Group Alleges Secret Execution Of Six Igbo Soldiers In Abuja

One of the executed soldiers, Ebube

A group known as the Eastern Nigeria’s Rights & Intelligentsia Coalition has launched what it calls international justice campaigns against former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and some others for alleged atrocities against unarmed Igbo and others. Specifically, the group seeks life jail for them and their declaration as persona non-grata anywhere in the world.

Secret Execution Of Six Igbo Christian Soldiers At Abacha Barracks

In a statement made available to NewsProbe Tuesday, the group said it “received with rude shock and deepest dismay the Monday, 25th Jan 2021 secret execution of six Igbo Christian soldiers, attached to the Armory Department of the Nigerian Army, Abacha Barracks in Abuja. The slain Igbo Christian soldiers namely: Prince Ukwuoma, son of a traditional ruler; Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim and Godwin Uchendu were secretly executed under the instruction of now Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, a day before he left office on Tuesday, 26th Jan 2021. This shocking news was disclosed to us by Barr E.R. Okoroafor, an int’l human rights lawyer, who is very conversant with the matter and was also contacted by one of the slain soldiers through his family to defend them in the trumped up charges, executed using hazy and clandestine Military Court Martial.”

Anyim, one of the executed soldiers

The statement, signed by 25 different groups including Barrister Emeka Umeagbalasi, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala and others quoted Okoroafor as saying that “sometime in Sept 2020, an allegation of missing weapons was made at Abacha Barracks and it was immediately traced to a senior Colonel of Fulani-Hausa Muslim origin and instead of the COAS to issue query and sanction the Colonel, he exonerated him on the grounds of his tribe and religion. The COAS turned around and ordered for the arrest of 12 soldiers guarding the armory, comprising six Igbo soldiers, three Yoruba soldiers and three Fulani-Hausa Muslim soldiers. In the end, the latter soldiers were shielded and exonerated under questionable circumstances and the six Igbo soldiers made to face secret court martial during which they were blocked and prevented from having access to their families and defense lawyers of their choice”.

Uchendu, one of the executed soldiers

The statement added: “Barr E.R. Okoroafor also told the Coalition that his attempts to stand in for the Igbo soldiers were stiffly opposed and he was flimsily told by the Army’s Legal Department that ‘civilian lawyers are not allowed to defend the accused soldiers except military lawyers’. Their trial was totally shrouded in secrecy and never disclosed to the public through Army statements till date; likewise their constitutional right of appeal to Court of Appeal and Supreme Court which was also totally denied. The persecuted and executed soldiers protested their innocence to the point of tendering their resignation in protest; all to no avail.

“Apart from their secret execution being totally despicable and condemnable and a clear case of ethnic cleansing, the Coalition also strongly suspects that the six Igbo soldiers were framed or singled out for persecution on the grounds of their ethnicity and religion. It is also doubtful whether the offense of ‘missing weapons’ in peace time is commensurable with death sentence in the Nigerian Military laws, all subject to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Another shocking part was where the immediate past Army Chief derived his power to order for secret execution of ‘justly’ and ‘unjustly’ convicted soldiers. This is more so when there is a national moratorium on death penalty in Nigeria. The Coalition therefore notes further that dozens, if not hundreds of Igbo soldiers have in recent times particularly since 2017/8 died under similar circumstances both in battle fronts and ‘peace time’. Additionally, there have been several reported and unreported cases of dismissals, resignations and desertions involving soldiers and officers of old Eastern Nigeria extraction on account of the ethnic cleansing under Buratai as Nigerian Army Chief.”

Hundreds Of Obigbo Army Abductees Still Unaccounted For

According to facts available at Intersociety, “hundreds of defenseless Obigbo residents are still missing or unaccounted for more than three months after their abduction by the Nigerian Army under Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (as he then was). A total of over 400 Obigbo residents had gone missing between late Oct and second week of Nov 2020 after the Army invasion of Obigbo and its environs on 21st Oct 2020; out of which 52 were rescued and freed in Niger State. Total of 93 others have so far been rescued and freed in Abuja. As it stands, 63 more names have been traced to different Army secret detention facilities in Abuja and at least three have been confirmed killed in Army detention among hundreds of those still being held captive and incommunicado in secret military locations.”

