IPOB Welcomes AI Report, Says 2,000 Pro-Biafrans Killed, 750 Missing Since 2015

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• Senate South-south east caucus calls for probe

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja, Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday said the report by Amnesty International (AI) on the extrajudicial killings of Biafra activists has eventually vindicated its earlier claims that the Nigerian security agencies have been killing its members in cold blood.

The global human rights organisation, AI, has in its latest report said no fewer than 150 pro-Biafra activists were killed by security agencies, especially the military between August 2015 and August 2016, adding that its findings were based on video and photographic evidence as well as eye witness accounts.

IPOB has been in the forefront of organising protests across the South-east and parts of South-south zones to drive home its quest for Biafra self determination as well as the continued detention of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu

Reacting to the AI report, IPOB in a statement signed by the Head Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, welcomed the report as it has at last shown the world that it was not crying wolf when it announced that hundreds of its members had been killed by security agencies during protests.

However, IPOB said the casualty figure contained in the AI report was a far cry from the number of pro-Biafra protesters either killed or missing following the brutal reaction of the security agencies to the protests in the South-east and parts of the South-south zones of Nigeria.

“But the 150 people killed report which was given by the Amnesty International was not the accurate number of IPOB and Biafrans killed since August 2015 till date.

“More so, in IPOBs records and statistics department gathered from all parts of Biafraland we have over 2,000 members killed, 750 missing since then till date we have not seen their dead bodies and we are still searching for them. We also have 567 members under going medical treatment in different hospitals,” IPOB said.

The Biafra restoration group also claimed that “we have 370 people under going severe torture in different prisons and security cells across the country in the hands of security agents.”

“As we are talking right now, the DSS and other security agencies in Nigeria are still searching for the members of IPOB across the country, some are still in the DSS secret cells since six months now without taking them to court while they were all incommunicado in different places,” IPOB lamented.

While commending AI for “standing bold to condemn the crime against humanity committed by the government of Nigeria and her security agencies,” IPOB urged AI and Human Rights Watch to dig deeper and unravel the “barbaric killings of pro-Biafra activists.

Meanwhile, IPOB has said over 2,000 of its members have been killed since August 2015.
A statement by the group, signed by Powerful, thanked the AI for recently speaking up over the injustice done to the people of Biafra, while also saying that the 150 Biafrans the group recorded as those killed was erroneous.

Powerful said while over 2,000 had so far been killed since August look at year, 750 others had remained missing without trace, while 567 Biafrans are nursing severe injuries sustained from attacks by security agents.

“The Amnesty International report was welcomed by the indigenous people of Biafra,  but the reports of 150 people killed which was given was not the accurate number of IPOB and Biafrans killed since August 2015 till date.

“More so, in IPOB’s records and statistics department gathered from all parts of Biafraland we have over 2,000 members killed, 750 missing since then till date we have not seen their dead bodies and we are still searching for them, we also have 567 members under going medical treatment in different hospitals.”

They added that it has 370 people under going severe torture in different prisons and security cells across the country from hands of security agents.

The group said: “As we are talking right now the DSS and other security agencies in Nigeria are still searching for the members of IPOB across the country, some are still in the DSS secret cells since six months now without taking them to court while they were all keeping incommunicado in different places.”

The Senate’s South-east caucus yesterday tasked the federal government to immediately constitute a judicial panel of inquiry with the mandate to investigate the alleged killing of about 150 unarmed members of IPOB.

A statement by Chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, in Abuja, said the Amnesty International report, which painted a very chilling picture of alleged brutal killing of peaceful protesters by the Nigerian Army was not only embarrassing to the country, but also cast doubts on the operational modus of the Nigeria military in handling civil protest in a constitutional democracy

Abaribe said the caucus resolved to insist that the reported killings must be investigated and those found culpable made to face the law.

Amnesty International in a report on Wednesday said that an analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gathering between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently showed that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse the crowd of IPOB members.

AI also claimed in the report that it also found evidence of mass extra-judicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.

Abaribe said: “It is not enough for the Nigeria military to debunk the report, we as a caucus demand an independent inquiry in the mould of a judicial panel and urgently too. It is our candid view that such panel would reassure the Igbo that the federal government is alive to its responsibilities one of which is the protection and respect of the fundamental rights of all people irrespective of tribe or religion. Unraveling the authenticity of the report would help to prevent a reoccurrence just as it will engender unity in our country. But the most important to us now is that the report must be probed and those implicated must be made to face justice.”