Tag Archives: soldiers

BREAKING: 5 killed as army invade Orlu, burn 10 buildings, church over IPOB security

Operatives of the Nigerian Army on Monday again attacked residents of Okporo, Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, killing about five persons.

Jungle Journalist Media Ltd can confirm that many persons were also injured when the soldiers stormed the community suspected to be the operational base of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) security outfit, Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The attack by the soldiers was said to be a reprisal after members of the ESN engaged them in a shootout last Friday.
It was gathered that one person died at the community market square during the security operation last Friday.

Also, about 10 buildings, including a church, Blessed Holy Trinity Sabbath Mission, were allegedly set ablaze by the soldiers.

“They came back today and started killing our people, I can’t confirm the number of casualties now but they are more than five. They were here last Friday and killed one person at the market square.

About 10 buildings were also burnt by these masked security agents on Friday.

“Imo State is not safe presently; Governor Hope Uzodinma shouldn’t allow soldiers to kill all his people,” a source said.

IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had in December 2020 launched ESN to protect the people of South-East and South-South regions from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.

Kanu described the outfit as a replica of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, earlier launched by the governors of the South-West to curb insecurity in the region.

“The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as Eastern Security Network is to halt every criminal activity and terrorist attack on Biafraland,” Kanu had said.

“This outfit, which is a vigilante group like the Amotekun in the South-West and the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will ensure the safety of our forests and farmland which terrorists have converted into slaughter grounds and raping fields.”

He added that the establishment of the security outfit became necessary following what he described as the “failure” of the governors of the South-South and South-East to put in place measures to protect the people in those regions.

Earlier reports had it that the Nigerian Army had deployed combat helicopters, gun trucks and soldiers to search some forests in the South-East states where the ESN was suspected to be camping.

The military search had been ongoing for days, and had no time frame, as the army was acting on “orders from above.”
From drones and hidden cameras believed to be installed by the ESN, a video captured the Nigerian Army helicopters and their vehicles and soldiers searching for the camp of the ESN to make arrests.

Recently, it was learnt that some Nigerian soldiers resigned and joined the ESN, on the grounds that the ESN, being funded by both international and local donors, had better welfare packages for its officers than the military.

“The Kanu ESN boys are not a bunch of rookies and untrained fellows brandishing guns. I personally know five guys from my hometown in Anambra State who left the Nigerian Army to join the ESN. Two of them were formerly serving in Operation Lafiya Dole, Borno State, before they quit.

“We are being reliably informed that there are other soldiers, particularly of the South-East extraction, who will soon leave for other various reasons and they are likely to be recruited into the fold,” a military source stated.

In July 2012, about 356 soldiers in the North-East and other theatres of operation had resigned from the army – some on voluntary retirement, while others cited loss of interest as their reason for disengagement.

The soldiers had written to the army chief, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, on July 3, 2020, under Reference NA/COAS/001, quoting the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service soldiers/rating/airmen (Revised) 2017.

The approval of the voluntary disengagement of the 356 soldiers was contained in a 17-page circular from Buratai, AHQ DOAA/G1/300/92, signed by Brig Gen T.E. Gagariga for the army chief.
Again, this January, another batch of 127 soldiers resigned from the Nigerian Army and are due to leave by May.

They comprised one Master Warrant Officer, three Warrant Officers, 22 Staff Sergeants, 29 Sergeants, 64 Corporals, seven Lance Corporals and one Private.

A cross-section of Nigerians criticised the Nigerian Army for deploying aircraft and gun trucks to locate Kanu’s ESN camp, saying it was a misplaced priority in the security challenges facing the country.

A few others, however, supported the military saying the ESN could become a regional security threat since the South-East governors had also dissociated themselves from the outfit.

On Twitter, several Nigerians believed that the military action was a misplaced priority and such enthusiasm and energy were not seen in the North-East against the Boko Haram terrorists nor against the bandits in the North-West.

To Kwara Govt: Alleged Killing of 5 Drivers By Soldiers In Kwara And The Need For Justice

By Busy Brain

My heart bleeds profusely as I could not hold back the tears rolling down from my eyes when I read the news of five (5) drivers allegedly killed by Soldiers at Ilesa Baruba, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State.

On what condition should innocent souls whose daily food revolve around their daily income be murdered cheaply, leaving their family and beloved ones into deep agony and somberness.

News Agency of Nigeria reported earlier that five commercial drivers were shot dead by soldiers in a dispute over N200 bribe.

NAN, quoting sources in the area said the incident was triggered off by a driver who refused to pay the usual N200 “booking” bribe to soldiers at a checkpoint they mounted Ilesha-Baruba/Chikanda highway.

