Saturday, February 27, 2016

Extra Judicial Killings Of Igbo Youths By Nigerian Soldiers

By E O Eke
The lifeless and desecrated bodies of another batch of Igbo youth murdered by Nigerian soldiers on February 9, 2016 at National High School Aba, is another gruesome reminder of the brutality and high handedness with which the Buhari administration is addressing the non-violent protests by youths agitating for independent state of Biafra. When you view the recent massacre against the background that the victims were unarmed, were not violent and the crime was perpetrated by soldiers and police men from Northern  Nigeria, the significance and intention of the government becomes ominous. The use of disproportionate force and introduction of sectarian dimension raises serious concerns about the future of Nigeria


As the death toll of this unjustifiable pogrom rise, the silence of Igbo leaders is deafening. Why have Igbo leaders in position to reach out both to the government and protesters kept quiet? Is Nigeria is really a secular democracy? Has the governors, senators, members of the house of assembly and other elected politicians any real power to implement the will of the people and give hope to their wishes and aspirations? Are they aware of the Huge responsibility they carry on behalf of the people?

I am asking, how much more evil, bloodshed brutality and injustice do Nigerians want to see, before we act to stop this crime against humanity going in Igboland. The actions of the army is unconscionable. It is even more curious that the government withdrew soldiers fighting terrorists to murder non-violent protesters. The pictures of the atrocities are as nauseating as they are condemnable. They show the depravity of the minds behind them. It is difficult to imagine that the men responsible for these crimes have human conscience and what it takes to bear arms on behalf of a state.

There are neither reasons no justification for this massacre. It is even more disturbing that this is coming after we heard that President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew soldiers fighting Boko Haram and told them to go and deal with non-violent protesters in Igboland. It is happening as the president releases Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen terrorising the country unchallenged.


It is difficult to decide which is more disturbing, the silence of Igbo leaders or the cold indifference of Nigerians in the face of such monstrous evil and injustice. Nigeria surely has a problem, when many of us find reason to keep silent, when our youths are murdered in cold blood. Where are the Igbo leaders? Where are objective minded, detribalised and patriotic Nigerians? Where are those who are quick to blame Igbos for the civil war? Where are those who sing the mantra that the unity of Nigeria is none negotiable? Where are the condemnation? What are we doing to show that Igbo life and the life of every Nigerian matters in Nigeria?

Nigeria is supposed to be a democracy under the rule of law, where there should be no reason for extra judicial killings. Sending armed soldiers to quell a peaceful protest in peace time, in a democracy, is a calculated attempt to intimidate and provoke and, the clearest evidence of the intention of the government towards Igbos, and many Igbos in position to speak out keep silent. Can't they see that intimidation is the clearest evidence of the intention to dominate and oppress? The government of Muhammadu Buhari, would seem to have been handed an excuse to kill more Igbos and the world is standing by and watching. 

This unjustified action of the Buhari government will only do one thing. It will radicalise more Igbo youths who will now choose a life of struggle than to live under the present dispensation. As a Muslim, president Buhari may be familiar with the suffi saying that it is better to be a rebel than a slave. He should also know that such saying also exist in Igboland. Igbos will not live under the occupation by Nigerian soldiers whose officers from the north are on a mission to dominate, dehumanise intimidate and break the Igbo man. What is going on in Igboland is not an honest government trying to find a peaceful solution to a civil unrest, but a sectarian minded federal government, pursuing sectarian objectives anchored on ethnic and religious prejudices against a people. Today it is the Igbos, yesterday it was the Ogonis, tomorrow it may be you, because the agenda is to intimidate, control and dominate.

The government must end the military occupation of Igboland by withdrawing the army. It is neither necessary nor needed to end the agitation for independent state of Biafra. President Buhari has a moral duty to bring this pogrom to an end and bring those responsible for this massacre to justice. What the Nigerian army is doing in Igboland is a crime against humanity for which they should be held accountable.

If this sectarian inspired and unlawful killing of Igbos continue, Newton's third law of motion would invariable kick in. Retaliation is a natural reaction to extrajudicial killing and once this starts, Nigeria has no future, no matter the number of soldiers posted to Igboland. The world has changed, since the genocide of 1967 to 1970. We must not forget who sowed and waterered the seed of this conflict. The high handedness and contempt of the present administration is behind this escalation.

Two wrongs cannot make a right. Agitation for Biafra as a response to discrimination and marginalisation of Igbos in Nigeria and the criminal leadership that has impoverished Igboland through corruption is a wrong response. What the youth should have been protesting against is political corruption and criminal leadership, which have wasted the resources that would have financed the social investments that would have given them a better future.

The government should have shown understanding of the complexity of the problem and made honest effort to engage with the protesters and address their grievances. Therefore, the killing of peaceful protesters in cold blood by combatant Nigerian soldiers is the wrong response. It is a heinous crime against humanity. The challenge is to resolve this problem and give peace and rule of law a chance and the government has no alternative, but to rise to the occasion.

The government must stop killing unarmed protesters. There is no reason for it and it is unjustifiable under the circumstance. The protesters must be persuaded to pursue their objectives politically. Those who persuade them must recognise that innocent blood have been shed and the victims must not die in vain.

The idea that a people who are unhappy in a union can be denied self determination and forced to remain in a country that discriminates and marginalises them without consequences is irrational, to say the least.
The blood shed must stop. The extrajudicial killings of Igbo youth by Nigerian soldiers must now come to an end. The government of Muhammadu Buhari must find a civil response to a civil protest. This is what democracy is about.

President Buhari must know that he is not a dictator and the army should not be detailed to murder citizens in peace time in, a democracy. I know that as a soldier, he is trained to kill his enemies, but as a civilian president, his duty is to talk to his enemies. Continuing this ill-informed military solution to the civil protest in East Nigeria or finding justification for it, is to sow the seeds of an intractable conflict, which will surely mature and bear fruit and, I hope that those responsible for this atrocity will be around to harvest them. Please give peace a chance.
*E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind (Email: eoeke@aol.com


1 comment:

  1. The president of Nigeria of Nigeria should please addrr this matter very well other wise God will do what he did to Abscha to him. Thanks

    ReplyDelete


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