From EZE NWABUEZE, Onitsha
The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) has alleged that 60 people were killed while 90-100 others were injured in the recent fracas at Obigbo (Oyigbo) community in Rivers State, where soldiers allegedly attacked youths labelled as members of the proscribed self-determination group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), killing and injuring many of them.
In a report released today and signed by its principal officers, namely Emeka Umeagbalasi (Board Chair), Chinwe Umeche, Esq., (Head of Democracy), Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (Head of Civil Liberties), Ndidiamaka Bernard, Esq., (Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights) and Comrade Sam Kamanyaoku (Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation), Intersociety said it had also ‘clearly’ identified 30 of those killed and some 50 of the injured.
The group alleged in the report that while the public had been made to believe that the crisis in Obigbo was over, it was “deeply sad, worried and dismayed over the continuation of army massacre operations in Obigbo and global silence trailing same.”
“With our latest updates, the number of slain defenseless Igbo citizens of Obigbo residency and environs in Rivers State has now risen to at least 60 with between 90 and 100 others shot and deadly injured. Dozens have also permanently disappeared and 200-300 others militarily abducted and held in custodies only known to the Nigerian Army,” Intersociety alleged, adding: “The Nigeria Police Force, Rivers State Command is also strongly believed to be holding not less than 100 persons. All the surviving victims being held by the army and the police are strongly believed to be undergoing torture and other harsh detention conditions. There are also no credible pieces of evidence that the sick and the injured detainees are receiving adequate medical treatments, raising serious fears of some dying in army or police custody or both.”
Urging restraint on the part of the soldiers and the government of Rivers State, Intersociety called for what it described as “international intervention to stop the atrocious army operations.”
“The Nigerian Government and Nyesom Wike-led government of Rivers State must be prevailed upon to immediately withdraw the killer soldiers deployed to Obigbo and environs and all those currently held by the Army and the Nigeria Police Force in Rivers State and neighboring Abia State must be freed unconditionally or put on fair trial,” the group said, stressing that the “Obigbo massacre must not only be thoroughly investigated but the perpetrators of the dastardly act, including Major Gen. Olu Irefin (GOC, 6 Division, Port Harcourt), Brig Gen SB Kumupayi (Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia) and Gov Nyesom Wike must also be fished out at the appropriate time and put on local and international trials for mass murder and crimes against humanity.”
“We also wish to state boldly and factually that what is going on in Obigbo is far more devastating and three times murderous than the 20th night of Oct 2020 Lekki Tollgate Army shootings and killings targeted at unarmed and defenseless protesters in Lagos State. In other words, the number of unarmed and defenseless citizens killed so far at Obigbo in Rivers State is at least three times higher than that of Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State,” Intersociety further alleged.
“While the Lekki Tollgate killings took the lives of about 20 persons, the number of persons so far killed in Obigbo has risen to at least 60, out of which 30 have been verified bodily or by names.
“On the other hand, while the number of those shot and deadly injured in the Lekki Tollgate shootings is about 30, the number of those shot and deadly injured at Obigbo has risen to between 90 and 100, out of which 50 names have so far been identified. The ongoing Obigbo Army massacre has also resulted in permanent disappearances of dozens and 200-300 Army abductions. Unlike the Lekki Tollgate Army massacre where ‘ethnic cleansing’ was never intended even though a good number, if not majority of the dead activists were Igbo citizens, in Obigbo, the Army massacre there was and still is a full blown ‘ethnic cleansing’.
“Apart from the fact that 98% of the dead and the shot and deadly injured victims in Obigbo are citizens of Igbo Nation, using “IPOB death code”, the Nigerian Army and other killer squads loyal to the Rivers State Government headed by Gov Nyeson Wike have also applied instant death and abduction code against every citizen with Igbo name or identity. In other words, any citizen with Igbo name or identity caught during their house breaking and house-to-house search and violence is instantly labeled ‘IPOB member’ and either killed or abducted.
