Nigeriaâ€™s human rights problems during the year (2009) included the abridgement of citizensâ€™ right to change their government; politically motivated and extra-judicial killings by security forces, including summary executions, vigilante killings, abductions by militant groups, torture, rape and other cruel, in-human or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and criminal suspects; hash and life-threatening detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention, denial of fair public trial, executive influence on judiciary and judicial corruption; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, and movement; official corruption and impunity; domestic violence and discrimination against women; the killing of women suspected of witchcraft; female genital mutilation; child abuse and child sexual exploitation; societal violence; ethnic regional and religious discrimination, trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; discrimination against persons with disabilities; discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and child labour – The US Department of State Report on the State of Human Rights in Nigeria in 2009.
On 10th December 2010, the leadership of Intersociety marked the 62nd Anniversary of the UDHR by choosing dictatorship, which ravages Africa and world public governance, under civil and political rights, as our topic. We inquired and exposed most of the Africaâ€™s and worldâ€™s dictators or totalitarian rulers and asked them to quit or they would be booted out of office. And on 17th December 2010, the Mohammed Buazizi inspired â€œJasmine Revolutionâ€ started in Tunisia and on 14th January 2011, former President Azedine Ben-Ali of Tunisia was forced out of office, followed by former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and late President Mouamar Gaddafi of Libya. They had been in office since 1979, 1981 and 1969 respectively. We heartily congratulate the great Arab people for this rare feat and reiterate our earlier call on the remaining dictators in the Central, Southern, West, East and North Africa as well as Asia including Middle East and former Soviet Union to quit before it is too late for them. The rights of the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to choose and change their political leaders must be upheld at all times.
Today, we are zeroing down on Nigeria against the backdrop of rising unlawful killings since 1999. Taking a critical look at the above – summarized 2009 US Department of State Report on Nigeriaâ€™s Human Rights Records.
It is very clear that nothing in that Report has changed since 2009. Instead, bombing, arson and mass-murder associated with Boko-Haram terror as well as ethno-religious or sectarian violence has swollen the long list of the Nigeriaâ€™s rights abuses. In other words, all the rights so mentioned are still observed in grievous breach. In the area of the â€œcitizensâ€™ right to choose and change their leadersâ€, for instance, its violation appears unabated especially in the Local Government Council (LGC) administration, which constitutionally is supposed to be democratic at all times. The Government of Anambra State under Mr. Peter Obi appears to be the â€œfirst degreeâ€ violator of this important right following its refusal to conduct polls into its 21 LGAs, which have not had democratic structure since 2002 when the last democratic structure elapsed. States that have conducted â€œvery glaringlyâ€ shambled LGA polls are the â€œsecond-degreeâ€ violators, while Lagos State, which recently conducted â€œglaringlyâ€ shambled polls into its LGA System, is the â€œthird-degreeâ€ violator. The Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which failed in its Section 7 to clearly stipulate the autonomy of the LGA system in Nigeria, is the â€œgrand violatorâ€ of this vital political right. At this stage, we renew our call on the Government of Anambra State to ensure that the State Independent Electoral Commission conducts the LGA polls into the 21 LGAs.
In this report, our sources of information are derived from credible open sources such as the United States Department of State, the Human Rights Watch (USA), the Amnesty International (UK), AFP (France), Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN (USA), Aljezeera (UAE), BBC (UK), authoritative local and international online media, Nigeriaâ€™s print, audio and audio-visual media, the Department of Criminology & Security Studies of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), NOPRIN (Nigeria), ERA (Nigeria), OSIWA, Blackâ€™s Law Dictionary -2009 edition, Uche-Wisdom Durueke Law Firm, Owerri-Imo State, eye-witness accounts, on-the-spot findings and the Intersocietyâ€™s library, as well as de-classified security reports from the State Security Service, the Police and the Army. We are immensely grateful to them.
How Over 54,000 Unlawful Deaths Were Recorded Since 1999:
According to recognized war dictionaries, war is simply an inter-state or intra-state violent conflict that claims over 999 lives. With the foregoing definition, Nigeria is truly in a state of war against herself and her over 150 million population (intra-state war) with over 54,000 citizens killed since 1999 outside the law. This type of war clearly goes beyond norms guiding wars, contained in the international laws of war or the Geneva Conventions. These shilling killings can best be described as â€œgenocideâ€ and â€œcrimes against humanityâ€. On 8th April 2003, the leadership under this writer in then Anambra State CLO estimated that over 18,000 Nigerians died outside the law since 1999. On 5th August 2009, we in the Intersociety estimated that over 30,000 unlawful deaths took place in Nigeria since 1999, a period of ten years, and on 17th March 2010, we reviewed it and concluded that the number might have increased to 34,000 as a result of the further rise in the killings. Our latest findings, however, indicate that these figures may have been under-calculated, hence the latest figure in the neighborhood of 54,000 illegal deaths.
Unconstitutionality Of The Killings:
There are over 54,000 unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999 had arisen from ethno-religious and inter-communal/intra-communal conflicts, vigilante killings, politically and other socially motivated assassinations, abduction-for-death killings, election-related killings, extra-judicial killings (those killed outside the law by security forces), and involuntary disappearances (those abducted and presumed killed usually by State and non-State actors). These killings are unknown to Section 33 of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and other sub-regional, regional and international rights instruments recognized by the Federal Republic of Nigeria such as the African Charter on Human & Peoplesâ€™ Rights of 1981. The illegal deaths are also a clear sign of failure of the State to ensure the security and welfare of the citizens of Nigeria in accordance with Section 14(2) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and an inglorious attempt by the State to invoke as a policy the â€œMalthusian theory of population controlâ€, which chooses mass-death as a form of population control.
