Wednesday, 10th June 2020 – Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria
Government Is Panicking: Nigerian central seat of power, the Presidency, is obviously panicking and trivializing the ongoing genocide against Christians in Nigeria. The Presidency is also deliberately diverting the attention of the international community over same. By the international statement released on Sunday, 7th June 2020, the body language of the country’s Presidency is clearly understood and has internationally confirmed its ‘inability and unwillingness’ to stop the anti Christian butcheries, fish out the perpetrators and have them punished. The statement also ended up exposing the remorselessness, complicity and inactivity of the Presidency.
Killing Of Christians Beyond “Igbo-Biafra Affair”: Reducing the facts laden genocide against Christians in Nigeria to ‘IPOB’s 85,000 GBP monthly international sponsorship and conspiracy against the Federal Government of Nigeria’, is a clear indication of how remorseless and unrepentant the Presidency is, concerning the referenced butcheries. It further shows Government’s affront and total disregard to sanctity of human lives and their dignity of human person, particularly those of the butchered and mutilated Christians. It is also an attempt to reduce the anti Christian butcheries to ‘ethnic or Igbo-Biafra affair’.
Presidency Has Failed In Its Int’l Commitments & Made Mockery Of Same: There has been total negligence, disregard and undermining by the Presidency, of Nigeria’s commitments to the African Union and the United Nations. The Presidency’s statement specifically constitutes a threat to the Purposes of the United Nation and its international peace and security. This is on account of the hopelessness of the statement; with capacity to embolden the perpetrators to kill more and encouraging the victims’ communities and threatened others to resort to ‘self help’ defensive methods. The statement also exposes the ‘willingness’ of the country’s Presidency to sit by and allow the country to explode into ‘complex humanitarian catastrophes or emergencies’-whereby the control capacities of the AU, the UN, the West and their humanitarian and crisis management agencies will be overstretched, if Nigeria exploded into full scale or widespread religious violence.
Treaty Laws Observed In Breach: Nigeria has signed and ratified or domesticated the following international rights, security and humanitarian treaties and protocols (treaty laws); but have them substantially observed in breach. They include the UN Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights of 1976; the UN anti Genocide and Torture Conventions of 1948 and 1985; the UN Convention for Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance of 2009; UN Women & Child Rights Conventions of 1984 and 1990; the UN Statute on Refuge of 1951; the Int’l Criminal Court of 1998; UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials of 1979 and UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force & Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials of 1990. Others are the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948; the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981 and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People of 2007 and the Geneva Conventions or Laws of War of 1949, enacted to regulate inter State and intra State conflicts and treatment of non combatants including refugees and IDPs affected by intra and inter State conflicts.
Breach Of The Int’l Principle Of Complementarity: Under the International Law especially the Rome Statute for Int’l Criminal Court, ratified by Nigeria in Sept 2001, Nigeria is obligated, under ‘the Principle of Complementarity and No Impunity’ not to shield state actor and non state actor perpetrators of atrocity crimes such as ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ perpetrated under no situations of intra state warfare and ‘War Crimes’ perpetrated under situations of warfare; but to ensure that they are fished out and brought to justice using local criminal legislations and courts. From available records and evidence, the two sets of heinous crimes are substantially perpetrated in Nigeria especially under the current central Government. The Principle, on the other hand, directs firmly that whereby the country becomes ‘unable’ and ‘unwilling’ to have the perpetrators fished out and brought to justice, the Nigerian Government must fish them out and hand them over to the ICC or allow and cooperate with the ICC at ensuring that they are fished out and made to face international trials at The Netherlands. It is sad to say that this grand Principle has been grossly observed in breach.
Rights Abuse Somewhere Threatens Human Rights Everywhere: We had expected the Presidency in its statement to show genuine concerns over the anti Christian butcheries and expressed profound gratitude to all those that have forensically documented the butcheries and spoken out. They include local and international rights and religious NGOs and the media; the internationally respected persons including politico-legislative actors and diplomats; as well as local and international Christian leaders and leaders of the victims’ communities (i.e. Adara Dev Association and SOKAPU in Southern Kaduna and Berom Nationality in Plateau, etc). The Presidency also pretended to be unmindful of the fact that human rights concerns are jealously guided and can be likened to a famous Chinese adage that says “it does not matter whether a cat is tall or short, fat or tin, black or white, as long as it catches a rat”.