The driver reportedly told the soldiers that he had already ‘booked’ earlier in the morning.

But the claim was said to have infuriated the soldiers who subsequently slapped and ordered the driver to do frog jumps.

According to the sources, the vehicle was also seized.

The driver later left the spot and complained to officials of the transport union in the area.

NAN learned that members of the union subsequently followed the driver to talk to the soldiers on his behalf.

This however allegedly degenerated into unpleasant arguments, leading to the alleged shooting of some drivers with three allegedly dying on the spot and two dying later from gunshot wounds.

The peak of brutality and wickedness displayed from the above reports have portrayed the Kwara State Government as one who cares less about justice for the civilians. The gong to demand justice should have started clanging since the day of that gory incident by Kwara State Government. This reminds me of Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum. The man that would never watch his people killed extrajudicially. Had the incident happened in Borno, Prof. Zulum would have dragged the killer soldiers and called them out for justice to reign. It is a message to the Kwara State Govt to act beyond condolence messages to the deceased families and the paramount ruler of Ilesha Baruba Kingdom and press for justice.

Although, many things have gone wrong in Nigeria and the personnel charged with the sole responsibility of protecting lives have been killing innocent like fowls without concrete justice for the victims.

Like many other extrajudicial killings that had happened in the past, here is another version in Kwara State, and the justices in our court have journey traveled to exile in Nigeria. As I pray for the soul of the deceased to rest in peace, I equally pray for our justices to come back and rescue us. Justice must be served.

Don’t only read it, share it as well for Justice.

Busy Brain Writes From Maiduguri

CC:

National Assembly
Kwara State Government
Nigerian Army
NHRC
NUJ

Wike: The Gunshots Persist, by Odimegwu Onwumere

Your Excellency, The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike. Greetings, Sir.

I come to you again with a heart full of tears after my earlier open letter to you begging of you to oversee to the motiveless shootings in parts of Rivers State to immobility. Within hours of that letter, the tears of residents have gone up than they were especially in a place like Oyigbo.

We are inundated with information from residents of that area that they doubt if the unjustifiable shootings are really those from the security agents or some external intruders are using the opportunity to cash in and take over Oyigbo.

Many of the residents have fled their homes. Please, for the sympathy of the living, do make peace. This is more than the alleged hoodlums taking over the #EndSARS protest but something is fishing out from the cupboard concerning the fate of Oyigbo in this time of uncertainties.

Rivers residents – whether born natives or visitors – cannot afford to lose any part of Rivers state to any tribe, whose sole aim is to cleanse a people and occupy their ancestral homes. Some information from a place like Rumukwurushi is that there is a particular people who are guarded by those who were supposed to protect all; and the people are hiding under the cover of the protection they enjoy unleashing mayhem on the residents of Rumukwurushi. The same is applicable to Oyigbo.

Sir, you might not notice what is happening across the state at the same time except for such information like this. You have to try to save the state that you love from falling in the hands of a people who never meant well for us. You have to read history from ancient gallery and stop the neo-ethnic cleansing that is well written bold on the wall in guise of #EndSARS protest.

In a plain language, sir, Oyigbo without a doubt has fallen in the hands of wrong people while many still believe that the gunshots were only from the security agents. No. You need to act now else every genuine person living in Oyigbo and some parts of Port Harcourt will wake up from memories’ grave. It would be sacrilegious that we are dead in Rivers state while our homes are taken over by the cold-blooded killers.

In war, it is certain that the end will come but ordinary people are not certain of surviving that long. I am not pointing finger at any person but no man would stand and watch his enemies hide under the cover of security agents to unleash terror for the purpose of either vendetta or land grabbing. And if you don’t act now, parts of Rivers state may be in the hands of the enemies yet we misconstrue the gunshots as those from the ‘genuine’ security agents. Let the year 2020 not be the year we are regressing back to 1700 when lords governed fiefdoms. Someone might not be a robber but if such a person goes to the bank like a robber, he or she would be labeled a robber.

Some persons have dressed like robbers in Rivers state. They don’t care to know that time of acquiring territories by force is gone and we cannot afford to stand on the shadow of the keep. Our state cannot be taken over by force, by any tribe. You need not fold your hands because there will be no excuses and no exceptions should these shootings persist. Watch if the enemies are close, hiding under the #EndSARS brouhaha.

Your Excellency, it would be better that I slap your face with words today in lieu of you waking up tommorrow and notice that your grandparents graves have become home for people who did not buy them from you and who do not mean well to you, either.
There are screams and cry ongoing in a place like Oyigbo. It is not too late to check who are causing the residents of that area to cry. The residents can barely breathe. Don’t allow the door to slam against the wall.

