The Nigerian military and the police must deescalate the rising tension in Afara Ukwu, Umuahia in Abia State, South-east Nigeria and ensure the protection of human rights of people in the community, ahead of 14 February funeral ceremony of the parents of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Amnesty International says today.
There is reported heavy military presence in Afara Ukwu, a community in Abia State as soldiers patrol the area. The funeral programme of IPOB leader Eze Okwu Kanu and his wife who died recently will take place there on 14 February. Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that they saw several military vehicles including Hilux and military SUVs patrolling the community since Sunday 2 February 2020.
“The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint and prevent a repetition of the September 2017 events that left at least 20 people killed and some still missing, when the military attempted to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in his home in Afara Ukwu, said Osai Ojigho, country Director, Amnesty International.
“While law enforcement officers are within their rights to carry out their lawful duties, the use of force should be proportional and strictly limited to those situations where it is absolutely necessary. Both IPOB supporters and security forces must at all times respect and protect human rights of all.”
Five people told Amnesty international that they saw soldiers harassing people at Bank road while another man said he was prevented from going to his house by soldiers who blocked the road entrance to Eze Kanu’s palace on 3 February.
“Concerns about possible violence during the funeral must be addressed within the framework of human rights and rule of law,” said Osai Ojigho.
Amnesty International has documented several incidents involving the unlawful killing of pro Biafra supporters. Our research in May 2016 showed that at least 60 extra-judicial executions of pro-Biafra supporters were committed in the space of two days, with a further 70 people injured. Also, in September 2017 at least 20 people were either killed or forcibly disappeared when soldiers invaded the house of Nnamdi Kanu in Afara Ukwu. Nnamdi Kanu fled the country and later turned up in the UK where he now lives. The Nigerian authorities promised to investigate this incident, but no one has been prosecuted to date.