In other words, Human Rights are globally indivisible and indissoluble and a violation of them or any of them somewhere is a threat to them everywhere. Issues of Human Rights are also beyond borders, boundaries, rivers and oceans, cultures, political territories and religions. Human Rights are better practically explained and understood using the Abraham Maslow’s Fundamental Human Needs Theory. In Nigeria, there presently exists in the country’s Human Rights Enforcement a principle of ‘Be your neighbor’s keeper or watchdog’. In the enforcement of Section 46 of the 1999 Constitution under the Chapter IV or Fundamental Human Rights, issues of ‘biological locus’ as mandatory ground for parties instituting rights abuse court cases have been laid to rest or expanded to include ‘any concerned body or individual citizen can sue’.
Local & Int’l NGOs Are Also Victims Of Jihadism In Nigeria: By the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime & Abuse of Office (1985): “victims of Crime and Abuse of Office are persons, who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within member-States, including those laws prohibiting abuse of power. The victims include, where necessary, the immediate family or dependant of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist people in distress or to prevent victimization”.
Presidency Cannot Beat A Child & Ask Him Not To Cry: The Presidency should have in its international statement admitted its colossal failure at addressing the killings with a firm promise to make amend including going hard on the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen who have been responsible for most of the anti Christian killings particularly in Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue where the Jihadists kill, maim, abduct, rape, rob, loot, plunder, seize, occupy, possess, rename and religiously convert at will with impunity and under state cover. The Presidency’s statement is nothing but ‘beating a child and threatening him not to cry’. The Presidential statement was also an indirect way of describing Nigeria as ‘a zoo or animal kingdom’; a sort of ‘Hobbesian state of nature’ where the mighty rule and crush the weak, making life short, nasty and brutish and the society riotous and anarchical.
Foundation Of Presidency’s Journey To Nowhere: It is on record that the present Nigerian Government murdered sleep when after grabbing the country’s Presidency in late May 2015, it introduced and institutionalized ‘Fulani governance style’ instead of governing the country conventionally and pluralistically. This is more so when Nigeria is a country of 200 million citizens, 386 ethnic nationalities and multi-religiously and culturally composed. Nigeria also has 36 States and 774 Local Government Areas. For purpose of running limited government governed by Democracy and Social Contract Doctrine, “Chapter 11” or Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy was enshrined in the 1999 Constitution; likewise Section 14 (3) for purpose of preventing lopsided composition of key federal offices or domination of same by a particular ethno-religious section.
Section 10 was also enshrined to prevent adoption of a particular religion as ‘State religion’. It is in defiance of these multi socio-religious compositions and multi socio-political friendly constitutional provisions that the Buhari Presidency came up with unwillingness to practically govern the country with the subsisting Constitution of 1999 and other compatible body of laws. Instead, the central Government discretely adopted what looked like ‘sentiments and biases’ and ‘self help’ methods as its governance modes. This is to the extent that the country’s Constitution is now applied or enforced selectively or according to whims and caprices of the country’s present leaders. Although the Constitution (1999) as it is, is not a perfect document, but it is likened to “worst civilian government being better than the best military regime”.
Jihadist Fulani Killings As ‘Legitimate Policy’: The worst of it all is that the Government of Nigeria does not listen to informed opinions, pieces of good advice and constructive criticisms offered. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian Government wears the sackcloth of impunity and incorrigibility, to the extent it does not see the atrocity crimes as ‘leadership failures’, or ‘governmental anomalies’, or ‘atrocities by its affiliated renegades and their patrons in its corridors of power’. Rather, these conduct atrocities are seen and treated by Presidency as ‘a legitimate policy”; the same way the West regarded ‘Atlantic Slave Trade’ of 1441 to 1888 as “legitimate trade”. Totality of these explains why it is like hitting the rock advising the present Government or getting same to change and make amend. Graphic examples abound; with Southern Kaduna as one-where no fewer than 116 defenseless Christians have been hacked to death by the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen since the beginning of Jan 2020 with over sixty others still missing. The Jihadist Herdsmen have also killed not less than 500 defenseless Christians since the beginning of this year or past five months. This is on average of 100 defenseless Christian deaths per month. The Nigerian Presidency is so conspiratorial or inactive that the Jihadists now operate unchecked. They have moved further southward where they were recently surveyed and found to have violently occupied not less than 400 Igbo communities and villages.
Gov Ganduje Of Kano State Says It All: Just few days ago, the Governor of Kano State in Northwest Nigeria, Mr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje confirmed officially that the “Presidency has opened the country’s borders and allowed the ‘Herdsmen’ from neighboring African countries to enter massively and settle in Nigeria with arms or assault rifles; resulting in (religious) killings’. The worried Governor who governs the country’s largest Muslim State, also called on the Federal Government to stop and discontinue with the policy. With all these said we still wonder why the Presidency has decided to go ahead and make international mockery of itself in the referenced statement.