The presence of heavy security men in Oyigbo and in some parts of Rivers state is not a shield. Gunshots are locating the residents more that the presence of the security agents could protect them. This has spurred my suspicion if the town has not fallen in the hands of enemies to kill as many residents as possible while we presume all happening are part of the wave from the #EndSARS uproar oblivious that some people with ulterior motive are bent to take our ancestral land.

The door is open to bring about the needed peace which that part of the state facing heavy presence of gunshots need. How can a people’s right be intruded? The language of gun is not smooth. Let the soldiers not make the residents believe that they are the injured party whereas the residents cannot tell for sure where the sporadic gunshots are coming from and the military Code of Conduct is not observed.

Sane soldiers do not wave unlocked gun recklessly in the midst of civilians. Unguided bullets flying everywhere. Sir, the language of gun is not smooth, not a political agenda. Therefore it is time you introduced and enforced basic human rights this time. Residents cannot afford to walk in their underwear and none knows it were intruders greeting them in the language of gun.

Yes. Oyigbo might not be a city but there are a people who see her as paradise. So, make sure you find out why farmers cannot go to farm because their crops are eaten by human-guided-animals and they are killed if they complain. The same thing is happening to every resident under the #EndSARS hijacked-show-of-shame.

Your Excellency, the grumbling across the state is getting out of hand. Maybe, you have to walk the towns if your security intelligence was not seeing too well. No legitimate child deserves to be called an infidel in his paternal home. The gunshots in Oyigbo are irritating pretense that Rivers state is still in the #EndSARS era. Some people have taken over that era flaunting dangerous folly. I had no difficulty in restraining myself but had to write you in order to stop this stupid importance it has become to a people to desert residents with gunshots at the Haunting Hour which is now their bloody manifesto.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a multiple award-winning journalist based in Rivers state. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Soldiers take over streets of Abuja due to #EndSARS protests

The Nigerian Army has deployed soldiers to several parts of Abuja to curtail the violent outcome of the EndSARS protests.

Soldiers have been deployed to the streets of Abuja and stationed in strategic places to arrest the escalating #EndSARS protests.

According to media reports, this development is coming amid protests by Nigerians who have been demanding for an end to police brutality and comprehensive reforms of the Nigerian Police Force.

The protests, which have been ongoing for about 2 weeks across the country, have in some cases gone out of hand in Abuja with suspected hoodlums attacking #EndSARS protesters as well as pro-SARS groups.

The situation has led to clashes that left several persons injured with vehicles and other property damaged.

There have been reports that a protester, who was stabbed by one of such hoodlums, died in a hospital.

Army arrests soldiers in viral video threatening to rape Warri women

The Nigerian Army has confirmed the arrest of the soldiers in a viral video threatening to rape women in Warri, Delta State.

It said the personnel were arrested on Friday evening at 9 Brigade Ikeja Military Cantonment in Lagos State.

The Nigerian Army confirmed the arrest of the soldiers in a statement via its verified Twitter handle.

The irate soldiers had threatened to molest Warri women over alleged beating of two military men following the killing of a 28-year-old Joseph Pessu by a soldier on Thursday.

But the Nigerian Army in the state said it had commenced investigation of the soldiers and appropriate sanction will be meted out to the officers at the end of its investigation.

According to it, “Soldiers in a viral video using uncouth and uncivilized language purportedly threatening to molest women in Warri Delta State were arrested at 9 Brigade Ikeja Military Cantonment Lagos State today 3 April 2020 and further investigation is ongoing.

“The general public should be assured that the investigations will be swift and fair in accordance with applicable military laws. The outcome of the investigations will determine the most appropriate disciplinary measures that can be taken in the circumstances.”

The statement stressed that the army will not tolerate any act of indiscipline by its personnel.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it would not tolerate any form of irresponsibility and indiscipline on the part of any of its personnel”, he added.

Tribute to our gallant soldiers, alive or dead

We both left Home at 18.

You cleared JAMB

I got Recommended.

You got UNIVERSITY,

I got NDA.

You Pursued your Degree,

I had the Toughest Training.

Your Day started at 7 and Ended at 5,

Mine started at 4 till 9 and

Some nights also included.

You had your Convocation Ceremony,

I had my POP.

Best Company took you and

Best Package was Awarded,

I was Ordered to join my Platoon

With 2 Stars Piped on my Shoulders.

You got a JOB,

I got a way of LIFE.

