Posted by News Express | 27 September 2019 | 2,169 times
The Int’l Society For Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety) on Thursday is exposed what it called “the raging gross lopsidedness in the control and command of top military and policing formations in Eastern Nigeria.”
“It is tearful and shocking, for instance, that out of 26 top military officers recently found to be manning key military formations in the Southeast, none of them is from the Region. This is nothing short of a serious security threat to the People of the Southeast including their boundaries, properties and environment; especially in a country where ethnicity, religion and greed have been elevated as national policy direction and inculcated into the country’s milito-policing culture and operations,” the group said in the Executive Summary of a detailed letter it wrote to the eleven state governors of Eastern Nigeria, 285 elected members of the Eastern Houses of Assembly, 33 elected Senators and 98 elected members of House of Reps from the two regions.
“The Eastern Nigeria’s elected public office holders must therefore specifically insist on regional inputs in the appointment and posting of top military and policing officers manning key military and policing formations in the two regions. We call on them to further take the matter up with Mr. President upon his return from the 2019 UNGA as well as proactively engage the authorities of Defense Headquarters, Army, Navy, Air Force, SSS and NPF,” Intersociety said.
The 8-page letter accompanied by 6-page graphic tables was dated 26/09/2019. It was signed by Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi; lawyers Obianuju Igboeli, Ndidiamaka Bernard, Chidimma Udegbunam and Chinwe Umeche – all principal officers of the frontline rights group.
The letter complained that the authorities of the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force have refused and failed to immediately fill the Southeast vacancy in the Nigeria Police Management Team by way of elevation of an Igbo senior police officer to the rank of DIG. The vacancy has deliberately been allowed to linger since 12th August 2019 or past 44 days. The reverse must therefore be ensured by the named elected public officers of the Southeast. This must be done as a matter of uttermost immediacy and inexcusability.
The letter reads in part: “The elected leaders of the Southeast must also prevail on the authorities of the PSC and NPF to ensure sectional balancing at all times in the appointment or promotion of Police AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs, etc and be particularly compelled to ensure that out of 26 serving AIGs in the country, Southeast gets at least four; fifteen out of 95 serving CPs, six out of 36 State CPs and two out of 12 Zonal AIGs. The Southeast must further be made a meritorious and substantive member of the Nigerian Defense and Security Councils, denied since June 2015.
“The continued domination, command and control of top military and policing formations in Eastern Nigeria by officers of Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba nationalities and their Islamic faith and total shutting out from the regional security arrangement or skeletal involvement of officers of the Southeast and the South-south must no longer be tolerated or accepted. As a matter of fact, security in the midst of official insecurity such as the referenced is an act of impossibility and a wild goose chase.
“This is more so when it has conservatively been found that not less than N250b or $850m had been spent by the eleven Eastern Nigerian States through their “Governors’ monthly security votes” in the past four years (August 2015-August/Sept 2019) in aid of key military and policing formations and their operations in Eastern Nigeria, yet the two regions are shut out or skeletally involved when it comes to appointment and posting of senior military and policing officers manning such formations. The lopsided compositions are also found to have fueled corrupt practices and grosss rights abuses by the ethno-religiously lopsided stationed security personnel in the two regions. These include racial profiling, extra judicial killings, unlawful arrests, long detentions without trial, torture and enforced disappearances, etc.
“It is particularly a clear act of impossibility and a wild goose chase for security arrangements to be said to have been made or put in place in Eastern Nigeria (South-south and Southeast) by Govs and other public office holders when top military and policing formations in the two regions are manned by top officers of Northern and Southwest (Yoruba) Muslims and few non-Muslim others; with senior officers of the Eastern Region totally shut out or skeletally represented.
“Considering the multi religious and ethnic composition of Nigeria or ethno-religious multiplicity of the country recognized in the 1999 Constitution, it remains our unequivocal position that top public offices in Nigeria including top political, military, policing and justice positions must be allocated to their statutory occupants in full reflection of the country’s multi ethno-religious composition as firmly recognized in Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Such plum offices must not be sectionalized or ethno-religiously dominated, but allocated in accordance with the principle of geopolitical or regional fairness and balancing.”
The special letter to the 427 elected public office holders of Eastern Nigeria coincided with the announcement September 25 by the authorities of the Nigerian Army of their readiness for another round of code named military operations including “Operation Python Dance IV” for Southeast and “Operation Crocodile Smile” for South-South. The Nigerian Army says ‘the military operations will kick start simultaneously across the country on October 7 and end on December 24, 2019.
Continuing, Intersociety said: “The Nigerian Army has earned notoriety in using such operations to execute ethnic agenda, which usually leads to massacre of targeted unarmed and defenseless citizens of particular ethno-religious nationality. In Sept 2017, for instance, the Nigerian Army carried a well-coordinated massacre operation in Abia State under the guise of “Operation Python Dance 11”, targeting members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and other general population and in the end, no fewer than 180 were killed and over 130 others maimed. The Army did not lose a single soul on its part nor bring the perpetrators to book till date.
