Rights Groups Decry Military Occupation of S/East, Desecration of Ojukwu Statue

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•N500m collected from illegal roadblocks monthly

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The South East-based Coalition of Human Rights Organisations (SBCHRO) has decried what it described as military occupation of the South Eastern part of the country and provocative desecration of late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s statue.

The group, in a statement on Thursday by the Board Chairman of Intersociety, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, raised the alarm on the deployment of more Nigerian Army battalions and war-like heavy equipment to all the strategic roads in the southeast.

Umeagbalasi stated that Igbo travellers and road users have reported what looked like laying of siege by the military to boundary posts along Imo-Abia and Port Harcourt axis; Enugu (Nsukka)-Benue (Oturpa) axis; Anambra (Onitsha Niger Bridgehead)-Delta (Asaba) axis; and Ebonyi (Abakiliki)-Enugu axis.

Citing the recent Amnesty International (AI) report, he claimed that the Nigerian security forces deployed on South East roads since July/August 2015 and May 2016 killed between 150 and 250 defenceless citizens or more and injured over 300 others”.

Umeagbalasi also cited the Intersociety report of December 2015,  claiming that “a total of N1.03 billion was illicitly collected and pocketed by the personnel and authorities of the Nigeria Police Force from 750 roadblocks mounted on Southeast Roads between  October 21 and December 21, 2015; on average of N500 million per month”.