Every Eve you got to see your Family,

I just wished I got to see my Parents soon.

You Celebrated Festivals with Lights and Music,

I Celebrated with my Comrades in Bunkers.

We both Married,

Your Wife got to see you everyday,

My Wife just wished I was Alive.

You were sent to Business Trips,

I was sent on Line of Control.

We both returned,

Both Wives couldn’t control their Tears, but

You Wiped her but,

I couldn’t.

You hugged her but,

I couldn’t.

Because I was Lying in the Coffin,

With Medals on my Chest and,

Coffin Wrapped with Tricolor.

My way of Life Ended,

Yours Continued .

We both left home at 18.

Dedicated to every soldier and uniformed person out there, we don’t understand what you do and the sacrifices you make, but know that we are eternally grateful!

Army burn down Benue town for killing of soldier

Army burn down Benue town for killing of soldier

Some of the houses smoldering

Men of the Nigerian army have admitted burning down the town of Naka, Gwer West local government area of Benue state on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

The army said the action was in retaliation for the killing of a soldier by a local mob.

According to information, the soldiers burnt down several houses and destroyed properties worth millions during the raid that had residents running for their lives.

Another house burnt down

An elderly citizen was killed in the fire that engulfed one of the buildings.

Francis Ayagah, who is the Chairman of the LGA, said the attack by the soldiers was in revenge of the killing of one of their colleague, identified as Private Danlami Gambo, near the community on Wednesday, April 18.

A house in Naka after the fire

He said, “A soldier was killed by hoodlums yesterday, but I met with the brigade commander around 4:30 a.m. today. He gave me a list of suspects and we arrested five of them overnight. It was while we trying to take them to the brigade that soldiers stormed the town and started burning houses.

Residents count their losses

“A whole part of the town has been completely burnt down and we’re appealing for help and understanding from the soldiers.”

A statement by the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, Major Olabisi Ayeni, revealed that the slain soldier had been killed and buried in a shallow grave by some youths in Naka.

The statement read, “On 18 April 2018, at about 3:30 pm, troops of 707 Sf Brigade deployed at Naka in Gwer West LGA of Benue State observed the absence of PTE Danlami Gambo from his duty post. The soldier’s rifle was however found at the location.

Another house in the town

“It was gathered that the soldier was last seen receiving a phone call but left in search of network and did not return. Troops immediately conducted patrols to search for the soldier during the search, at about 6.10 pm, our troops observed blood stains along a footpath leading to a newly dug grave.

“They immediately dug out the grave and the dead body of the missing soldier was found butchered. The corpse was later exhumed and deposited at the Nigerian Air Force mortuary, Makurdi.”

He further explained that investigations showed that some locals were involved in the killing which led to the dispatch of a team of troops that effected the arrest of some suspects.

Niger Delta Avengers are giants, Nigerian Army cannot fight them -soldier

A soldier who claimed that he was among 52 kidnapped by the Niger Delta Avengers earlier this year have said that the Avengers militants he came face to face with are nothing like any humans he has ever met in actual life. 

He said that they are actually about 10 to 12 feet in height, and very heavily built. The soldier who didn’t give his name also informed our reporter that the Nigerian Army does not have the kind of weapons needed to fight the militants, and even if they do, cannot face the fierce, fiery looking men who abducted him and other 51 soldiers and held them for two weeks.
The soldier claimed that he was with 51 other soldiers, all of southern extraction save for one, and were sent to the creeks of Delta State to search for the militants and arrest them. “While we were moving, we didn’t really know exactly what happened, and all we heard is ‘drop your weapons!’ Then we saw them. They were giants. They were so large and fearful-looking, and they carried very large guns. Each of these guns can only be lifted by three soldiers, but each of them held one. My brother, they can break you like a stick”. 
He further added that the militants took them to their camp, and allowed them to stay with them for two weeks. They also fed them, and returned their guns to them at the end of the two weeks. 
“They returned our guns to us. They also gave us a comfortable sum of money and referred to us as ‘hungry Nigerian soldiers’. They said we should use the money to cater for our needs because the army is not paying us enough and we needed the money”. 
When asked how the militants can be defeated, based on his observations, he said; “those people cannot be defeated. At least not by the Nigerian Army or any army like ours. Those guns, each of them had one, and the ones who arrest us alone are about 200. But there are less than 50 of such sophisticated guns in the whole nation. That’s probably why the president was begging them to take it easy with the bombings”.
The soldier also said that the only non-southern soldier that went with them on that mission was killed by the militants. 
“When we were brought in to their camp, they began to ask us where we hailed from. Each of us mentioned our states of origin. But when the young soldier said he is a northerner, they picked him up and dumped him into a giant pot of boiling oil. I felt pity for him. Me, if I have a chance, I will join those boys”, the soldier ended. 

from Blogger http://bit.ly/29bBmd3

How soldiers massacred ‎120 in Onitsha, 29 in Asaba on May 30

A week after the slaying of pro-Biafra demonstrators in Onitsha, details of how the mass killing was coordinated by security forces has emerged.

