By Galaxy Imanmadu
Intrepid human rights activist, Comrade Jideofor Austine Areh, has again called on the Nigerian government to protect the rights of the indigenous people of South East Nigeria, saying that the killing of five Igbo youths in Aba, Abia state by trigger happy security operatives is condemnable, barbaric and a serious violation of right to life of the indigenous people of southeast.
Areh, made the stern call today, Monday 22 May, 2023, about 8 weeks after the killing happened in the most cruel manner without the government condemning the incident.
He said, “It has become an offence to be an Igbo as such identity summarily attracts a death penalty in Nigeria.”
Continuing, Areh expressed worry over the manner security operatives posted to southeast discard their rules of engagement and resort in point-blank shooting of unarmed Igbo youths conducting a peaceful protest.
He said, “The sin the peaceful protesters committed in the eyes of the brutal government security operatives was that they were chanting songs and calling on the Federal Government to comply and respect the court orders which directs it to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Areh described the day the killing occurred as a “Black Friday,” stating that the nonchalant posture of the Nigerian government towards the senseless killing of the Igbo youths further indicts the government of President Buhari for turning a blind eye to the heinous crime against the indigenous people of southeast.
Comrade Areh, who expressed fear over the safety of his life as he takes a frontal position in condemning the operations of security operatives in the south east, said he would not be deterred by any threats, saying, “I vehemently condemn the wicked act and flagrant show of lawlessness of the highest order by the brutal Nigerian security operatives in Igbo land.”
He queried, “Why would such show of barbarism be tolerated in our country? “Why would security operatives callously shoot at unarmed citizens who merely clad in white attires and were protesting peacefully and demanding that the government of President Buhari should release the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu? “Why would such grievious crime against humanity be treated by the government of the day with levity? “What’s the mission of the security agencies deployed to the South East? “Is it to maintain peace or maim and kill innocent law abiding citizens of South East?”
Comrade Areh continued, “Security personnel do not have the right to deprive any citizen his/her life extrajudicially, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which s/he has been found guilty.. And there is no where in the world unarmed protesters are wantonly killed for simply embarking on a peaceful protest.”
He warned, “This intolerable killing must not be swept under the carpet. I vow to compel the government to bring the trigger happy security operatives to book and put an end to extrajudicial killings in southeast and across Nigeria.
Comrade Areh added, “As a democratic nation, it’s only the court of law that has the constitutional powers to give order for the execution of any person but not otherwise. So, where did the security agents in southeast derive their powers to execute those peaceful protesters in Aba?
He reiterated, “I strongly call on the National Assembly and President Buhari to take decissive action before he hands over the reins of government to the incoming president on May 29, and demand immediate arrest, sack and prosecution of the security agents who assassinated those innocent Nigerians in Aba. The law must take its full course.”
He added, “I also call on the international community, the United Nations, and all defenders of the rights of Indigenous people the world over not to gloss over this regrettable trends of serious violation of the right to life of the indigenous people of southeast Nigeria and compel the Nigerian government to carry out thorough investigation into the killings and bring the perpetrators to book.”