From October 2020 to June 2022, Nigerian soldiers and other security agents deployed to South East Nigeria raided 150 communities, burnt or destroyed 1,450 defenseless civilians’ homes, forced 51,000 out of their ancestral homes, killed 1,360, burnt, destroyed or looted property worth N57bn and caused N600bn trade and investment losses.
This is according to a report released Monday by an international civil society organization, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety).
In its report released from its headquarters in Onitsha, Anambra State, and signed by its principal officers, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche (Esquire) and Chidimma Udegbunam (Esquire), the CSO said the security forces caused this carnage following their eastern siege to battle separatist elements.
Adadainfo reports that following its special report of 19th January, 2022, accusing soldiers of the Nigerian Military of indiscriminate killing of defenseless civilians and burning and destruction of their property, the Nigerian Army on 20th January, 2022 issued a rejoinder denying responsibility and refused to investigate and fish out the perpetrators responsible and punish them to deter a repeat perpetration and occurrences, according to Intersociety.
Below is an excerpt of the ‘shocking disclosures’ contained in a new international documentary released by Intersociety:
“The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has successfully launched an international documentary, exposing how: soldiers of the Nigerian Military and others, including various Police Crack Squads and their allied Ebubeagu Government militias deployed in Igbo parts of Eastern Nigeria between Oct 2020 and June 2022 or in the past 20 months, raided 150 communities, burnt or destroyed 1,450 defenseless civilian homes, forced 51,000 out of their ancestral homes, killed 1,360, burnt or destroyed or looted civilian property worth N57 billion and caused N600 billion trade and investment losses, following the siege and atrocities.
“The thorough investigation and compilation of verified videos and photos into the burnings and related atrocities had lasted for six months (January to June 2022), following our special report of 19th January 2022. The Report had factually accused the soldiers of the Nigerian Military of indiscriminate killing of defenseless civilians and burning and destruction of their property; brazenly and hatefully perpetrated outside the law and with impunity.
“The Nigerian Army on 20th January 2022, issued a rejoinder, denying responsibility and refusing to investigate and fish out the perpetrators responsible and punish them severely to deter repeat perpetration and occurrences. The gathered photos and videos used had included those from other news reports and commentaries derived from Nigerian Military’s field operations in Eastern Nigeria and other parts of the country since 2015.”
The international documentary, which, according to Intersociety, was launched on Sunday night, July 17, 2022, attracted several international media reporters, commentators and others, including local and international observers and activists and which identified some key perpetrators to include some senior military officers and Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.
The report continues: “Consequently, the international documentary was launched internationally last night (17th July, 2022, at 8pm Nigerian time) through virtual conference anchored by the Njenje Media International, UK; lasting for about one hour. The international presentation of the documentary had scholars like John Gregg and Amadiebube Mbama, as co-hosts; and attracted several international media reporters, commentators, diplomats, Igbo, Nigerian leaders in Diaspora and other local and international observers and activists.
“The documentary identified key perpetrators to include Brig General Raymond Utsaha, Brigade Commander of the 34 Brigade, Obinze, near Owerri, Imo State who was the 34 Brigade Commander from March 2021 to March 2022; Brig General Sani Suleiman, new Brigade Commander of the 34 Brigade since March 2022. Others are Col Abdulkarim B. Usman, Cantonment Commandant, Onitsha 302 Army’s Artillery Regiment/General Support since 2021, Major Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu since 2021 and Gov Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.”
The group consequently appealed for an end to military siege, burnings and killings, lamenting that “it saddens our heart that no single perpetrator of the referenced horrendous crimes had been held to account by the present Government of Nigeria since its inception in 2015.”