PREMIUM TIMES has obtained an insider account by a whistleblower, who is an operative of the State Security Service. The same whistleblower had reached out and provided vital information to two human rights organization, the Amnesty International and the Intersociety for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law.

Blowing the whistle the operative, who was part of the security joint operation but is now disturbed by the manner soldiers “refused to play by the rule”, contacted a trusted human rights activist. The identity of the whistleblower is being concealed so he is not punished by the authorities. His recorded narrative is however in the possession of this newspaper. The whistleblower stated that the operation started with medium use of force on the night of May 29.

The following morning, the joint task force moved from the Onitsha Army Barracks to the rally venue on Nkpor-Umuoji Road only to find a crowd of pro-Biafra supporters who had been battered the night before by invading soldiers in the premises of St Edmunds Catholic Primary School. The crowd, joined by newcomers, was by now in a resistance mood. At that point the JTF retreated to Onitsha Military Barracks.

The retreat infuriated Cantonment Commander, Issah M. Abdullahi, a colonel, who ordered them back to clear the venue and roads of all “miscreants.” With this firm directive, the JTF, dominated by soldiers and led by Major C.O. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Military Police, stormed the streets and the event venue. The rest is history. The whistleblower said that while other members of the JTF were minimizing the use of force, soldiers recklessly opened fire at crowds, shooting at close range, and “wasting people indiscriminately.” Passersby and people in their homes and shops were not spared of stray bullets, the SSS operative said.

He said it got to a point where injured pro-Biafra supporters, seeing the countless bodies of their colleagues on the ground, opened their arms wide, advanced towards the soldiers screaming that they too should be killed. Three military trucks were used to cart away heaps of dead bodies. According to the whistleblower, there are two cemeteries inside the Onitsha Army Barracks. Though reserved for fallen soldiers, victims of the massacre were buried in the cemetery close to Yahweh Church, inside the barracks. The whistleblower added that in the evening of the same day when everyone thought the dust had settled, JTF operatives invaded the Nnewi Teaching Hospital and to the fury of nurses, abducted 12 gunshot victims and seven of their relations looking after them.

The 19, including women, were brought before the Commissioner of Police, Hosea Karma. He claimed that the commissioner accused the 19 of threatening the security of the state. He would however order that the wounded men be returned to the hospital while their family members be taken away by SARS for interrogation. Human rights activists familiar with police tactics in Nigeria say that interrogation by SARS is a euphemism for torture. Continuing his narrative, the whistleblower said that on June 2, two days after the massacre, soldiers stormed the Nnewi hospital and arrested eight of the 12 critical injured men the commissioner had earlier sent back to hospital.

Their whereabouts remain unknown. PREMIUM TIMES separately gathered that on June 3, five men with serious bullet wounds were transferred by soldiers from Onitsha Army Barracks to the State CID and dumped inside a cell without any medical attention. We are unable to ascertain if the five men were among the eight abducted from Nnewi Teaching Hospital the day before. The name of one of the abducted men is given as Ugoo K.C. As the news spread that soldiers had invaded the Nnewi Teaching Hospital, gunshot victims in other hospitals begged their relations to move them to other states. Among those moved to Abia State were Chidi Nwigwe, Uchenna Odaa, Ezeaka Ejike, Chima Anamuasonye, Nwaowe John, Ifeanyi C. Azubuike and Ugochukwu Nnamu.

Those moved to Enugu included Ifeanyi Ogumma and Arinze Aja. Since the whistleblower’s account, human rights groups have worked their contacts in the various security outfits to check out the story. A security source, another SSS source and a military police source individually confirmed that a mass burial occurred in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 1 in a military cemetery, near Yahweh Church, inside the Onitsha Military Barracks. The military police source added that a total of 15 graves were prepared with some taking as many as 10 bodies while some contained only five.

To hell and back: an escapee experience

‘To hell and back’ is the only way to summarize the experience of Henry Ibebuike Enekwe, the 32-year old electrical engineer who was abducted by soldiers on his way to Enugu. News of Mr. Enekwe’s abduction was widely circulated by the human rights coalition called the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations. Recounting his ordeal, Mr. Enekwe, who is not an IPOB member, said he was on his way to Enugu from Onitsha to seal an electrical-installation contract with a Lagos-based businessman.

