The International Freedom of Exchange had referred to Nigeria’s Military Decree 2 of 1984 “as the Nigerian State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 2 of 1984, which allows for indefinite and incommunicado detention of Nigerian citizens without trial”. From every indication, this infamous and anti democratic military law is back and put in clandestine practice in Nigeria under the present central Government and this time around is being used by the country’s heavily Muslim dominated and controlled Nigerian Army to target on religious and tribal grounds citizens of old Eastern and Mid Western Nigeria particularly the Igbo citizens of Judeo-Christian faith.
Nigerian Army Abducted 400 Obigbo Residents Or More
The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) is shocked to note that the number of Obigbo residents, all Christians and mostly Igbo citizens, abducted and disappeared by the Nigerian Army, has risen to 400 or more; out of which, 150 have been discovered to be held indefinitely and incommunicado without Court trial in different secret Army and Spy Police dungeons located in the Federal Capital Territory or Abuja.
In our latest finding, 52 defenseless Obigbo residents, all Judeo-Christian Igbos were recently rescued and their release secured through three different Courts and four processes in Niger State. The 52 rescued abductees exclude three that died from torture in soldiers’ captivity. While one died on the road during their secret and night long transportation from Obigbo-to-Obinze (Army Barracks)-Abuja two others died in Army secret detention custodies in Niger State. It was further discovered that most of the abductees were transported by road while others including elderly ones among them were airlifted through the local wing of the Port Harcourt Int’l Air Port in Rivers State and the Sam Mbakwe Air Port in Imo State.
Corroboratively, Intersociety had back in Sept 2020, been told or received some independent reports that ‘dozens of citizens of Igbo Christian extraction were being held secretly and outside the law in places like Gusau Prisons located in Zamfara State. They are defenseless and unarmed citizens vindictively arrested across various States in old Eastern and Mid Western Nigeria, labeled “IPOB terrorists” and secretly transferred to far away Zamfara State, etc where they are secretly being held without trial.
Army Now Abducts & Transfers To Prisons
One major attribute of the dreaded Decree 2 now being used clandestinely by the Lt Gen Buratai led Nigerian Army is the extrajudicial transfer and incarceration of citizens abducted by Army at Prison facilities without recourse to Court orders or remands. In other words, citizens abducted by soldiers are now sent directly to Prisons from military custodies on orders of the Army High Commands including the COAS or the C-in-C. This is one of the dreaded features of the obnoxious Decree 2 now in clandestine practice in the country.
Some Magistrates Now Sign Detention Orders For Army Outside Courtroom
The military authorities, too, now get some Magistrates to sign detention orders for them outside the Courtroom and due processes. The above was the case in the case of the 52 rescued Obigbo residents and three others that died in Army captivity in Niger State as well as 150 others presently languishing without trial in Army and Spy Police dungeons in Abuja. It is also forbidden by the country’s criminal justice system for citizens to be arrested and detained and tried outside the areas where they are alleged to have committed the offenses for which they were arrested. Intersociety, it is recalled, had in its last statement, disclosed that ‘between 200 and 300 Obigbo residents were abducted by soldiers and detained in secret military detention facilities located within and outside Rivers State’. New findings, however, now indicate that 400 of them or more were abducted.
Obigbo Army/Wike Massacre: The Background
The Army massacre in Obigbo, Rivers State, a densely Igbo populated area, occurred following killings and property destructions associated with Oct 2020 country-wide protests by aggrieved citizens against the atrocious conducts of the dreaded Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force, now renamed “SWAT”. In the killings and property destructions that followed, over 350 citizens including civilians, soldiers and police personnel were killed and properties worth billions of naira burnt or destroyed. Lagos State where over 70 persons were killed and properties worth billions lost, was the hardest hit.
The ‘End-SARS’ protests had taken a violent dimension on 20th Oct, following clandestine recruitment and sponsorship of Islamic hoodlums by Government of Nigeria to counter the protests, attack the protesters (leading to killing of scores of peaceful protesters and burning or destruction of properties belonging to them and neutral others) and make the protests look like “all Southern Christian affair”. This remotely introduced reprisal violence into the protests which was further aggravated by Army killings at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State in the late evening of 20th Oct 2020.
In Rivers State, Gov Nyesom Wike took the sad incident personal and decided to use same for political reasons. He not only incited security agencies including Police and Army against Igbo residents in Obigbo and environs but also politicized it and labeled the unfortunate killing of some soldiers and police personnel in Obigbo as ‘terrorist acts perpetrated by IPOB’; a leading self determination group agitating for regional self governance for the people of old Eastern and Mid Western Nigeria. IPOB, a nonviolent movement, was vindictively proscribed in Sept 2017 by the Northern Muslim led Government of Nigeria. This was chiefly to heighten its violent crackdown on the group and cover traces of its involvement in the killing of over 180 Igbo citizens and over 130 maimed in same Sept 2017 in Abia State.
Gov Nyesom Wike’s politicization of the EndSARS violent protests in Obigbo and other parts of the State came against the background of the fact that soldiers and police personnel and over 300 civilians were killed across the country during the period, particularly in Lagos, Abia, Enugu and Northern Nigeria. In other words, the killing of soldiers and police personnel during the period though despicable and condemnable, was not restricted to Obigbo but also the case across the country. In furtherance of the politicization of the sad incident, the Rivers Gov on 21st Oct 2020 declared a curfew in Obigbo and environs and invited Nigerian Army to ‘flush out IPOB terrorists in the area who killed six soldiers and four police personnel and burnt police stations’. In response, the Northern Muslim held Army let loose and went on unspeakable war-grade invasion and massacre mission, killing almost 100, injuring 110, abducting 400 or more, disappearing scores without traces till date, torturing hundreds and burning down houses and destroying properties.