June 12, 2016
NIGERIAN ARMY’S PREDICTABLY LAME RESPONSE TO AN INDICTING REPORT BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ON THE KILLING OF UNARMED PEACEFUL BIAFRANS
The blatantly illiterate and incompetent Nigerian Army responded to an indicting report by Amnesty International concerning the killing of unarmed and peaceful Biafrans which occurred on the 29th and 30th of May 2016 in their usual manner of name-calling and peddling of lies. In their response credited to one Col. H. A. Gambo, the Nigerian Army stated thus: “The attention of 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to insinuations of misdeed being leveled by Amnesty International against security forces during the MASSOB/IPOB violent protests in Onitsha and environs on 31 May 2016. Accordingly, it is deemed imperative for the wrong and misleading impressions with which the public is being fed to be corrected once and for all.” Col. Gambo also noted that: “pro-Biafran protesters who had chosen the day to mark the 50th Anniversary of Biafra perpetrated a number of unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of Anambra State.”
Before we go into the substance of the Army’s response, there is the need to correct the misinformation contained in their statement. First, the Biafran Heroes’ Day Remembrance is entirely an affair of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and not any other group. Smuggling in the name of another group/s is trying to give credit to compromised organizations who are known to be sell-outs.
Secondly, the Biafran Heroes Remembrance Day has been and will continue to be on May 30th of every year. Irrespective of the day of the week that is 30th of May, the Remembrance Day will always be celebrated on that date. Therefore, it is the height of deception for the Nigerian Army to claim that IPOB celebrated the Remembrance Day on May 31, 2016. And lastly, we would like to remind humanity that the sovereign nation of Biafra was declared on May 30th 1967 and by May 30th 2016 we celebrated the 49th Anniversary of the heroism of the fearless Biafra Army that, against all odds, held out for 3 years against the combined onslaught of the British led foreign military coalition against Biafra.
For record purposes, we IPOB make it clear that Nigeria never defeated Biafra but instead it was foreign governments especially that of Harold Wilson, Labour Party Prime Minister of Britain, that convinced Russia and the United States to provide arms to Nigeria, deny Biafra legitimate access to weapons, and ensured international diplomatic shut-out of Biafra. On the 30th of May of each year, we remember these gallant men and women that gave their life that this generation of Biafrans might live.
Delving into the substance of the Army’s response; how can the decrepit Nigerian Army explain how people who were murdered in their sleep on the night of May 29th suddenly became violent? How can someone be sleeping and be protesting at the same time? What are the “unimaginable atrocities” that the Army cannot find a description for?
To justify the use of live ammunitions on Biafrans, Col. Gambo claimed that Biafrans: “employed firearms, crude weapons as well as other volatile cocktails such as acid and dynamites.” Where are the arms and ammunitions that the Army recovered from the “violent Biafrans”? Is the Army actually referring to the acid which they, the Nigerian Army, poured on the bodies of dead Biafrans as they lay in mass graves which was dug at the cemetery inside Onitsha Army Barrack? Is the Army aware that information leaked through Tony Nnaecheta who personally supervised the burying of over 100 dead bodies of Biafrans in mass graves inside the Onitsha Army barrack?
Col. Gambo in reference to the damning report, averred that Amnesty: “have decided to inundate the general public with an anecdote of unverified narratives in order to discredit the Nigerian Army in the course of carrying out its constitutional duties despite the inexplicable premeditated and unprovoked attacks in the hands of the violent pro-Biafran mob.” Also, in citing legal support for their heinous crime, Col. Gambo stated that: “The Nigerian Army in synergy with other security agencies under its constitutional mandates for Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) and Military Aid to Civil Power (MACP) acted responsively in order to de-escalate the deteriorating security scenario in-situ.” IPOB wish to state categorically that there is no place in the 320 sections and seven schedules of the constitution of Nigeria where the Army is empowered to shoot at unarmed peaceful civilians, especially those who are sleeping. The constitution of Nigeria has no such thing as MACA or MACP and we challenge Col. Gambo to point IPOB to the section or schedule of the Nigerian constitution where such mandates are explicitly stated.
From the report of Amnesty International, it is now crystal clear that Buhari and his murderous soldiers committed crimes against humanity against Biafrans. The International Criminal Court (ICC) will definitely rely on this report and other supporting reports and documents to ensure that justice is meted out to Buhari and his fellow blood thirsty murderers in the Nigerian Army.
Muhammadu Buhari was part of the marauding soldiers that killed over 2 million Biafrans at Owerri in 1968. Prior to the mass murder he committed at Owerri, Buhari was one of the soldiers that stormed the Government House in Ibadan on the 29th of July 1966 and cowardly assassinated his Commander-in-Chief General J. T. U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, a Biafran of Igbo extraction. Historically, Muhammadu Buhari is used to shedding blood and being the head of the armed forces of Nigeria, it is not a surprise that the Nigerian Army will go to any extent to carry out the dictates of their blood-thirsty commander.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is also aware of the Army’s strategy of persistently associating IPOB with other organizations in order to belittle or smear IPOB’s hard-earned reputation and indirectly give credit to these compromised organizations. It is worthy to re-emphasize that 30th of May Heroes Remembrance Day is a project envisioned, designed, and delivered by IPOB under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, not any other group. From the first outing in 2014 to the just-concluded one in 2016, the organizers and participants have been members of IPOB and not any other group or organization. This is the reason for the peaceful and disciplined manner that characterized the 30th May celebrations every year in more than 100 countries and territories around the world.
For the Nigerian Army, no amount of barefaced lies and misinformation will deceive the world from knowing the truth about the genocide committed by the Army against the people they are supposed to be protecting from external aggression. The Amnesty International report is spot-on and incontrovertible.
The army’s response is hogwash, fraudulent, and cannot stand the upcoming ICC imprisonment of Buhari, Buratai, Arase, Obiano, and other killers of unarmed and peaceful Biafrans.
Barrister Emma Nmezu Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya
Spokesperson for IPOB Spokesperson for IPOB