In the morning of the D-Day, May 30, 2016, he was abducted by soldiers and taken to the Onitsha Military Cantonment. “I live at Nkpor-Agu. The greatest shock of my live was witnessing the killing of three young men returning from early-morning mass in front of the street leading to St Edmunds Catholic Church Nkpor-Agu (Early-morning mass is a daily ritual for Catholic communities). I was arrested and thrown inside a military truck. I think the three young men panicked when they saw the soldiers waving their guns and barking. They attempted to run and right before my very eyes, the soldiers fired at them one after the other. They picked up their corpses and threw them like logs of wood into the same truck I was sitting inside. The soldiers moved from that street to another, arresting people and throwing them inside the same truck and killing others and picking up their bodies. They were acting like hunters on a hunting expedition.

“When we got to the barracks, I saw heaps of bodies on the ground. Those still breathing were dumped together with the dead. Another military vehicle brought in a new set of corpses. Later in the evening, all the corpses were taken in the direction of a nursery and primary school inside the barracks. I never saw anything again because we were taken into a cell,” Mr. Enekwe recounted.

While in captivity, Mr. Enekwe said he and other detainees were tortured every morning by soldiers. “The soldiers call it morning tea. They force us to lie on a long bench and flog you with koboko (horsewhip) till you begin to bleed. When blood comes out, they pour water on wounds and continue to flog you to bring out more blood. As they flogged us, they rain curses on our mothers, our fathers and our tribes,” Mr. Enekwe recalled.

In a little office filled with sympathizers, among them a PREMIUM TIMES reporter, Mr. Enekwe told human rights activists that in the night of Wednesday June 1, about 8.30pm, soldiers guarding his cell crudely announced to the detainees: “We don give your brothers mass burial today and if you people mess up, you will join them and nothing will happen.” The engineer further added that in the early hours of June 3, about 1.30am, soldiers came to his cell and moved some detainees, including six groaning with gunshot wounds. They were never returned to the cell till June 4, when he regained his freedom.

Mr. Enekwe said he was lucky to have come out of military detention alive. His rescue was made possible by family contacts within the SSS. It could not be confirmed but someone in the Ebonyi State Directorate of the SSS is believed to have contacted a senior SSS colleague in Anambra. He was told that his SSS savior came six times to the Onitsha military barracks but was each time told Mr. Enekwe was not in their custody.

Inefficient Human Right Desk

In February this year, the Nigerian Army announced the establishment of what it called the Army Human Right Desk. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, represented at the commissioning by the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs (CCMA), Rogers Nicholas, had said the establishment of the desk office was borne out of the increasing interest of the local and international human rights bodies on what the army was doing in the North East and other parts of the country. He had added that the human right desk was facilitated by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), assuring that the Nigerian Army under his leadership would investigate all cases of human rights complaints brought before it. That has not happened.

The litmus test was the invasion by soldiers same month of a prayer meeting inside the National High School Aba and the shooting dead of 22 unarmed pro-Biafra sympathizers whose bodies were later dumped in a borrow pit. The Army announced it had dispatched an investigation team to Aba but almost four months after, the outcome of the military investigation is yet to be made public.

Massacre on Heroes Day

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that May 30 every year is set aside since 1966 for remembrance of fallen heroes of Igbo Ethnic nationality. In 2014 and 2015 the day was marked in Enugu and Aba and by Igbo diaspora in Europe, America, Canada and some countries of Africa. Programme of events include lectures, church services and solemn procession. There are no street protests or armed activities. It was further gathered that Onitsha was chosen for this year’s celebration. An expanse of land along Nkpor-Umuoji Road, close to ALO Aluminum Industry Ltd, was chosen as venue. The land belongs to a cooperative run by a traders’ association which had acquired same for the building of residential houses by its members.

The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) showed this newspaper a copy of a notification letter addressed to and sent to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Hosea Karma, requesting security protection at the venue. The letter dated May 23, 2016 was signed on May 24, 2016 by Uchenna Asiegbu of the IOPB’s Directorate of State. A security source said the letter became the “working document” for counter-strategies against the Heroes Day celebration. In the night of May 29, the eve of the anniversary, blockades were mounted on all roads leading into Onitsha by soldiers, some of whom were said to have come from 82 Division Enugu.