In the vigilante killings, the periods of 1998 and 2002 were the bloodiest era for the Nigerian States of Anambra and Abia, followed by Lagos, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu. Apart from mass-murder openly recorded in those States, their Houses of Assembly, particularly those of the five Eastern States passed legislations, indirectly sanctioning summary executions, abductions, false imprisonment, rape, torture, forceful possession of properties, etc through â€œtrial by ordealâ€, which is considered repugnant to Nigeriaâ€™s written criminal laws, equity and good conscience, all in the name of â€œfighting crimeâ€.
Within this period, married women were forcefully taken away from their husbands, abducted, raped and murdered; under-age female students abducted, held illegally and raped for days (at the Bakassi White House in Onitsha Main Market); 32 innocent traders abducted, locked up in a small illegal cell and allowed to suffocate to death (i.e. the â€œOrie Ohabiam 32â€ of August 2005 in Abia State) to mention but a few.
Over 5,000 summary executions or killings were recorded in Anambra State (1998 – 2002) in the hands of Onitsha Traders Vigilante Group (OTA) (1998 – 2000) and those of Anambra State Vigilante Services a.k.a Bakassi Boys (2000 – 2002). In Abia State, 3,500 – 4,000 killings were believed to have taken place (1998 – 2002) in the hands of the Abia State Vigilante Service (also called Bakassi). In Lagos State, the Oâ€™odua People Congress Vigilante Group (OPC), backed by then Government of Lagos State is believed to have carried out over 1,500 criminal executions. Imo State is believed to have recorded over 1,500 unlawful killings courtesy of the State Vigilante Service between 2001 and 2002.
In Ebonyi and Enugu States, which embraced the monstrous vigilante security methods in 2001, dozens of unlawful executions were recorded before the Federal Government dislodged them in the Southeast in September 2002.
However, they re-grouped later with a slight pattern change as seen today. In all, over 11,500 criminal executions or killings appeared to have taken place as a result of vigilante killings in the States mentioned between 1998 and 2002. Though the vigilante killings, particularly in Anambra and Abia States have continued since 2002, but the rate and pattern with which they kill have reduced.
Presently, there are more than 1.000 armed vigilante groups operating in Anambra and Abia States respectively that is to say that over 2,000 armed vigilante groups may exist in the two States. Even though they are code-named â€œcommunity-based vigilante groupsâ€, yet, they are still controlled by various Statesâ€™ government, which sometimes use them for political purpose. As it is now, secret killings have replaced open killings and body dismemberment methods hitherto applied by the murderous outfits. Today, Abia State appears to record the highest number of unlawful deaths arising from vigilante killings since 2002, which is in the neighborhood of 2,000 including the â€œOrie-Ohabiam 32â€ of August 2005, followed by Anambra with over 1,000 and Imo with about 500.
Victims Of Vigilante Killings:
Some of those killed or tortured by the Anambra State and the Abia State Bakassi Boys as well as the Onitsha Tradersâ€™ Vigilante Group (OTA) during the periods under review include: Citizens Chukwudozie Nwachukwu (29) and Okechukwu Maduekwe (27) (killed on 10th January 2000 by Abia Bakassi Boys), Chuma Onwuazo and Bonaventure Egbuawa (murdered in April and July 2000 by OTA Vigilante Group backed by then Government of Anambra State), Hon. Ifeanyi Ibegbu (then member of the Anambra State House of Assembly (abducted and tortured by Bakassi Boys on 21st August 2000), Edward Okeke (murdered in Anambra State on 9th November 2000 by AVS or Bakassi Boys), Ezeodimegwu Okonkwo (murdered in Anambra State by AVS on 18th February 2001), Ikechukwu Nwagboo (murdered in Anambra State by AVS in February 2001), Rockfeller Okeke (murdered in Anambra State by AVS in his residence on 23rd April 2001), Felix Ikebude (murdered in Anambra State by AVS in December 2001), Sunday Uzokwe (murdered in Anambra State by AVS on 30th January 2002), Mrs. Ngozi Oranu (raped and murdered in Anambra State by AVS at the Bakassi White House, Onitsha Main Market in November 2001), Barnabas Igwe (then Onitsha Bar Association Chairman murdered in Anambra State by AVS in the evening of 1st September 2002), and Barr (Mrs.) Amaka Blessing Igwe â€œA. B. Girlâ€ (wife of Barrister Barnabas Igwe murdered by AVS alongside her husband on 1st September 2002).
There were also cases of thousands of torture and rape involving the murderous groups mentioned. For instance, in 2002, 17-year-old Miss Chinenye Okoye, who was an SS2 Student of the Mathamavis Secondary School, Umuoji, Anambra State was abducted by Bakassi Boys, taken to the Bakassi White House in Onitsha Main Market and raped for 60 days (Source: The News Magazine, 21st October 2002, page 21).
