We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprised of individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; wish to declare as follows: Whereas section 14 (2)(b) of the Nigerian constitution expressly states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” and whereas chapter 4 section 33 (1) of the Nigerian constitution states that “ every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria”. We note that the Nigerian government and her agents (army and police) have continued to breach these fundamental dictates of the constitution through the premeditated and unrelenting mass killing of unarmed civilians as again happened most recently in Aba, Abia state where scores of unarmed IPOB members were murdered in cold blood by members of the armed forces and police as they held prayers in a school premises and their bodies dumped in a burrow pit in Aba- PH road, Abia State.
We submit, that the frequent and unpunished killing of unarmed civilians by the Buhari administration not only violates the Nigerian constitution under whose statutes the state is constituted; but also the United Nations charter, the African charter on human and people’s rights and all other conventions to which the Nigerian state is signatory to. We hold that the killing of unarmed civilians even in times of war constitute war crimes as established by the Geneva convention and crimes against humanity as established by the Rome statute. We note that while Nigeria is not even at war, such killings have continued unabated. We are persuaded to believe that the refusal of the Buhari administration to investigate and or punish the culprits implicated in the dastardly slaying of innocent civilians and other such heinous crimes against humanity establishes beyond all doubt the culpability of President Muhammadu Buhari and his security chiefs.
We therefore; pursuant to part 2 article 7 of the Rome statute of the international criminal court (ICC) have accordingly lodged our case against the Nigerian government for human rights violations/crimes against humanity in the ICC, to which an acknowledgement has been received (ref: OTP-CR-61/16), marking the beginning of the process. At the same time we urge the members of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) to resist the urge to bear arms in self defence in the face of the onslaught and provocation of the security services as they recently declared. Having so far conducted themselves in a civilised, peaceful and democratic manner, in exercise of their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression to which the world bears witness, it would be a surrender to the atavistic forces of darkness if they; at this stage begin to bear arms thus rendering them in the same category as Nigeria’s nihilistic security services.
We believe that the triumph of democracy and civilisation in the 21st century can only be proved and sustained by demonstrating how markedly different they are vis-à-vis those who choose barbarity, suppression, bloodletting and nationhood at gun point rather than by dialogue, mutual consent and ultimately justice and equality. We therefore urge IPOB and indeed all non violent groups to remain on the moral high ground and eschew any urge to bear arms.
We want to use this opportunity to express our immense appreciation and gratitude to Angela Rayner, a member of British parliament for her understanding of the plight of the protesters, and His Holiness, Pope Francis for his recent courageous speech condemning the clampdown and mass killing of Biafran protesters by the Nigerian government and encourage other religious and international leaders to speak out against the evil and tyranny playing out in Nigeria at this decisive moment.
Finally, we warn that alongside the legal course already instituted in the ICC, we shall doggedly continue to pursue all other possible channels of redress against the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Nigeria. This is so as to sufficiently establish that those who thrive on impunity and so primitively choose to trample on the rights of others will have no hiding place.
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke
President Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Mr Lawrence Nwobu
Secretary Igbo Ekunie Initiative