saga. Totality of the above is a good lesson to learn by the Igbo Nation from the Yoruba Nation.
Contrarily, the Igbo Nation-State of today is in ruins. Apart from ‘the Church of Jesus Christ being totally on sale’ in Igbo Nation, dry pursuit for individual wealth by hook or crook and culture of individualism and high volume of adult illiteracy have remained entrenched as the Nation-State’s fundamental minuses. In the Nation-State, too, Satan has not only gone to the Church of Jesus Christ, but also canonized as bishop, pastor and priest.
Both orthodox and non-orthodox Christian leaders in Igbo Nation now build their paradises on earth, abandoning their ‘Heaven and Hell’ gospel or last day salvation mantra. They had cashed in and still do same on citizens’ individual poverty and greed, to instantly and stupendously get rich, by promising them possibility of social impossibilities; to the extent that “a priest or pastor that walks into a crusade arena with hundreds or thousands in attendance, and without a dime in his pocket, will surely leave the crusade arena as a millionaire”.
Religiosity, using brain washing and false pretences; worship of individual wealth and high volume of adult illiteracy, in addition to acute individualism are the three hydra headed monsters bedeviling and tormenting the Igbo Nation-State of today. Satanic prophesies are so rampant that ‘evil politicians now plot their evil plots and recruit ‘prophets’ to prophesize the “godly come to pass’ actualization of their evil plots’. Other than riotous and troublesome billionaires and their socially harmful display of wealth, the Igbo Nation is presently bereft of citizens of intellectual wealth and international repute. We envisage a cultural revolution in the Nation-State in no distant time, except these ugly trends are timely reversed.
Regional Security: Eastern Region Should Borrow A Leaf From The Yoruba Nation
The moves in this regard by the Yoruba Nation are commendable and shall be followed by the People of old Eastern Nigeria and the Mid West or South-south and Southeast. It must be stated boldly and clearly that the arrangement is a state actor arrangement grounded in law and convention. Security is also broad and goes beyond gun culture or use of firearms and other killer weapons. It is a combination of man, mental and machine as well as cultural symbols.
As a right, security is not the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government. The constitutionally and statutorily guaranteed power of arrest, self defense and right to life are the foundation of physical security in Nigeria and christened ‘Peopling Security’. Apart from ‘Hisbah’ or the so called ‘Sharia Police’ being allowed and legalized in core Northern Nigeria in the past 18years, the Nigerian Army and other branches of the Military as well as the Police and Paramilitaries in the country are acutely lopsided and composed unevenly; thereby threatening the security and safety of the short changed regions.
Today, there is no practical difference between Boko Haram and jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their terror activities; to the extent that it is difficult to identify and differentiate the terrorist activities carried out by Boko Haram and jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. The Nigerian media is also censored to label such attacks as ‘those carried out by unknown gunmen’. The terrorist activities of the duo now start and end with identification of Northern Christians and resident and traveling Judeo-Christian Igbo citizens as their sole targets.
Just the other day or on 14th Jan 2020, a Sokoto-Eastern Region bound luxury bus was waylaid near a military formation in Kaduna and its passengers were violently separated according to their ethno religious identities, targeting the mostly Igbo citizens among them, later abducted into the bush and taken hostage. Their fate or whereabouts have remained unknown till date. These atrocities have continued to receive near-total media blackout and where they are rarely reported, their statistics and true stories are brutally mangled or under reported.
Until the 2019 Xmas day execution of 11 Christian captives by the ISIL splinter group of Boko Haram over a rift in far away Iraq, Nigerians and the world were never in the know of such captivities and till date, the Nigerian Government cannot boast of data showing the number of Christians still held by Boko Haram or ISWAP or jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. If Federal Government could turn a blind eye and tacitly support the jihadist Fulani Herdsmen to bear and use prohibited firearms, the same Federal Government lacks moral and legal authority to stop other Nigerians including the state actors in Southwest and old Eastern Nigeria to put in place a legitimate mechanism to defend and protect their own citizens.
Government’s Conspiracy Of Silence Over Oraifite Mayhem Is Strongly Condemned
The conspiracy of silence maintained by the Federal Government over the 2nd Dec 2019 invasion and massive burning and destruction of houses and other properties belonging to the family of Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor and their neighbors is strongly condemned. The matter must not be swept under the carpet and it must be strongly warned that the Nigerian security forces particularly the military and the police are becoming an outlaw. They have now gone beyond control of their commander-in-chief and statutory superintendents, to the extent they now indulge in sundry service and professional atrocities without being held to account.