In August 2005, Citizens Uchenna Elewa (23), Jonathan Ukaegbu (39), Onyebuchi Nwamuo (22), Uzoma Njoku Nwangwa (41), Onyema Ibeneme( 27), Goodluck Sunday (26), Uzoma Onyebuenyi (40) and 25 others were forced to suffocate to death by the Abia Bakassi Boys in Orie-Ohabiam near Aba in Abia State (Source: Human Rights & Justice Foundation, Aba, Abia State).
In all, it may be correct to say that vigilante killings in Nigeria since 1999 accounted for over 15,000 unlawful deaths. Those tortured and extorted within the periods are also in tens of thousands. It should be noted that many States and communities have also formed armed vigilante outfits, which sometimes engage in torture and summary executions expressly through â€œtrial by ordealâ€ crime methods, and in all these, most, if not all those responsible for the illegal killings, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments are neither investigated nor prosecuted, making them to be on the prowl ad infinitum thereby encouraging culture of impunity.
Deaths Arising From Police Crackdown On MASSOB Activists:
Those who died since 1999 as a result of several crack downs by the Nigerian security forces on innocent members of MASSOB – Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra other than some of them, the break-away members, who turned militants and took up arms against their fellow citizens, are believed to be in the neighborhood of 2,000. The bloodiest crackdown is believed to have resulted from several invasions of the Okwe headquarters of MASSOB in Imo State by the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force and the 2006 Federal Governmentâ€™s military action in Onitsha, Anambra State against the break-away militant MASSOB activists, which led to the death of scores of uninvolved MASSOB activists as well as innocent civilians. For instance, in the second week of July 2006, 14 people including a Pastor were killed in Iyiowa – Odekpe Layout in Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State by a combined team of soldiers and police personnel. They were accused of belonging to MASSOB, which is demanding for a separate territorial enclave for the people of the Southeast Nigeria called Ndigbo through non-violence means.
Deaths Arising From Inter-Communal & Intra-Communal Conflicts:
In the Ezza-Ezillo inter-communal conflicts of 2008 and 2010, over 300 unlawful deaths were recorded owing to the failure of the State to effectively manage the conflict. Other inter-communal and intra-communal conflicts in Nigeria since 1999 such as Ife – Modakeke inter-communal conflict in 1999/2001, Hausa/Yoruba Shagamu and Igbo/Yoruba (Alaba Market & Lagos Wharf) clashes in 2001, Umuleri – Aguleri inter-communal conflict in 1999/2000, Owerre – Ezukala/Ogbunka inter-communal conflict in 2011, Umunya intra-communal conflict, Akpu – Ajali inter-communal conflict, Fulani – host farmersâ€™ clashes in Nasarrawa LGA, Nasarrawa State, which killed at least 50 people, etc have resulted in over 1,000 unlawful deaths or summary executions since 1999.
Deaths Arising From Military Invasion Of The Nigerian Hostile Communities:
It is estimated that over 4,000 civilians were killed outside the law by the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigerian Army during the military invasion of the Odi community in Bayelsa State in 1999, Zaki-Biam community in Benue State in October 2001 (over the abduction and killing of 19 soldiers), Gbaramatu community in Delta State in May 2009 and other troubled areas in the South-south or Niger Delta region between 1999 and 2009. In the Odi massacre, for instance, over 2,000 innocent citizens were massacred. The leadership of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) believes that over 2,500 civilians were massacred; while in the Zaki-Biam communityâ€™s military invasion, the Human Rights Watch stated that about 200 civilians were killed by the Nigerian Army in revenge for the abduction and killing of 19 soldiers.
Judging from several media and rights groupsâ€™ reports, over 16,000 Nigerian civilians might have been killed in ethno-religious/sectarian violence in Nigeria since 1999. As of March 2010, it may be correct to say that over 13,500 civilians particularly women, children and the elderly were killed. Over 5,000 civilians may have died in Jos crises since 2001. In the 2000, 2001 and 2002 Kano and Kaduna ethno-religious violence alone, over 3,000 deaths were reportedly recorded. In the ethno-religious violence that hit Jos in September 2001, at least, 1,000 people lost their lives (Human Rights Watch). In May 2004, over 700 lives were lost in Yelwa, Plateau State. In November 2008, over 700 people were killed in Jos. The Human Rights Watch recorded about 133 extra-judicial executions carried out by the Police-led Nigerian security forces. Other media reports showed that on 17th January 2010, over 150 people were killed in Kuru Karama near Jos in Plateau State. On 7th March 2010, over 400 people died in the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Rassat in Jos South LGA of Plateau State as a result of early morning bloody attacks launched by armed suspected Muslim fanatics. Most of those killed were women and children. Over 120 people were killed in main and reprisal attacks in Jos prior to the Christmas Eve bloody bombings in the troubled capital city, which also killed at least 80 people. On 7th January 2011, 8 Muslim youths were killed in Jos and on 8th January 2011, 48 Igbo traders were ambushed and killed in Dilimi and Bauchi Road Markets in Jos. In the evening of same day, 14 Muslims were killed in several communities near Jos. On 10th January 2011, 11 Christians in the village of Wareng in Southern Jos were killed. Between 28th and 30th January 2011, 15 people including Police Corporal Jacob Mada were killed in Jos. In January 2011 alone, at least 42 Muslim commercial motorcycle operators and 51 Christians were declared â€œdisappearedâ€ by their relatives. The Jos killings continued into August 2011 and even beyond it. On 9th August 2011, at least 23 people were killed. In August 2011 alone, at least, 50 people were killed. Therefore, it may be correct to say that up to 1,000 unlawful deaths have been recorded in Jos in 2011 alone.