“The Nigerian Army and other branches of the Armed Forces and Police, with intelligence supplied by the SSS, had earlier between 30th August 2015 and 20th Jan 2017, engaged in series of killings and maiming, targeting unarmed and defenseless street protesters and other members of the Southeast and South-south populations; leading to death of no fewer than 300 and maiming of over 370. The killings and maiming were perpetrated under the guise of ‘’internal Security Operations”. Again, no soldier was killed and no perpetrators were brought to book till date.
“In all these, like Senate President (Dr. Ahmed Lawan) said recently, “the Nigerian security architecture or arrangement (including militarization of political and civil spaces) has failed to secure the citizens or not achieved the desired result of providing the needed security to the citizens”. Instead, criminals and their entities are being protected and the innocent massacred in droves by the country’s security forces particularly the Nigerian Army. In other words, soldiers, police and guns are everywhere in Nigeria, yet no security.
“Consequences of these sectionalized or lopsided compositions: Apart from constituting serious security threats to the safety and security of the Peoples of Eastern Nigeria or Southeast and South-south Regions and protection of their properties, lands and boundaries, there are also widespread feelings among their populations that the current Armed Forces and Policing agencies are far from being secular. In other words, they now operate as ‘Islamic security forces of Nigeria’.
“One pattern and trend found in the course of our recent field research or investigation is conversion of most, if not all military checkpoints in the two regions into mobile mosques or Muslim praying grounds. One of such cases was recorded on Tuesday, 17th Sept 2019 at the Nigerian Naval Checkpoint located at Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road/Uga Street Junction at the road boundary of the Ogbaru and the Onitsha South Local Government Areas of Anambra State.
“The account which took place at about 1.40pm saw Hausa-Fulani Muslim young men numbering about 20, converting the open space into a Muslim praying ground by the side of the said Nigerian Navy checkpoint. This is even when their Mosque is located about 300 meters away at the Kala Hausa Settlement along same Atani-Ogwuikpere Road. Our further checks disclosed that this has become a daily routine done every afternoon in most, if not all military checkpoints in the Southeast and the South-south Regions or Eastern Nigeria.
“The despicable practice is also deliberately done and replicated to create a general psychological belief of the Nigerian Armed Forces belonging to Muslims or Hausa-Fulani and Muslim segment of the Southwest (Yoruba) Ethnic Nationalities alone. This is done in addition to preferential treatment of civilian members of the Fulani Muslims including allowing and maintaining their settlements around or near military checkpoints, etc.
“Exposing Grossly Sectionalized Headship Of Military & Policing Formations In Eastern Nigeria
“The following are the analyses of the eight tables containing names and ethno-religious identities of those presently manning top military and policing formations in Eastern Nigeria (Southeast and South-south). Also revisited and captured in the eight tables: tables 3(a) and 3(b), are names and ethno-religious identities of those occupying 22 top defense (military), security, policing, paramilitary and justice positions or establishments in Nigeria. The field research was conducted in August 2019 and completed on 22nd Sept 2019.
“It must be reminded too that between August 2015 and August/Sept 2019 (past four years), the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu had had five GOCs (three Northern Muslims, a Southwest Muslim and a Northern Christian); namely: Major Gen Ibrahim Attahiru (Northern Muslim: 29th July 2015-April 2017), Major Gen Adamu Baba Ibrahim (Northern Muslim: April 2017- August 2018), Major Gen Emmanuel Kabuk (Northern Christian: August 18, 2018-18th Dec 2018), Major Gen Abubakar Maikobi (Northern Muslim: Dec 18, 2018- 11th Sept 2019) and Brig Gen Lasisis Adegboye (Southwest Muslim: Acting GOC since 11th Sept 2019).
“The present Acting GOC (Brig Gen Adegboye) was the Garrison Commander of the 82 Division from Jan 2017 to Jan 2019. As a Garrison Commander, Brig Gen Lasisi Adegboye was involved in the massacre of no fewer than 180 defenseless and unarmed Igbo citizens and maiming of over 130 others during the Sept 2017 Army Python Dance 11 in Abia State.
“Table 1 (a) Sectionalized Headship of Top Military Formations in Southeast (Igbo Land)
“There are 26 top military (Army, Navy and Air Force) positions identified. By religion and tribe, 18 of the 26 are Muslims involving 16 Northern Muslims and two Southwest Muslims; while eight are Christians involving four Southwest (Yoruba) Christians, three Northern Christians, one South-south Christian and zero Southeast Christian. In other words, out of 26 top military officers manning strategic military formations in Southeast Nigeria or Igbo Land, no Igbo top military officer is among them. This is not only totally rejected, but also a clear case of creation of official insecurity and a serious security threat to the People of the Region and safety of their ancestral environment. For graphic details, see Table 1 (a) as attached.
