The World Igbo Congress (WIC), a body comprising all Igbos living in the United States of America, has alerted the international community and rights organisations, of the shoot-at-sight order allegedly issued by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, against Igbo youths.
The body also threatened that “should the government and law enforcement agents continue with the bloodletting in the once peaceful South East, President Muhammadu Buhari and his service chiefs will have cases to answer at the International Criminal Court.”
This was contained in a statement on Sunday signed by four leaders of the group, Prof Anthony Ejiofor Chairman, World Igbo Congress, Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze Chairman, Igbo World Assembly, Sir Ngozi Odumuko Executive Secretary, Nzuko Umunna, Elder Amadiebube Mbama Coordinator, Joint Action Committee.
The group which sternly condemned the statement credited to the IGP, Baba, noted that “more worrisome is the posture of the federal government and response by the law enforcement agents to the situation, adding that “for some reasons that seem odious and ominous, the utterances from the presidency, government and law enforcement officials are laced with a desire to turn the region into a war zone rather than seek for its peace, stability and development.”
According to the group, “On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, Nigeria’s number one law enforcement officer was quoted to have said: “If anyone accuses you of human rights violation, the report will come to my table and you know what I will do. So, take the battle to them wherever they are and kill them all. Don’t wait for an order.”
The group said if the above statement was true, it was a call for genocide, extra judicial killings and human rights violations against people of the South East and South South regions. The group said, “We have waited to be sure that the police boss was either misquoted or had a Freudian slip that would be denied and clarified but none of that was done.
“Not only are we shocked that the IGP Baba did not deny and disassociate himself from such murderous statement but we are equally surprised that the presidency failed to call him to order and reassure the people of the zones who are already traumatised by such order that this is not the case.
“We want to believe that this is not a state policy to continue to designate the old Eastern region as an occupied territory since the end of the Biafra-Nigerian civil war. “Against this backdrop, Ndigbo in Diaspora condemns in strongest terms, the shoot-at-sight order given by the IG of Police and the military chiefs as part of their Rule of Engagements (ROE), which violates every fabric of Geneva convention on war crimes and on laws protecting civilians in conflict. “Consequently, Ndigbo in the United States have commenced actions to hold the police chief to account and the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces for declaration of war on citizens of Nigeria, particularly in the South East and South South regions. “For emphasis, we want to bring the attention of the IGP, Service Chiefs and Presidency that the international conventions and international rules are not being followed in the latest rules of engagement for their operations in Igbo land and therefore, constitute acts or intent to commit genocide. “As an organisation that believes in peace anchored on equity, fairness and justice, we urge the government to explore dialogue as an avenue to lasting peace in the regions and not a military-era shoot-at-sight order. We are asking the government to embrace dialogue, engage with the people and leaders of these regions in order to assuage their grievances, which borders on marginalisation and systemic discrimination. “We are also using this opportunity to inform the international community and human rights organisations that if the government and law enforcement agents continue with the bloodletting, then President Muhammadu Buhari and his service chiefs will have cases to answer at the International Criminal Court. “Finally, for a sustainable solution to the myriads of problems bedevilling the country, which have been exacerbated by the sectional and clannish nature of the current administration, we call on the Federal Government to embrace the 12-point agenda adopted by the governors of the Southern Nigeria, especially on restructuring, state policing and ban on opening grazing of livestock,” the statement noted.