“Therefore, going by our earlier promise of keeping the global community with verified updates over the ongoing Nigerian Army-Gov Nyesom Wike massacre operations in Obigbo, Rivers State, Intersociety has updated and verified 30 of the dead victims and 50 names of the shot and deadly injured in the massacre. We had in our first statement of 6th Nov 2020, released names of eight slain citizens and three unidentified others as well as 22 names of the shot and deadly injured others and made a promise to launch a detailed investigation into the massacre.”
The group further declared: “The Obigbo Army massacre, now bearing semblance of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and still ongoing, had occurred since 21st Oct 2020 following a curfew and thoughtless order issued same date by Gov Nyesom Wike, which the Nigerian Army cashed in to levy human and property war against the Judeo-Christian Igbo population residing in the area, killing them at will and looting and destroying their properties. Homes and areas occupied by Igbo natives have been targeted and are still being targeted by soldiers and-any person with Igbo identity is instantly made to run the high risk of losing his or her life or liberty and property.
“The soldiers had in keeping with their new “IPOB death code”, abducted and presumably killed scores of unarmed and defenseless Igbo citizens living in the area-with multiple dozens, if not hundreds still held in the custodies of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army located in Port Harcourt and Elele as well as its neighboring Asa-Ukwa military facilities in Abia State. They have been held in such facilities for past 28 days or since 21st Oct without being released or handed over to the Nigeria Police Force as required by law. Hundreds of homes have been broken into and still being broken into-with their Igbo occupants abducted at ungodly hours and their properties razed or destroyed or vandalized or burnt. It is credibly estimated that the Nigerian Army is presently holding not less than 200-300 of the arrested.
“For instance, the areas affected by the Army massacre in Obigbo and environs are Obigbo Expressway (surrounded with armored tanks since 21st Oct till date), Old Aba Road (under siege since 21st Oct), Obigbo Roundabout (under siege since 21st Oct), Mbabo Camp (under siege since 21st Oct), Ehi Road/Umunchi (under siege since 23rd Oct), Kom Kom Area (under siege since 24th Oct), Ohafia/Abiriba Quarters (under siege since 26th-27th Oct and 11th-12th Nov and Obeama Area (under siege since 29th-31st Oct ), etc. Terrified witnesses including passersby are also alleging the dumping and drowning of scores of slain corpses inside ‘Imo Gate’ and ‘Mmiri Nwanyi’ Rivers. Some claimed to have sighted some floating corpses at ‘Mmiri Nwanyi River on 29th and 31st Oct and ‘Imo Gate River Banks’ on 7th and 8th Nov 2020. The witnesses were unable to photo or video the ‘floating corpses’ owing to heavy presence of soldiers guarding the areas for possible destruction of evidence or erasing traces.
“Timber Road area has been under Army terror since 28th Oct. A Jewish Shabbat Mission in the area was attacked and dozens of its worshippers and officials abducted with scores killed. Umusonye/School Road and Vacation Areas have also been under Army siege, forcing several, if not many of their residents to flee. At Okpulo Area, residents including Shabbat religionists were attacked on 6th Nov and on 8th Nov, the Shabbat Mission in the Area was demolished; likewise terrorization of residents of Ikwere-Ngwo Area and violent attacks on their houses including demolition of another Shabbat Mission in the Area. Houses and residents of Okoloma-Afam have been under heavy military terrorization since 12th and 14th Nov 2020.
“The heavy presence of soldiers also made it very difficult for relations of the slain to pick up their relatives’ bodies. Late Queen Nwazuo was among those shot and killed by military’s rain of bullets fired in different terminal directions. She was shot dead in front of her shop around noon of 23rd Oct 2020. She was killed at Umunchi Junction, Ehi Road in Obigbo. Among those abducted in their sleep by soldiers are Aneke Sunday and Onyema Christopher Onyeiro. While Citizen Aneke Sunday was abducted in his sleep around 2am in his residence around Market Road, Obigbo, Citizen Onyema Christopher Onyeiro and scores of his co-residents were abducted around 11pm on 17th Nov 2020 at Isaiah Eletuo Street, Obigbo
“In all these, the Government of Rivers State and authorities of the Nigerian Army (who have refused to speak and maintained silence of the graveyard on the massacre) are stopping at nothing to ensure that the truth concerning the massacre never sees the light of the day. Gov Wike apart from going about denying that “no killings took place at Obigbo”, has also been trying to divert the public attention by urging ‘all to condemn the killing of soldiers, police personnel and burning of police stations at Obigbo rather than wasting time seeking to investigate without evidence the Oyigbo incident”. Attempts by the NBA fact-finding committee to investigate the massacre have also been strongly resisted by the Governor and Government of Rivers State.