“Table 1 (b): Sectionalized Headship of Top State and Zonal Police Commands in Southeast (Igbo Land)
“Out of six top police commands in the Region involving five State Commissioners of Police and the AIG in charge of Zone 9 at Umuahia, four are Muslims involving three Northern Muslims and one Southwest (Yoruba) Muslim, while the remaining two are South-south Christians. In other words, out of the six, no Igbo CP or senior police officer is among them. In the list preceding the current one, it was 95% Northern Muslim dominated. The positions of DCPs and ACPs in charge of Operations, Investigations and Area Commands as well as MOPOL, SARS, Anti Cult, Anti Bunkering, Anti Terrorism and Divisional Police Commanders, etc in the Region are also Northern Muslim dominated. This is totally rejected. For graphic details, see Table 1 (b) as attached.
“Table 1 (c): Sectionalized Headship of State Directorates of SSS in Southeast (Igbo Land)
“Out of the five State Directors of SSS in the Region, three are Muslims involving two Northern Muslims and one Southwest (Yoruba) Muslim. The remaining one (Enugu State Director of SSS) is a Southwest Christian. Again, none of the five State SSS Directors in the Region is from Southeast or Igbo Land. This is totally rejected. For graphic details, see Table 1 (c) as attached.
“Table 2 (a): Sectionalized Headship of Top Military Formations in South-south (Niger Delta)
“There are 22 top military (Army, Navy and Air Force) positions identified. By religion and tribe, 14 of the 22 are Muslims involving 11 Northern Muslims and three Southwest (Yoruba) Muslims; while the remaining eight are Christians involving four Southwest (Yoruba) Christians, one Northern Christian, two South-south Christians and one Southeast Christian. In other words, out of the 22 top military officers manning strategic military formations in South-south Nigeria, only two are from the Region. This is not only totally rejected, but also a clear case of creation of official insecurity and a serious security threat to the People of the Niger Delta and safety of their ancestral environment. For graphic details, see Table 2 (a) as attached.
“Table 2 (b): Sectionalized Headship of Top State and Zonal Police Commands in South-south (Niger Delta)
“Out of the eight top police commands in the Region involving six State Commissioners of Police and two AIGs in charge of Zone 5 (Benin) and Zone 6 (Calabar), five are Muslims involving three Northwest, one Northeast and one Southwest (Yoruba) Muslims, while the remaining three are Christians involving one Northeast, one South-south and one Southeast Christians. In other words, out of the eight, only one is from South-south or Niger Delta.
“The list preceding the current one was also Northern Muslim dominated. Similarly, the positions of DCPs and ACPs in charge of Operations, Investigations and Area Commands as well as MOPOL, SARS, Anti Cult, Anti Bunkering and Anti Terrorism (i.e. Operation Delta Safe) and Divisional Police Commanders, etc in the Region are Northern Muslim dominated. This is also totally rejected. For graphic details, see Table 2 (b) as attached.
“Table 2 (c): Sectionalized Headship of State Directorates of SSS in South-south (Niger Delta)
“Out of the six State Directors of SSS in the Region, there are four Muslims involving three Northern Muslims and one Southwest (Yoruba) Muslim, while the remaining two are Christians involving one South-south and one Southeast Christians. In other words, out of the six, only one is from the South-south or Niger Delta Region. The lopsided arrangement or composition clearly amounts to canonization of official insecurity intelligence and it is totally rejected. For graphic details, see Table 2 (c) as attached.
“Tables 3 (a) and 3 (b): Muslim Occupation of 18 of The 22 National Defense, Policing & Justice Positions
“Out of the 22 top defense, policing and justice positions at Nigeria’s Federal level, Muslims are in charge of 18 with only four left for Christians. While 16 are occupied by Northern Muslims, the Southwest (Yoruba) Muslims are allocated with two. Two Northern Christians are further in charge of two paramilitary organizations; namely: Federal Road Safety Corps and Federal Fire Service while the Southern Christians are left to occupy only two positions of Chief of Defense Staff and Chief of Naval Staff.
“The Southwest (Yoruba) Muslims are additionally given two positions of Chairman of Police Service Commission and Minister of Interior. Geopolitically or regionally speaking, South-south or Niger Delta is allocated with only one post (Chief of Naval Staff) out of the 22 and in the whole; Southeast or Igbo Nation is allocated with nothing. As it stands, Igbo Nation is not a member of the National Defense Council and it is presently serving in observer capacity in the National Security Council. This is by virtue of ministerial appointment of Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama as Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is also totally rejected. For graphic details, see Tables 3 (a) and 3 (b) as attached.
“Other key positions presently and dominantly held by Northern Muslims in a country of six geopolitical zonal arrangements, three major tribes, ten relatively populous ethnic nationalities and over 370 tribes in all; with Christian and Muslim populations of roughly 50-50% are the Ministers of Finance, Petroleum and Aviation; the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Chairmen of Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal; Director of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and Chairmen of Independent National Electoral Commission and National Population Commission as well as DG/CEO of National Identity. The rest are the positions of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, President of the Senate, etc.
“Uploading Of Graphic Tables & Concluding Part
“The graphic tables, numbering eight, shall be uploaded in coming days with the concluding part of the special letter as well as electronic link to the letter. Two Photos attached below were taken yesterday afternoon (25/09/2019) at the Uga Junction/Atani Road Junction Naval Checkpoint showing some Hausa-Fulani Muslims being allowed to convert the arena of the Checkpoint into a Muslim praying ground.”
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