We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprising individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; wish to register our utmost disgust at the clear and unambiguous complicity of the Anambra state governor Willie Obiano in the unconscionable, barbaric and criminal massacre of unarmed adherents of IPOB and MASSOB that took place on the 30th of May as they celebrated the 49th anniversary of the declaration of Biafra in a peaceful rally.
We need to remind the governor Obiano that democracy affords citizens the right to assemble and to express dissent peacefully. The exercise of the right to self-determination falls within the inalienable rights of citizens more so in a democratic society as recognised by the UN Charter and African charter of human and people’s rights both of which Nigeria is a signatory. There is and can never be any legitimate excuse to justify the killing of unarmed civilians who were peacefully engaged in a rally. Such primitive and cowardly act of targeting innocent civilians in an orgy of bloodletting and mass killings by those whose primary responsibility is to protect lives and property under your watch as the chief security officer of Anambra state amounts to nothing other than a vicious crime against humanity.
We note that IPOB and MASSOB had notified the Anambra state police commissioner of the peaceful protest, which ordinarily should have afforded them police protection as obtains in normal societies. The fact that rather than provide protection, the same Nigerian army and police who having been given prior information could not protect indigenes of Nimbo in Enugu state from murderous Fulani herdsmen attacks could deploy to kill defenceless citizens engaged in peaceful protests; demonstrates, without doubt, the culpability of the security services and the Anambra state government as represented by governor Obiano who allowed such atrocious mass murders to occur in his jurisdiction.
Having lived in the United States, we expected governor Obiano to be more conversant with the virtues of democracy and the essential freedoms that come with it. We make bold to state that no matter how much he harps on his commitment to good governance, that ideal has been betrayed by the cold-blooded murder of innocents under his watch. Good governance is simply not possible in an environment where human life attracts no regards. It is a truism that the right to life comes before other rights. It is therefore impossible to talk of good governance when the most fundamental right from which other rights derive are systematically denied the citizens at any pretext.
We insist that as the chief security officer of the state, governor Obiano could have met with representatives of all groups, namely: the security services and IPOB/MASSOB to fashion out modalities for a hitch-free/peaceful rally in order to accommodate the inalienable rights of those who desire to peacefully express their dissent as obtains in democratic societies. His failure to do so leaves him equally complicit of the obscene and abhorrent cold-blooded mass murder of civilians. Finally, we serve notice and warn that should such atrocious denial of the right to peaceful assembly and mass murder of civilians happen again, we would join governor Obiano in our existing petition in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and accordingly commence legal action against him for crimes against humanity.
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke
President Igbo Ekunie Initiative
Secretary Igbo Ekunie Initiative