The sealed roads were Onitsha-Owerri Expressway to stop IPOB/MASSOB supporters coming in from Imo, Abia, Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom States; the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway to prevent travelers coming in from Lagos, Edo and northern part of the country; and the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway to contain those arriving from Enugu, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, Benue and Kogi States. Innocent travellers and IPOB Sympathizers alike were allegedly pulled out of buses, verbally attacked, flogged with horsewhip and hit with the butt of the gun.

At the Delta end of the Niger Bridge, some passengers were shot at, arrested and taken away. Some night travellers, who were neither IPOB/MASSOB members nor aware of anything called Heroes Day were equally beaten up by soldiers. Not a few, including women and teenagers, had to run into the bush and remained there all night. The whistleblower told a trusted human rights campaigner that to the chagrin of anti-riot policemen and operatives of the SSS, rampaging soldiers “hijacked the security operation” kicking passengers, ordering them to lie face down on the dirt, shooting indiscriminately and mouthing ethnic slurs. Meanwhile IPOB/MASSOB supporters who had entered Onitsha before the blockades made their way to the venue of the Heroes Day celebration. In their hundreds they camped out in a primary school close to St. Edmunds Catholic Church at Nkpor-Agu.

The pro-Biafra supporters said that minutes before 2am when most of them were sound asleep, soldiers invaded the school, shooting into the crowd. Those who could run did so but that did not stop the bullets hitting them from behind. The exact number of people killed in the primary school or left with bullet wounds is difficult to tell as most of the victims had arrived from different states and did not particularly know one another. Survivors said the dead and some of the wounded were taken away in military trucks. Those arrested were packed into the same trucks carrying the dead and taken to the Onitsha Military Barracks.

The D-Day

In the morning of May 30, the D-Day, news of the killings of sleeping men at the school near St. Edmund Catholic Church had been heard in Onitsha, Asaba and different parts of the South East. In Onitsha, dozens of trucks and vans filled with soldiers in combat gears raced down major roads and streets. Any gathering of three or more people was at risk of being fired upon.

Shootings were recorded at hotspots in Onitsha and environs including Nkpor Junction, Eke-Nkpor –Umuoji road, Afor-Nkpor to Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, Flyover Bridge by New Parts Market, Ojoto- Umuoji road, Ifite-Dunu, Ogbunike and Ogidi. Following the blockade of every road leading to the event venue, the pro-Biafra leaders resorted to using mobile phones to coordinate their members. Thousands soon assembled simultaneously at three strategic spots: the Asaba-Abraka Junction by BridgeHead in Delta State, Ifite-Dunu and Ojoto/Umuoji. From these different spots, the three different crowds began to match into Onitsha with the open-air venue as destination. Not everyone made it to the Heroes Day venue.

Way before sunset, 14 critically injured citizens were writhing on the floor of the Nnewi Teaching Hospital, 15 at the Multicare Hospital in Nkpor and nine at St Mary’s Hospital, Nnewi. Several private hospitals, including the Crown Hospital and St Michael Hospitals in Nkpor were equally recipients of gunshot emergencies. Same for medical facilities in Asaba and Okija.

The Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Delta State, Charles Muka, had in a statement said that five members of the pro-Biafra group were killed by military officers after confrontations along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway. But that was only in Delta State. In the push from Delta into Anambra, two policemen were pushed into the River Niger.

One drowned, the other was rescued. A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) was stabbed to death in Onitsha. His name was given as Genesis Akagha. He was from Umu Ororonjo in Owerri Municipal, Imo State. Family members told PREMIUM TIMES that the late Mr. Akagha was just transferred to Sapele in Delta State and was to resume at his new post the same week he was killed. Victims’ identities IPOB and the human rights organization, the Intersociety, said no less than 29 civilians were killed in Asaba alone.

The Asaba victims included Ichoku Ndu, Ebere Obidike, Nwabueze Uzonna, Okey Roland, Chukwudi Ifenna, Isaac Uzochukwu, Eberima Aguh, Henry Gideon, Efion Apani, Abuchi Obi, Ozoemena Chukwuma, Lotenna Ifeajuna, Ifebuchi Okenwa, Wisdom Omota, Ejike Abunchukwu, Ozobu Ogbonna, Emeka Madueke, Paschal Gideon, Afam Onyeburu, Izu Onwubiewe, Okey Agubata, Celestine Nnamdi, Obieke Lotenna, Nwabueze Oti, Chijioke Ozoro, Nwadike Chibuzo, Azuka Ifeake, Chioma Nkemjika and Obiora Okonkwo.

PREMIUM TIMES also gathered that in addition to the Asaba casualties, killings recorded elsewhere in Onitsha and environs were as high as 90 deaths. Intersociety claims a death toll of over 120.