Other Sectarian Killings (i.e. Boko-Haram):
According to media reports monitored by the Intersociety, following the Yelwa sectarian violence of 2004 that led to the death of over 700 people, some of them
Muslims, the reprisal killings that took place in Kano in 2005 resulted in the death of over 200 Christians, who were mostly Igbo traders and in the reprisal killings that took place in early 2006 in Anambra State, over 80 people, many of them Muslims were killed. The Boko-Haram violence in Nigeria, which started in 2002 in Borno State, may have killed over 3,000 innocent citizens. The Islamic Sect abhors â€œwestern educationâ€ and opts for the strict application of the Sharia Criminal Law as a State law governing Nigeria. The late Ustaz Yusuf Mohammed and Alhaji Fuju Foi, a former Commissioner for Religious Affairs in the Government of Borno State, who reportedly resigned in 2008, led it. Both of them are university graduates.
While the Niger Delta militants adopted bombing of oil installations and other strategic government facilities and abduction-for-ransom as its â€œwar methodsâ€, the Boko-Haram uses bombing of government facilities and mass-murder as its â€œwar tacticsâ€. Unlike the Niger Delta militants that are traceable, the members of the Boko-Haram sect are highly elusive and very scientific. The Sect has killed notable religious or Christian denominational leaders; and destroyed a number of Churches, beer parlours, hotels and restaurants in the Northern part of Nigeria.
Key government facilities including the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Military Barracks and the UN Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria have also been bombed with the Sect claiming responsibilities for such attacks. In July 2009, for instance, the Boko-Haram inspired violence broke out in the Northern States of Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Kano, resulting in the death of between 800 and 1,000 people. The â€˜This Day Newspaperâ€™ of 2nd August 2009 reported â€œabout 700 dead bodies were recovered and buried in Borno State aloneâ€. One Colonel Ben Ahanotu, an official of the Nigerian Army in the area, according to the newspaper, confirmed the causality figures to the Associated Press. The violence sparked off by an attack at a Police Station in Bauchi State lasted for six days (26th July – 2nd August 2009). On 29th January 2011, at least 25 people were killed in Bauchi State and 4 people in Borno State, bringing the total to, at least, 29. The violence started in Belewa LGA in Bauchi State. In the 2010 Boko-Haram inspired bombings that hit the Nigeriaâ€™s Golden Jubilee anniversary and the â€œMogadishuâ€ Barracks, over 50 people were killed. At least, 30 people died on the 1st October 2010 attack. On 16th June 2011, at least 5 people were killed when a car bomb went off at the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja. On 26th August 2011, according to independent sources, as many as 80 people were killed when bombs went off at the Nigeriaâ€™s UN Building in Abuja. The Government of Nigeria and her security forces put the official figure at 24. On 4th November 2011, between 100 and 150 people including 11 security personnel were killed in Yobe and Borno States during bomb attacks suspected to have been launched by the Boko-Haram Sect, which hit five Churches, liquor joints and strategic security formations in Yobe State, where most of the casualties were recorded. The Nigeria Police Force puts the official figure at 65. On 26th November 2011, at least four Police personnel and an undisclosed number of civilians were killed in Geidam, Geidam LGA of Yobe State when bombs hit eight Churches and a Police Divisional Command.
The Boko-Haram Sect claimed responsibility for the attack. In all, over 3,000 people might have been killed since the Boko-Haram violence started in 2002 at the Nigerian – Nigerien border, which is close to Borno State, North-east Nigeria.
Election Related Killings Since 1999:
Nigeria has conducted four major elections since 1999, that is to say; the 1999, the 2003, the 2007 and the 2011 general elections and none of them was violence free, though some were more violent than others. It is believed that up to 300 people died during the conduct of the 1999 and the 2003 general elections. In the 2007 general elections, at least 300 people were killed (Human Rights Watch, USA) and in the 2011 general elections, over 1,200 people including at least 50 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were killed. At least, 150 people were killed between July 2010 when the INEC released the first elections timetable and 1st April 2011(pre-election killings). Between 2nd and 26th April 2011, a period of 24 days, up to 1,100 people were killed. Some of these deaths were on: 9th January 2011 – 4 people were killed in the hometown of Mr. Timi Alaibe in Bayelsa State; 28th January 2011 – Engineer Fannami Gubio, Alhaji Godi Modu Sherrif and seven others including a ten-year old boy were killed in Maiduguri, Borno State, near a Mosque, 1st February 2011 – a MOSOP activist, Mr. Richard Nima was killed in Eleme LGA in Rivers State, 9th February 2011 – two kids were shot dead reportedly near the Palace of the Emir of Lafia in Nassarawa State when police fired at anti – government protesters, 12th February 2011 – about 20 people died in a stampede caused by security forces in Rivers State during a political rally attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, 3rd March 2011 – 4 people were killed when a bomb went off during a political rally attended by Governor Babangida Aliyu in Niger State, 19th March 2011 – three people were killed in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State during a political rally, 21st March 2011 – three people were killed in Lagos State during a clash between the ACN and the PDP supporters, 21st March 2011 – seven people were killed in Jos, Plateau State during a political rally attended by Alhaji Mohammed Buhari of the CPC.
