David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A coalition of human rights groups in the South-east geo-political zone revealed that over 9,700 persons have lost their lives to extra-judicial killing under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in just one and a half years.
It expressed dissatisfaction that security agencies are constantly arresting unarmed civilians in the South-east, while groups like the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breaders Association have continued to be tolerated despite being a violent organisation.
The coalition which consists of 12 human rights group operating under the aegis South-east Based Coalition of Human Rights Organisation (SBCHROs), stated this yesterday in Onitsha, Anambra State, during a press briefing to mark the 68th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights in 2016.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, the Chairman Board of Trustees of the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law(InterSociety), who addressed journalists on behalf of the coalition, said, “The emergence of the Buhari administration in late May 2015 also led to spiral increase in State murders and terrorism.
“The Buhari administration’s high political terror, militarisation and militarism policies also led to multiplication of the country’s number of armed opposition groups; from about two before June 2015 to at least 18-20 in late 2016 with attendant increase in the inflow of illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) to about five million on average of about a SALW for every 40 Nigerians.”
The group gave a breakdown of the number of those who have lost their lives as, “The Shiite Muslim Movement (IMN) lost over 1,120 of its defenceless and unarmed members including 1,000 lost on December, 12 and 14, 2015 massacre.
“Over 30 were also lost on October 7, 2016 and over 80 lost on November 14, 2016. In the November 14, 2016 massacre, the IMN recovered only eight bodies and later discovered 34 mass graves in a certain location in Kano State, possibly containing two or more bodies in each of the 34 graves.
“Over 400 of its members are also victims of attempted murder. The IPOB and its supporters lost over 250 of its members and supporters on August 30 and December 2 and 17 2015 as well as January 18, 29 January, February 9 and 29 and May 30, 2016.
“Over 300 of its members are also victims of attempted murder. The 180 other slain members of the IMN and the IPOB technically represent dark figures of crime or unrecorded killings,” the coalition said.
Meanwhile, the trio of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu; leader of IPOB, Mr. Peter Obi; former governor of Anambra State and Dr Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Senate President of senate were named by the coalition as most distinguished personalities of the zone in 2016.
“Kanu in addition to renewal of the prestigious Prisoner-of-Conscience Award bestowed on him earlier this year; we have again resolved to name him as one of the three Igbo Distinguished Personalities of the Year 2016.
The groups involved included; International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), South-east Zone, Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Organization of Nigeria, and Global Rights & Development International.
Others are: Society Advocacy Watch Project, Anambra Human Rights Forum, Southeast Good Governance Forum, International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative, Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group) and CLO, Anambra State branch.