The names of some of the victims were given as Obi Nkemakonam, Ubani Nwenneakonam, Nwuzo Friday, Ilo Friday, Olisama Chukwuemeka, Awah Sopuruchi, Okoye Chinedu, Ezeilo Chuka, Onyeduna Ifesinachi, Nnamani Sunday, Chinonso Amadi, Tagbo Chibuzo, Anyanwu Chika, Egbe Johnson, Osukwe Ijeoma, Nkechukwu Ikechukwu, Kenneth Eni, Orjichukwu Chigozie, Solomon Izundu, Ebili Edward, Gabriel Onyedikachi, Ilo Ozoemena, Nwauju Charles, Onuoha Chidozie, Onyemaechi Nwaezeoma, Innocent Obodoekwe, Ifeanyi Azubuike, Adigwe Chukwudi, Ogochukwu Mbam, Obiosa Chukwueme, Ugochukwu Samuel, Onuoha Chigozie, Maduka Egwela, John Onuchukwu, Maduabuchi Onwukanjo, Izuchukwu Nwaogba, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Ibekwe Okechukwu, Felix Odianwu, Okafor Moses Madukasi and Egwu Joseph.

Like Tiananmen Square

Security operation of May 30 in Onitsha has variously been compared to the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China, in 1989. IPOB alleges ethnic cleansing and genocide. Heads of the different security units involved in the Heroes Day operations included Col Isah M. Abdullahi who is the Onitsha Military Cantonment Commander; Commissioner of Police, Hosea Karma; Major C.O. Ibrahim of the Nigerian Military Police at Onitsha Army Barracks; Deputy Commissioner of Police J.B. Kokomo, who is the deputy commissioner in charge of operations in the Anambra State Police Command; DCP Makama, Second–in-command, Anambra State Police Command; Assistant Commissioner of Police H. Ezekiel who is the Onitsha Area Commander; Superintendent of Police Rabiu Garba, the DPO of Fegge Police Station; Superintendent of Police, Mark Ijaradu of Inland Town police unit; CSP Kayode Olabanji of Okpoko police station. Officers of the Ogidi Police unit also participated in the security operations but PREMIUM TIMES was unable to confirm the identity of the Head of the unit.

Aside those killed or critically wounded, dozens of others have gone missing. Family members said they initially thought their missing relatives were among the over 100 people arrested and held in various detention facilities including the Onitsha Army Barracks, the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) at Awkuzu, the Nigerian Prisons in Onitsha and the State CID at Awka.

They have gone from one detention centre to another; visited hospitals and mortuaries yet cannot find their loved ones. Following the Heroes Day rally, soldiers and SARS operatives have routinely invaded homes at midnight, abducting men from their beds.

One of them is Chikezie Nwodo, a native of Enugu State. Human rights organizations working in the South East said that before the rally, over 600 people were documented to have been arrested, tortured and being held without trial in prisons in different parts of the country.

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KILLING OF SOLDIERS: You are turning Delta into a theatre of war, Okowa tells militants

Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has condemned the recent killing of Nigerian soldiers, and other civilians, who were on their legitimate assignments, in a houseboat attack, in Omadino, Warri South, Delta State, by suspected Militants.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, Governor Okowa noted that this killing was criminality carried too far as nothing justifies the taking of lives  of uniformed security men who are out to protect the common property of Nigerians.

“ Your activities could turn Delta state into a theatre of war and this portends great danger to the whole population aside from casting the image of the state as insecure and unfit for investment. We cannot, as a state, afford this rascality if we hope to make progress”, he said.
Governor Okowa, who recalled his earlier appeals on any aggrieved member of the society- including Niger Delta Militants, to embrace dialogue, observed that this informed the decision by his government to constitute an advocacy committee which went round the creeks and oil producing communities, in the last few weeks, to canvass support for a violence-free Delta- as a precondition for development.

Governor Okowa, who noted that no Society develops in an atmosphere of chaos and criminality and that  no government would fold its hands in the face of this high level of aggravation and utter disregard for the sanctity of human lives, called on Deltans to rally round government to bring the perpetrators to book.

“For the umpteenth time, I wish to call on well meaning people of Delta State to speak up and not only condemn the activities of these militants but also offer their best counsel and commitment towards resolving this crisis”. Governor Okowa said.

He extended the condolences of his family and the people of Delta State to the families of the victims and prayed God to grant them eternal rest while urging the security agencies to ensure that the culprits do not go scot free.
Governor Okowa also advised members of the Niger Delta Avengers to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving the crisis, adding that a peaceful and Secured Delta is what is needed for development to thrive.

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