On 22nd March 2011, at least 12 people were killed in Akwa Ibom Sate during a bloody clash between the ACN and the PDP supporters. Over 200 vehicles and tricycles were burnt beyond recognition, and the violence continued into 25th March 2011 when five more people were killed. More violence erupted in Ogun, Ekiti, Osun and Jigawa States claiming more lives and destruction of properties. In March 2011 alone, at least, 40 people were killed. On 1st April 2011, at least, 10 people were killed. On 2nd April 2011, over five people were killed. On 13th April 2011, at least, 13 people died in the Suleja INEC Area Office bombing in Niger State. On 9th April 2011, 39 people were killed. On 16th April 2011, at least, 10 people were killed and between 26th and 27th April 2011 post presidential election violence that rocked over half of the 19 Northern States including Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa, Niger and Taraba, up to 1,000 people were massacred including over 50 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The Government of Nigeria reportedly put the official figure at â€œover 200â€.
Strictly speaking, over 2,000 innocent Nigerians may have been killed since 1999 in election-related violence and out of the four general elections conducted in Nigeria since 1999. The 2011 general elections are the bloodiest, with at least 1,200 deaths.
In all these killings, including ethno-religious and sectarian violence, the people of Southeast Nigeria (Ndigbo) are the most vulnerable. It may be correct to say that out of every five people killed in the ethno-religious violence in the Northern part of Nigeria, four are from the Southeast Nigeria and out of every five killed in the Jos sectarian violence, one, if not two is from the zone. The Southeast also constitutes the bulk of those killed in Church, beer parlour and restaurant bombings by the Boko-Haram Sect in Borno, Bauchi, Plateau and Yobe States since 2009. Out of the over 16,000 unlawful deaths believed to have been recorded since 1999 in ethno-religious and sectarian violence, well over half of them (8,000) are likely from the Southeast Nigeria, which is similar to the 30,000 people from the zone killed in the North, particularly in then Kano sub province in 1966, which sparked off the Nigeria – Biafra civil war of 1967 – 1970.
Police Extra-Judicial Killings:
It is widely believed that the Nigeria Police Force carries out an average of 1,500 extra-judicial executions annually in Nigeria since 1999, resulting from custody and roadblock killings. There are also unlawful killings by the Police Force, which are associated with torture, highhanded crowd control and conflict management. Many, if not most of these killings originate from the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), the Joint Taskforce (JTF) and the Anti-riot Police Personnel (Mobile Police). The latter mount roadblocks on Nigerian roads and engage in killing and maiming those who resist their extortionist and other graft activities. Torture, which is nicknamed â€œdisciplineâ€ by the Nigerian Army, is also common among various departments of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly its Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and SCID or SCIB operatives. Rights groups have also recorded many deaths arising from torture and unlawful detention. Comrade Ifeanyi Onuchukwu of the Humane Justice International in Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria on 4th November 2004, at the Central Police Station, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria, witnessed the mass killing of 20 innocent detainees, who had been held for months without trial in the Station by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command.
According to Comrade Onuchukwu, who was also detained in the SARS cell from 4th to 19th November 2004 when he was granted bail, one of the Police officers handed a sheet of paper with a pen to one of the detainees to re-compile their names and their States of origin and at around 7:15pm same day, they were taken out of the cell. Comrade Onuchukwu said he took possession of the sheet of paper containing their names when the Police officer forgot to recover it from the detainee. The 20 detainees were lined up and shot dead by the corner of the Station and their remains taken to â€œAgu-Awka dumping siteâ€ and mass buried. The burial site was revealed to him by one of the passers-by forced to carry their remains to the burial site.
The 20 massacred detainees, according to Comrade Ifeanyi Onuchukwu, are: Nduka Okoye, Ephraim Okenyeka, Samuel Odoh, Oforbike Odoh, Chibueze Ugwuoke, Ugochukwu Okonkwo, Chizoba Mbaebie, Ifeanyi Nwafunanya, Ugochukwu Anaekwe, Ifeanyi Izueke, Ekene Ejike, Chinedu Okoro, Uche Ubaka, Charles, Onyeabo Anaekwe, Leonard Obasi, Emeka Ofoke, Chibuzor Asouzu, Obiajulu and Ugoo Nwude. Their killers are still on the prowl. But, it should be noted that while the rate of extra-judicial and custody killings among the Anambra SARS operatives under Sir Felix Kigigha(Chief Superintendent of Police) seem reduced, torture and extortion including demands for and collection of â€œbail feesâ€ have continued.
On 7th June 2005, Citizens Ifeanyi Ozoh, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebum (the popular â€œApo Sixâ€) barely left their Gambiya Street relaxation joint in Area 11, Abuja, when a team of Policemen from the FCT Command rounded them up. They were labeled â€œarmed robbersâ€ and summarily dismembered with live bullets. Since then, the trial of the 10 indicted Police officers among them are DCP Danjuma Ibrahim, ASP Othman Abdulsalami and eight others, which commenced since June 2006 before Justice Ishaq Bello, Abuja High Court, has been at a snail speed despite the establishment of enough prima facie evidence. For instance, the former IGP Okiro headed Police report indicted the 10 Police officers and the Federal Government accepted same and approved the payment of N3 Million compensation to each of the six families. The Police authorities also apologized and catered for the funeral expenses of the six citizens, yet justice is still delayed and being denied.
