Barely 24 hours after global rights watch, Amnesty International indicted Nigerian security forces in the killing no fewer than 150 pro-Biafra protesters in South-East Nigeria, the Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have disclosed they lost more than 2,000 members to the security agents.
They blasted the Nigerian Army for denying that they did not kill unarmed members of the pro-Biafran groups between 2015 and this year.
While commending Amnesty International for its report, IPOB said the respected group under-reported the killings of its members, stressing that far more than 150 of them were killed and injured in the period under review.
The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB Mr. Emma Powerful while reacting to Amnesty International report said that over 2000 members were killed, 750 missing, and 567 undergoing medical treatment in different hospitals.
According to Powerful, “The report was welcomed by IPOB which has been at the forefront of the struggle for the restoration of Biafra nation. But the 150 people who were reportedly killed in the report by Amnesty International was not the accurate number of IPOB and Biafrans killed since August 2015 till date.
“Moreover, in IPOB’s records and statistics gathered from different parts of Biafra, we have over 2000 members killed, 750 missing till date, we have not seen their dead bodies and we are still searching for them, we also have 567 members undergoing medical treatment in different hospitals.
“In the same vein, we have 370 people undergoing torture in different prisons and security cells across the country.
“As we are talking right now, the DSS and other security agencies in Nigeria are searching for members of IPOB across the country, Some have been in the DSS secret cells since six months now without taking them to court while they were all kept incommunicado in different places.
“Importantly, we commend the report from Amnesty International which stands bold to condemn the crime against humanity committed by the government of Nigeria and her security agencies rbefore the world.
“We also urge Amnesty International and other relevant human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch to make more enquiries and investigations into this barbaric killings of members of IPOB.”
The leader of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu said the denial of complicity by the Nigeria Army was an act of cowardice and fear.
“MASSOB view the quick denial by the Nigerian Army as an act of cowardice and fear because their primitive acts backed by religious/ ethnic hatred against the people of Biafra are now bare to the whole World.” He said, “With this latest denial by the n Army on their evil against the children of Chukwu Okike Abiama, soon the whole world will behold the nakedness and filthiness of the Nigeria Army.
They can’t deny their daylight evil against the Biafrans because we have evidences even more from our sister organization, IPOB including the dead bodies of our members. We are set to disgrace the Buhari-led Nigeria Army at the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC).”
In its reaction, Igbo apex body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo reiterated its condemnation of the killing of pro Biafra demonstrators insisting that the act was totally wrong.
Speaking to one of our reporters in Enugu, the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Dr. Joe Nwaorgu said “this thing happened long ago and we had reacted at that point in time. First, the one at Aba and secondly that of Onitsha and Ohaneze took a stand on all those things.
“It’s not the army that will tell us how many they killed it’s the boys that will tell us how many of their members were killed. We have always condemned extra judicial killings; I was blunt in my condemnation of the episode, I called it continued blood letting; the act stands condemned totally.
“You can’t shoot at defenseless citizens, you didn’t give them any warning, you go straight to fire live bullets. No prior announcement for dispersal, no tear gas, nothing, just straight use of live bullets, that is wrong.”
Also speaking MASSOB National Director of Information, Comrade Samuel Edeson said the figure released by Amnesty International was incorrect.
“They did not give the exact figure of our members killed by Nigerian soldiers. The number they recorded is very small; the people killed by soldiers between August 2015 and August 2016 are over 2000 pro Biafra activists.
“But I don’t blame them because that is the information they got.
About what the army is saying, I am not surprised because Nigeria is good in deception. When you go to the police they will always defend themselves, that’s what the army is doing.
“Nobody has ever recorded that MASSOB or IPOB moves with weapons not to talk of attacking anyone. It is an attempt by the army to destroy the image of pro Biafra activists. I only want to tell the army that they can fool some people sometimes but cannot fool other people all the times. But they should know that God is watching.
What we need is the freedom of our people and the release of Nnamdi Kanu, Benjamin Onwuka and others in their custody.”
The President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Imo State, Ambassador Azunna Akpele, in his reaction called for the prosecution of the indicted security agents for genocide saying that it was part of the grand design by the Nigerian state to exterminate Ndigbo.
According to him, “ the Nigeria security agencies should be prosecuted for genocide because it is a grand design by the Nigerian state to exterminate the Ndigbo. What we are experiencing is nothing but state-sponsored terrorism against Ndigbo” .
Speaking in the same vein, the National Coordinator of the Njem Igbo Movement, Comrade Pascal Egoigbo said that security agents must not be allowed to get away with mass murder as they must be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“We thank the Amnesty International for drawing the attention of the entire world to how the Nigerian security agencies including the military have been killing innocent Biafran people who were protesting against their maltreatment by the Nigerian state.
“The people are being pushed to the wall because the fact that we decided to carry out our agitation in a non-violent manner was not a sign of weakness, but we will not continue to tolerate the killings of our people by the security agencies.”