Security forces wasting innocent lives in Southeast over ESN – Intersociety
By Lawrence Nwimo
International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, has alleged killing of Southeasterners by Nigerian security forces haunting down members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
ESN is a paramilitary organization set up by pro-Biafran agitation group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in the Southeast region of the country.
A statement jointly signed by the group’s Principal Officers: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, Obianuju Igboeli and Chidimma Udegbunam, accused the security operatives of devoting 80 percents of its strengths and energies in alleged genocidal attacks on the Igbo tribe resident in the Southeast region.
The statement revealed that over 5,00 defenseless and unarmed citizens of the Eastern region have been killed since January 2021 and that the number exceeds 600 if added to the Obigbo army massacre and abductions that took place between October and November, 2020.
The statement read in part: “Nigerian security forces especially soldiers of the Nigerian Army, personnel of the Nigerian Police Force, their principal and field officers have continued to channel over 80% of the country’s security energies and resources towards launching and sustaining genocidal attacks on members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality and their close door neighbors in the South-south. This has led to wanton killings and loss of properties that have never constituted security threats or identified as wartime military necessities.
“The saddest of it all is that over 90% of those killed are innocent and defenseless Igbo citizens whose lives were exchanged in place of armed members of the Eastern Security Network and unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
“With over 90% of their principal and field officers in the East being Northern officers and same with many, if not most of their field operatives, the Nigerian security forces have as a result since January 2021 let loose on innocent and defenseless Igbo populations, randomly killing and disappearing them in their multiple hundreds or mass abducting, torturing and executing several of them in custody or captivity.
“Also over 90% of public information by Police and Army concerning the above have independently been found to be false and hatefully fabricated. They included recent killing of scores of ESN members in their hideouts and recovery of arms in Imo and “military kills car snatching IPOB-ESN Bandits in Imo”. In all these, the innocent and defenseless are the target and the victims.
“Going by our updates, no fewer than 550 mostly innocent, defenseless and unarmed citizens of Eastern Nigeria belonging to Igbo ethnic nationality have been killed since January 2021 and the number is 660 if added to the Obigbo Army massacre and abductions of Oct-Nov 2020.
“The number of the abducted or unlawfully arrested citizens has also risen to 3,350 with no fewer than 850 others disappeared. In August 2021 alone no fewer than 50 were killed in Imo particularly in old Orlu and Owerri Zones and between January and August 2021, the State had recorded not less than 200 deaths. It remains our finding too that out of a fraction of “ESN operatives” killed so far, over 60% were randomly killed unarmed or abducted unarmed and killed in custody or captivity.”
While the statement noted that thousands of untried Igbo citizens languish in police and military custodies without trial, it complained that the same security forces have turned blind eyes and watched the Fulani herdsmen wrecking havoc on forests, bushes and farmlands located in the zone.
It said, “the Nigerian security forces in some cases are evidentially found providing buffers for the bandits to the extent of invading and laying siege on some communities including their forests, bushes and farmlands and discreetly inviting the Jihadists to takeover and occupy the militarily invaded, wrecked and cleared Igbo communities.
The group, formed 2018, reaffirmed its stand at opposing criminal and offensive violence by state and non state actors, and warned the Federal government against use of structural, cultural and physical violence, such as resorting to ethnic hatred and profiling, religious intolerance, violence and political exclusion in the conduct of its public affairs.