“Updated Slain Victims Of Obigbo Army Massacre: Their identities are: (1) Pastor Igwe (slain husband of Mrs. Amara Igwe), (2) Queen Nwazuo (slain fiancée of Mr. Monday Bakor), (3) Okoro Peter and (4) Mr. Chinwendu (the two were shot at close range and killed instantly by soldiers including busting the brain box and fluids of Late Chnwendu on 24th Oct 2020 a few meters away from Gov Wike’s convoy during his visit to Obigbo), (5) Jude Egejuru (died from gunshot injuries), (6) Clifford Okeke, (7) Cornelius Anya, (8) Udeme Ossy Monday, (9) Edochie Steven, (10) Ebere, (11) Wisdom, (12) Chizy (missing and presumed dead), (13) Michael Nkama (believe to have died from gunshot injuries) and (14) Chinonso Joshua (died from gunshot injuries), (15) Godwin Samuel Umahi, (17) Sunday Umahi, (18) Queen Eze, (19) Darlington, (20) Chinonso Udoh (missing and presumed dead), (21) Kufre Sandy (missing and presumed dead), (22) Justice (shot dead in front of his residence), (23) Martins (missing and presumed dead), (24) Ebite Orjinta (Ihite-Uboma, Imo State), (25) Sunday Aneke (missing and presumed dead), (26) a young nursing mother (died from gunshot injuries) and (27) her newborn baby of one month, 3 weeks and two days (yet to locate her relatives), (28) a yet-to-be identified dead citizen, (29) second yet-to-be-identified citizen and (30) third yet-to-be-identified dead citizen. The three slain bodies were shot and left to decompose along an Obigbo Street in a verified video footage.
“Updated Injured Victims Of Obigbo Army Massacre: Among the deadly injured are: (1) Chukwuma Chinonso, (2) Nwoke Okwudiri Nwonye, (3) Uche Ogbonna, (4) Chikaodi Agwu, (5) Michael Okwudiri, (6) John Emeka, (7) Agwu Enyi, (8) Obichukwu Chibuike, (9) Izuchukwu Igwe, (10) Eluu Chukwuemeka, (11) Arinze Joshua, (12) Nwakama Izuegbe, (13) Destiny Okorie, (14) Israel Asoh, (15) Emeka Heart, (16) Victor Heart, (17) Orji Amaoji, (18) Paschal, (19) Obasi Emela, (20) Chiwuzu Orjinta, (21) Sylvester Odoche, (22) Elochukwu Emeka, (23)Nwakama Uzuegbu, (24) David Godwin, (25) Chima Iwuala, (26) Theresa David, (27) Ozara Ede Anyanwu, (28) Nnamdi Udorji, (29) Obasi Emerem, (30) Sunday Okoegwu, (31) Ozuen Christian, (32) Chima Ogbona, (33) Samuel Obasi, (34) Solomon Ukezu, (35) Ndubuisi Azunna, (36) Victoria Ndubuisi, (37) Ubong Umoh, (38) Tochukwu Nicholas, (39) Anthony Obi, (40) Udorji Anayo, (41) Etim Ubong, (42) Chisom Nnamdi, (43) Eric Angel, (44) Peter Ajah, (45) Uzochukwu, (46) Godwin, (47) Emeka, (48) Arinze, (49) Mike Ujam and (50) Ugwuanyi Ogbuu.”