Extra-judicial killing by the Police is partly responsible for the bloody bombings and violence carried out in various parts of Nigeria by the Boko-Haram Sect, especially since 2009. For instance, on Wednesday, 29th July 2009, according to media reports, the Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force invaded a Mosque in Borno State controlled by the Boko-Haram Sect and killed over 100 suspected members of the Sect extra-judicially. On Thursday, 30th July 2009, the Police killed the leader of the Islamic Sect, Ustaz Yusuf Mohammed extra-judicially. He was captured alive by the Nigerian Army Taskforce, code-named â€œOperation Flushâ€ and handed over to the Nigeria Police Force. The pictorial evidence obtained by the British Broadcasting Corporation authenticated Ustaz Mohammed Yusufâ€™s extra-judicial killing. The second-in-command in the Islamic Sect, which is also called â€œTalibanâ€, Alhaji Fuju Foi, died under extra-judicial circumstances too. In the Jos sectarian violence of 2008, where over 700 people were killed, according to HRW; there were about 133 extra-judicial executions by the Nigeria Police Force. As a result of the July 9, 2011 bombing of Kaleri, Ngomari Custain area in Maiduguri, Borno Stae, according to the Amnesty International, at least 25 people were killed extra-judicially by the Joint Military Taskforce in response to the bombing through house-to-house invasion and application of maximum force against the areaâ€™s innocent residents.
In the course of our recent inquiries into criminal deaths in Nigeria, particularly the extra-judicial executions by the Police, we discovered that extra-judicial killings associated with the NPF in our March 2010 statement, which was estimated to be 34,000 Nigerians (killed outside the law since 1999) is most likely under-calculated. For instance, the leadership of the Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA) in their 2010 Report – â€œCriminal Forceâ€, quoted then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun as informing the Human Rights Watch researchers in April 2004 that â€œthe NPF killed 7,198 â€œarmed robbersâ€ from January 2000 to March 2004â€. In other words, the NPF carried out 7,198 extra-judicial executions in four years. Those killed extra-judicially by the NPF are usually called â€œarmed robbersâ€ in the Nigeria Police parlance (like the â€œApo Sixâ€). In November 2007, the Human Rights Watch reported that the Nigeria Police Force in eight years, 2000 – 2007, carried out over 10,000 extra-judicial executions. This figure, according to the leadership of NOPRIN and OSIWA, may be lower to compare with what could be fairly accurately obtained (â€œCriminal Force 2010â€ by NOPRIN & OSIWA).
In 2004 alone, according to the leadership of the Legal Defence & Aid Project (LEDAP), 2,987 cases of Police extra-judicial killings were recorded. These dastardly acts of the NPF are still unabated. For instance, on 26th November 2011, the NPF Warri Division killed Hon. Ogbe Onokpite, the Governorship candidate of the Citizensâ€™ Popular Party (CPP) in the 2007 and 2011 elections in Delta State, South-south Nigeria, extra-judicially, after his arrest in a hotel room. He was accused of â€œgun-runningâ€. According to his lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, he surrendered himself to the arresting Police officers who brought him out of the hotel and shot him on the leg and took him to their Station where he was, again, shot at in the delicate organs of his body. He was abandoned and left in the pool of his blood to bleed to death. The Police Area Commander-in-Charge of the Area claimed that he was â€œmaimedâ€ while trying to escape from arrest and â€œgave up to the ghostâ€ on their way to hospital.
In all, it may still be correct to say that an average of 1,500 extra-judicial executions is carried out annually by the NPF since 1999. This further indicates that 125 innocent Nigerians are killed monthly. In some cases, this figure is much higher. Therefore, the Nigeria Police Force may have carried out over 17,000 extra-judicial executions since 1999. Over 4,000 extra-judicial killings carried out by other security forces including the Nigerian Army may have also occurred, bringing the total number of extra-judicial killings since 1999 to over 21,000. Extra-judicial killing simply means the killing of any Nigerian citizen by a member of the Nigerian Armed Forces, including a Police officer outside the processes provided by the countryâ€™s body of laws. Vigilante killings are considered an act of murder because the law disallows the vigilante operatives to kill their suspects. But they can arrest and hand over to the Police for competent investigation and diligent prosecution. The Nigeriaâ€™s body of laws abhors any form of â€œtrial by ordealâ€, which is very rampant among the Nigerian armed vigilante groups.
It may be correct to say that up to 220 prominent Nigerians have been assassinated since 1999 and most of those responsible have not been held to account for their crimes. Between 2001 and 2003 election seasons, over 60 Nigerians were reportedly assassinated. Some of those assassinated since 1999 are: Mr. Sunday Ugwu, elder brother to Honourable Nwabueze Ugwu of then Enugu State House of Assembly (9th September 1999), Chief Bola Ige, Alliance for Democracy chieftain and Attorney General of Nigeria (December 23, 2001), Chief Ezeodimegwu Okonkwo, a politician/musician of Anambra State (18th February 2001), Mr. Ikechukwu Nwagboo, Personal Assistant to Hon. Chudi Offordile, a member of the House of Representatives from Anambra State (February 2001), Chief Rockfeller Okeke, Public Relations Officer of Anambra State Ministry of Health (23rd April 2001), Mr. Felix Ikebude, a top member of Sir Emeka Offorâ€™s Anambra Peopleâ€™s Forum (December 2001), Johnson Chukwuegbo, an LGA Councilor in Enugu State (2nd February 2002).