Allowing them to get away with atrocities perpetrated embolden them, encourage impunity and earn them ‘above the law status’. Just the other day, soldiers were drafted by the Federal Government to a Bayelsa community and licensed to unleash mayhem including burning and destruction of communal homes and properties; all in the guise of ‘revenge for killing of some service personnel’. The level of destruction that followed is only comparable to a situation of war.
As at our last checks, the Federal Government of Nigeria has done nothing in the Oraifite mayhem despite several outcries and calls to do so. The burnt properties, the slain, the injured and the tortured victims of the mayhem have been abandoned while the perpetrators walk freely in the street as if nothing had happened. We were further told how the High Command of the Nigeria Police Force was making frantic efforts at covering up the atrocities perpetrated by its personnel and others including soldiers of the Nigerian Army and named and unnamed civilian collaborators.
The cover up included recent behind the scene appointment by the Force Headquarters of a skewed or one sided ‘investigative team’ led by a serving Commissioner of Police, which has, till date, evaded visiting the atrocity scene, victims and witnesses. SBCHROs maintain a strong opposition to police involvement in the investigation of the mayhem. This is because the Force cannot be an investigator or a judge in the same mayhem it masterminded and perpetrated. Investigation into the mayhem must be fully independent, impartial and conclusive.
That ‘Otokoto’ Supreme Court Judgment On Imo Must Be Reversed
No amount of media baptism or beautification will make the recent Supreme Court judgment on Imo State Governorship seat to look real and generally accepted. The judgment is not only “Otokoto Judgment” but also the return of “Otokoto Governance” in Imo State. That is to say that the dying “Otokoto” era in the State has been revived and returned by the Nigerian Supreme Court. As a grand case law, too, Supreme Court has, by the judgment, placed the country’s democracy in a danger list or path to perdition.
It is also not about being given a credible and popular electoral mandate to govern. Far beyond that, it matters most when the receiver of such credible and popular electoral mandate is man enough to defend same when the need arises. To this extent, Supreme Court ousted Gov Emeka Ihedioha did not do it well. He was sleeping in his gubernatorial office and did not know that the ‘wolves had come knocking’. Even when the ‘wolves’ embarked on Satanic prophesy to actualize their evil plots, he was still found sleeping in his gubernatorial office. Now that deed has temporarily been done, he still has not woken up.
We therefore call on him to end his long sleep and take his team of lawyers to a palm ranch retreat, for purpose of heading back to the Supreme Court for inexcusable and landslide reversal. It is on record that the 2019 Imo Governorship poll was one of the best in the entire elections of 2019. Asking or approaching the Supreme Court to review and reverse its blundered decision has nothing to do with the time frame of the original litigation. It is also to the uttermost interest of Nigeria and its dying international image for the disastrous blunder to be reversed and this must not be done when “the spirit” of the subject matter has been rendered useless or inoperable.
The mathematics following the poll was so tight and indisputable that the Supreme Court Justices for purpose of executing their hired masters’ plots had to take recourse to “Judico-Mathematical Salami Technique (per Intersociety); whereby the Supreme Court magisterially and dictatorially manufactured and imported “over 925, 000 votes”, from INEC’s declared 823,000 accredited voters and 714,000 valid votes out of 739,000 total cast votes. With this, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has become the newest entrant into the World Guinness Book of Records as the newest inventor of ‘Salami Mathematical Virus’. The new “Otokoto Governance” in Imo State must not be legally allowed a breathing space.
Governor Of The Decade Award To Obi Is Well Deserved
The recent award by the authorities of This Day Newspaper to former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State as ‘the Gov of the Decade in Nigeria’ is a well deserved award. His eight years of governorship in Anambra State is only comparable to that of Late Dede Dr Sam Mbakwe of Imo State (1979-1983). Since then till date, no State in the Southeast has witnessed such governance and leadership breakthroughs.
Beyond the award bestowed on him by This Day, there shall be established in friendly Nigerian universities and those beyond borders, both private and government owned, the Peter Obi School of Democracy & Good Governance, where his breakthroughs and achievements in office shall be taught. Subject to formal upgrades in his post graduate studies, i.e. Master and Doctor of Science degrees and experiences and decency in public office, Mr. Obi may be appointed as ‘visiting and substantive professor’.
Attached below is the group photo of the leaders of SBCHROs taken shortly after their meeting of 12th Jan 2020
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations (SBCHROs)
• Emeka Umeagbalasi-08174090052
• Aloysius Emeka Attah-08035090548
• Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD- 08035372962
• Prof Justice Chidi-08039100804
Contact Email: Southeastrightscoalition@gmail.com