Presidency’s Int’l Sponsorship Blackmail Is Dead On Arrival: On the issue concerning the Presidency’s allegation of international and ‘IPOB’ sponsorship of “Christian NGOs”, we are not surprised. It is a tragedy in Nigeria that those in the position of leadership are never interested in rendering leadership services, but to rapaciously enrich themselves through state coffers (borrowed and generated public funds). To them ‘leadership position is all about how much that enters your pocket from Government coffers’ and not the amount or quantum of leadership services rendered to the citizenry. These explain why they see the legitimate activities and services rendered by independent bodies including rights and democracy NGOs as “sponsored”. Because every aspect of their public office dealings is heavily monetized or quantified in monetary terms, they see any other societal service as ‘sponsored’.
Amnesty International Was Also Falsely Labeled & Accused: The Nigerian Government’s frivolous accusation of respected local and int’l rights and democracy NGOs as ‘being sponsored’ has become widespread and its trademark to the extent that Amnesty International has consistently been threatened and accused of “supporting Boko Haram and ISWAP and their terrorist activities against the Nigerian State” or “being sponsored by local and int’l terrorist organizations” including Boko Haram, ISWAP and ISIL. There has also been state actor clandestine sponsorship of hired protests against the internationally respected human rights watchdog as well as Government sponsored publications against the group. One of such recent malicious publications is contained in the link below: https://globalsentinelng.com/2020/05/31/how-isis-al-qaeda-affiliates-manipulate-amnesty-international-other-ngos-to-survive-in-africa/?fbclid=IwAR10IleVdk03DrEM1rglWR0uSjcofPEOvdcKp5ole5pO0Ilq4D2s2tqL_eA (“How ISIS, Al-Qaeda Affiliates Manipulate Amnesty International, Other NGOs To Survive In Africa”)
Intersociety therefore makes bold to say that in its advocacy activism, “sponsorship” is a strange language. This is because we exist not to make ourselves billionaires using the cover of ‘activism’ but to render record time and lifetime services to humanity. This is to the extent that we have operated and still operate without any foreign body or international grant sponsorship since 2008 when Intersociety was formed. That is to say that we have never received a Euro, or a British Pound, or a US Dollar from any international grant body. This explains the independent, thoroughness, credibility and detribalized nature of our research works and publications. It is not as if we are opposed to legitimate foreign grants, but our clear message here is that we must function and do our advocacy activities with or without foreign grants.
For instance, all our computations and advocacy campaigns concerning the massacre of Christians in Northern Nigeria particularly in Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue and others were done free of charge or without group sponsorship; likewise our campaigns against the massacre of Shiite Muslims in Nigeria, dating back to Dec 2015 in Zaria. The wide foreign and local media coverage of the named advocacy activities was also done free of charge, as we were never charged or asked to pay a dime. In our recent research works concerning the infiltration and forceful occupation of 400 Igbo communities and villages, by Jihadist Herdsmen, published with wide local and international publicity on 27th May and 4th June 2020, about N200, 000 or equivalent of $500 was spent.
How Intersociety Survives: For the avoidance of doubt, in doing our works, four sources are used to have them successfully executed. They are: in-kind supports or free professional resource donations including expert advice and technical assistance; individual cash donations or cash sums periodically and voluntarily donated by some concerned citizens (usually less politically exposed persons) in appreciation of our works; headship funding or periodic cash sums allocated to Intersociety by the founder and his family; and headship skills/goodwill/ICT or deployment of field and educational skills from the founder who has been rights and democracy campaigner since 1995 or past 25 years. ICT or Information Communication Technology also plays pivotal role in the activities of Intersociety where it is maximally deployed for purpose of ‘activism made easy’.
Commendation & Special Appeals: We hereby commend all those that have locally and internationally researched and documented the anti Christian butcheries by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and others especially in Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Kogi and Nasarawa States; and lately Niger State as well as the Southern parts of Delta, Edo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi and Abia States; and spoken out against same. They include local and international rights and religious NGOs and the media; the internationally respected persons including politico-legislative actors and diplomats; as well as local and international Christian leaders and leaders of the victims’ communities (i.e. Adara Dev Association and SOKAPU in Southern Kaduna and Berom Nationality in Plateau, etc). We passionately appeal to them not to rest on their oars and leave no stone unturned until the Nigerian Government is compelled to do the needful including apprehending the group and individual perpetrators (i.e. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen) and ending the ‘industrial scale’ violence against Christians in Nigeria or any part thereof.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies/Master of Science, Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution (Board Chair), Barr Amaka Damaris Onuoha (Head of Campaign & Publicity), Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard (Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights), Comrade Samuel Kamanyoku (Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation), Barr Chinwe Umeche (Head of Democracy & Good Governance) and Barr Obianuju Igboeli (Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law)
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