Others are Mr. Victor Nwankwo, younger brother to Chief Arthur Nwankwo of the Peopleâ€™s Mandate Party (PMP) who was shot dead at Enugu -29th August 2002. Professor Chimere Ikoku, former Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Enugu State, October 2002), Retired Navy Captain Anthony Onyearugbulem, former Military Administrator and ANPP Gubernatorial faithful for 2003 polls in Imo State (allegedly murdered via poison in a hotel – 22nd July 2002). The rest are: Chief Sunday Uzokwe (Anambra State, 30th January 2002), Mr. R. Odigwe, a top official of the Anambra State Sanitation Authority (Anambra State, August 2002), Barristers Barnabas and Amaka Blessing Igwe (Anambra State, 1st September 2002), Chief Ogbonnaya Uche (Imo State, 7th February 2003), Chief E. Emenike (Imo State, 15th February 2003), Chief Egwuatu, Principal Secretary to the Government of Imo State (22nd February 2003), Mr. Kenneth Ije (Ebonyi State, 2002), Mr. Dele Arojo (Lagos State, 25th November 2002), Chief Odunayo Olugbaju (Osun State, 21st December 2001), Dr. Harry Marshall (from Rivers State but assassinated in Delta State on 7th March 2003), Alhaji Ahman Pategi (Kwara State, 2nd August 2002), Mr. Musa Dayo (Bauchi State, 2003), Mr. Udo Marcus Akpan (Akwa Ibom State, May 2002), Chief Funsho Williams (Lagos State, 2007), Comrade Chima Ubani (believed to have been killed in a stage-managed accident, September 2005), Comrade Chidi Nwosu (Abia State, by suspected State agents, 29th December 2010) and Alhaji Modu Gana Mechanici (Borno State, 27th March 2011). Bloody clashes among supporters of some politicians within the period also left at least 60 people dead.
Human Abductions Arising From Political & Business Disputes:
It may also be correct to say that at least 4,000 Nigerians and expatriates have been abducted since 1999. According to the Nigeriaâ€™s â€˜Daily Independent Newspaperâ€™ of July 23, 2009, quoting then Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Yakubu Lame, it stated that â€œover 850 Nigerians and non-Nigerians were abducted between January 2008 and June 2009â€ .The report also stated that 353 people were abducted in 2008 and 512 between January and June 2009.
The Niger Delta militants first adopted the art of abduction-for-ransom as an asymmetric war tactics against the Federal Government of Nigeria. A belligerent breakaway from MASSOB group later embraced it in 2005 and 2006 particularly in Anambra and Abia States. Later on, deadly politicians in Imo, Anambra and Abia States adopted it. Killer-business moguls particularly in Nnewi markets and the Iron Dealersâ€™ Market in Onitsha now use it to settle business scores.
Armed robbers and their sponsors including some senior officers of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly in the Southeast Nigeria have also embraced it. It has evolved from abduction-for-ransom to include abduction-for-life robbery tactics. Today, out of every five citizens abducted, five pay ransoms to regain their freedom. According to some recent media reports, quoting an American FBI official, Nigeria is now fourth in the world ranking in terms of human abduction index.
The chilling killing of over 54,000 innocent Nigerians outside the law since 1999 depicts the failure of the Nigerian security system and gross inability of the Nigerian State to protect innocent citizens. Nigeria is a party to many sub regional, regional and international treaties meant to protect citizensâ€™ rights. Sadly, Nigerian citizens
have continued to die unnaturally. The Nigerian security system seems terribly sick.
There are over 600,000 security operatives bearing arms in Nigeria with the Nigeria Police Force accounting for 371,800 (Wikipedia Internet Encyclopedia, 2011), yet their security approaches have remained grossly out-dated and anti-social. The vigilante security system in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast States of Anambra and Abia is a time bomb, waiting for explosion! Today, there may be over 2,000 armed vigilante groups operating in the two States with little or no effective regulations over their sources of arms and numbers. Also, there may be over 500,000 small arms in the wrong hands in the zone and the number increases steadily. It may be correct to say that unless extreme care is taken, otherwise, the vigilantes of today will be transformed into armed robbers, kidnappers and assassins of tomorrow. Nigerian history tells us that one of the reasons that led to dissolution of the various Police forces in the 60s maintained by regions, Emirs, Obas and LGAs, which gave room for a unified Nigeria Police Force of today, is hyper proliferation of arms and gross rights abuses.
Communal, ethno-religious, election, sectarian, and Boko-Haram-related killings are barbaric, highly political and deeply religious. The political, religious and security leaders in the Northern part of Nigeria are directly and indirectly responsible for the unlawful killings. Apart from using and dumping, deceiving and misleading their people, they have done little or nothing in terms of effective infrastructural and human capital developments of their zones. Other than their capital cities, other important parts of their States are nothing to write home about, thereby spiraling rural-urban migration and incessant urban violence. While their children are sent to the best schools in Arab and Western capitals, they continue to play ostrich with Western education.
They siphon billions of Naira meant for their people and turn round to propagate strict adherence to Islamic Criminal Law, which they apply with utter discrimination. We are not in the know of any child of these leaders who has participated or got killed in any of the holy wars.