The group listed 19 other alleged massacres under Buratai and others and noted that none of the perpetrators had been brought to justice.

In view of the above alleged atrocities, the group recommended as follows:

  • It is our strong recommendationthat the named perpetrators especially Retired Lt Gen Tukur Buratai must face prosecution and life jail at ICC or in national courts in any foreign country operating int’l criminal jurisdictions on crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
  • We also call for a harvest of civil suits against the perpetrators by human rights lawyers and victims of the horrendous crimes under reference
  • Members of the international community especially the western democracies and the UN as well as international human rights organizations and institutions are particularly called upon to take diplomatic and advocacy notice of the named perpetrators and their atrocity crimes. This is for purpose of holding them judicially accountable and ensuring that they end up being int’l pariahs. 
  • The int’l Governments and Intergovernmental agencies should ensure that the perpetrators are declared “persona non gratae” including slamming them with appropriate international sanctions.
  • Sanctions against them should include  making them ineligible in all regional and international military, policing and other security or diplomatic engagements especially those involving corporate and individual or intergovernmental consultancies, contracts, partnerships, exchange visits, awards, presentations, board or institution appointments, holidays, etc.
  • Other non judicial sanctions being recommended against the perpetrators include denying them and their family members visas, freezing their accounts and seizing or confiscating their assets abroad, etc.
  • It is also our expert information that the perpetrators especially Lt Gen Tukur Buratai can be arrested and  taken into custody in foreign land and criminally charged through the instruments of municipal, active personality, passive personality and universal or international criminal jurisdictions or be sued through the instruments of civil claimant litigations, etc.

The signatories to the statement are:

  • Emeka Umeagbalasi (M.Sc.), Board Chair, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
  • Prof Anthony Ejiofor-Chairman, World Igbo Congress (USA)
  • Prof Uzodimma Nwala-President, Ala-Igbo Dev Foundation (ADF)
  • Prof Justice Chidi-President, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative
  • Prof Justin Akujieze-President, Ekwenche Research Institute (USA)
  • Dr. Moses Nwaigwe-President, Biafra Genocide Survivors Group (USA)
  • Austin Okeke, Esq.-Global Leader, Igbo Board of Deputies (UK)
  • Kanayo K. Odeluga, MD., MPH-Executive Director, Igbo League, Inc.(USA)
  • Mercy Alu, MBA, PhD-Executive Coordinator, the Int’l Association of African Authors & Scholars (USA)
  • Dr. Onyenkachi Orjiako, Esq.-Rep, Int’l  Society for War Against Lawlessness (USA)
  • Dr. Okezie Kelechi-ED, Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation
  • Dr. Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokoro-Rep, Int’l Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative
  • Comrades Chilos Godsent & Zulu Ofoelue-Reps, Igbo National Council
  • Ezekwike Chekwube Violet, Esq.-Founder, New Home Mentoring & Dev Initiative
  • Comrade Aloysius Attah-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast
  • Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, President, Igbo Ekunie Initiative
  • Comrade Justine Ijeoma-ED, Human Rights Social Dev & Environmental Foundation
  • Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme-Chair, Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State
  • Comrade Peter Onyegiri-ED, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
  • Comrade Alex Olisa-Rep, Southeast Good Governance Forum
  • Comrade Nnana Nelson Nwafor-ED, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev.
  • Comrade Nkwocha Anozie-ED, Initiative for Ideal Dev & Emancipatory Leadership
  • Comrade Emeku Uche-Rep, Easy-life Initiative for Rural Youths
  • Comrade Samuel Njoku-Chair, Human Rights Organization of Nigeria
  • Comrade Ngwobia O. Ngwobia-Rep Primate Salvation Initiative

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