Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has challenged governors of the South East of Nigeria to articulate and publicise a workable security template for the Igbo speaking geopolity to stem off the rapidly expanding frontiers of terror attacks, and other criminal manifestations in the South East of Nigeria.
“South East of Nigeria has for over three years become a notable flashpoints for all kinds of security challenges including but not limited to the coordinated attacks targeting strategic national security assets, killings of many innocent Igbo people by suspected armed Fulani terrorists and even armed security services whilst carrying out internal security operations against perceived members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and unfortunately, both the central government and the states in the South East of Nigeria have abandoned the good people of Igboland to face cruel fate in the hands of some armed terrorists seeking to enforce the illegal Monday’s sit-at-home order ordered allegedly by someone residing in Finland. Again, many important reports on these security issues and their implications, point towards a coordinated plan by some forces to deny Igbo people of their Democratic rights to vote and be voted for in the elections that will come up barely a month and half away. This is therefore a clarion call for the South East political leaders both elected and appointed to articulate and publish and indeed start implementing a thoroughly articulate security blueprint and template for the South East of Nigeria.”
HURIWA also said the rationale for the South East governors and political leaders to work out security template for the region and enforce such immediately is because the over reliance on the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to stave off terrorists attacks all over Nigeria thereby demonstrating the necessity for such subnational and regional approach to fighting insecurity such as the South West Governors have achieved with Amotekun security network in the Yoruba region.
HURIWA reminded South East governors that despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security formations to end insecurity and restore order and stability in the country by the end of December 2022, terrorism in the form of insurgency, banditry and killings by alleged separatists has continued to claim lives.
However, pockets of attacks and killings have continued since the deadline elapsed. Four policemen were killed on January 2nd 2022 when gunmen bombed the convoy of the former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of the state.
HURIWA recalled that data analysed from reported cases in the media reveal that out of the 671 recorded deaths in the last four months, 614 were civilians, while 47 were police officers and 10 soldiers. The data also reveal that at least 1,321 people have been abducted between September and December.
From the 614 civilians killed between September and December 2022, data analysed by this paper reveal that 85 per cent of the deaths is from the northern part of the country while 15 per cent is from the southern part. Records show that 57 per cent of the total deaths come from five northern states, with Benue leading with 120 deaths, followed by Kaduna with 69 deaths and Zamfara with 60 deaths. Plateau comes fourth with 48 deaths and Niger has 42 deaths. States with the least casualty figure are Abia, Osun, Ekiti and Kwara states with one death each, while Bayelsa has two and Kano has three. Nasarawa, Rivers, Gombe and Ondo state have four casualty figures each.
Data from media reports on kidnappings show that out of the 1,321 people abducted between September and December, 84 per cent came from the north, leaving the south with 16 per cent. The data revealed that 62 per cent of the total abductions occurred in five northern states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger, Katsina and Sokoto. Kaduna, which has 256 abductions within the period is followed by Zamfara, which has 246 abductions and Niger with 127 abductions. Katsina has 116 abductions while Sokoto has 74 abductions.
Yobe, Osun and Lagos had the least reported cases of abductions with one each, while Kano, Gombe and Abia had two reported abductions. The data shows Jigawa had three reported cases, with Bauchi had two and Imo, five.
However, President Buhari had in his New Year message said the year 2023 would be a time his administration would use to work to solidify on delivering key strategic priorities under its Security, Economy and Anti-Corruption (SEA) agenda.
The president had said the fight against banditry, kidnapping and other crimes in the North West and other regions was gaining momentum and showing clear results, citing the resumption of train service along the Kaduna to Abuja corridor.
HURIWA has therefore tasked the Political, religious, cultural and civil society leaders of South East to immediately articulate a robust security template for South East to tale back the control of the South East ungoverned spaces from armed non state actors that have largely been tolerated by the Federal government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari whose deadline for ending insecurity has come and gone without compliance with the armed security agencies.
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko;
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
January 9th 2023.