The porosity of some key border posts in the country such as the Nigerian – Nigerien and the Nigerian – Chadian borders help to fuel the Boko-Haram and other ethno-religious violence because of the unchecked influx of poor and jobless Nigeriens and Chadians in the country. These foreign unemployed nationals are easily recruited as political thugs and holy-war fighters by some, if not many crooked politicians and religious zealots in the North. The Nigerian citizens from the zone and the nationals of the two countries also belong to the Afro-Asiatic Language F
amily, which further makes it somehow difficult to distinguish them from non-Nigerians.
We have severally pointed out that the educational system as we have it today did not originate from the so-called â€œWestern Worldâ€, which is contrary to the â€œBoko-Haramâ€ doctrine, which holds that â€œwestern education is a tabooâ€. History tells us that the first ancient University in the World was â€œthe Egyptian System Mystery Schoolâ€. Presently, the worldâ€™s oldest university is â€œthe Al-Ahzar University of Cairoâ€ opened in 970AD. The division of days into seconds, minutes, hours, weeks and so on originated from Egypt and Iraq (Babylon). The first world calendar, which got transformed into the present â€œPope Gregorian Calendarâ€, also originated from them. During the Dark Ages (450 – 800AD) and the Renaissance (800 – 1400AD), Islamic learning in ancient science flourished. Apart from criticizing and innovating, Islamic scholars also developed the primitive Greek Alchemy into todayâ€™s chemistry. Many Greek writings were translated into Islamic languages. The Islamic thinkers also borrowed the idea of zero from the Hindu Mathematicians and invented the Arabic numerals. They created the science of Algebra and the study of Algebraic functions. Today, many scientific terms such as alcohol, syrup, camphor, lute, guitar, azimuth, azure, cipher, zenith, algebra, zero, etc are the legacies of Islamic thinkers and their contributions to modern education, including science and technology. Even words such as almanac, mattress, take, tartan, astronomy, etc also originated from Arabic terms. The most eminent Muslim physicist was Ibn-al Houthan (965 AD to 1020 AD). His chief work was done in optics and he showed a great advancement in experimental method. What about the great Razes (865 AD to 925 AD)? He was the greatest of the Arabic Alchemists (chemists).
With the foregoing, it is obvious that the â€œBoko-Haramâ€ doctrine is grossly misconceived. The Northern leaders should face realities by embarking on aggressive mass education of the â€œAlmajarisâ€ and other brains they are allowing to waste in their zone as well as effective infrastructural development of their States. The recent confessional statement made to the Nigeria State Security Services by Malam Ali Sanda Umar Konduga a.ka. Al-Zawahiri, an expelled spokesman of the Boko-Haram Sect, to the effect that some Northern politicians (like Senator Ali Ndume and late Ambassador Saidu Pindar) were behind the violent activities of the Sect, is a case in point. We ask that justice be done, according to law, in that case.
Further Report Analysis On Security & Criminal Justice:
The extra-judicial killing by Nigerian security forces, which includes the unwarranted bloody military attacks on Odi, Zaki-Biam and Gbaramatu communities, roadblock killings and deaths in Police cells as well as abductions, armed robbery attacks and assassinations, has shown clearly that the Nigerian security system and her criminal justice administration are nothing to write home about. The preemptive security system in Nigeria is a disaster likewise in crime detection and prevention methodologies. The countryâ€™s criminal investigation and prosecution have been defaced by graft practices. The entire policing system in Nigeria seems not intelligence based or sensitive. Instead, it is AK-47 driven. Poor data mining and near-absence of sound database and â€œimmunity from modern security technologyâ€ are other factors seriously challenging the competence and efficiency of the Nigerian security organizations, especially the Nigeria Police Force.
Of the entire border posts in Nigeria including her four trans-national highways, airports and international waterways, the trans-sahelian highway to Algeria and the trans-sahelian highway to Dakar, Senegal are most terrorists prone. They are grossly under-secured likewise the Nigerian – Nigerien and the Nigerian – Chadian borders. The Nigeria Police Force clearly lacks the capacity to provide the security direly needed in a democratic Nigeria. Apart from the few efforts of the State Security Services (SSS) in anti-terrorism crusade, the NPF with its 371,800 officers can best be described as â€œa failed Police forceâ€. Its intelligence gathering capacity is non-existent. The Force is grossly corrupt and incompetent. It may also be correct to say that the Force does not have an accurate data about its members not to talk of possessing effective crime management skills. The corridors of the Force can easily be walked in and worked out with utter alacrity, more so when there is no credible modern record keeping for its â€œin-serviceâ€, â€œout-serviceâ€ and â€œout-of-serviceâ€ personnel.
The Force lacks modern tools of crime fighting, including criminal investigation. For instance, modern criminal investigation now involves e-investigation. Sadly, early criminal investigation methods, which are mainly crude or backward because of their reliance on eyewitnessesâ€™ accounts, inferences and confessions extracted under torture, are still the order of the day in the NPF. The Scotland Detective Department of the London Metropolitan Police, established by Robert Peel and his team in 1829 remains the best modern detective Police in the world today. Crime detection, which is the discovery, identification and analysis of criminal evidence as a means of law enforcement (Criminology & Security Studies Dept of NOUN 2010), is totally unavailable in the NPF likewise crime prevention. Parts of the modern crime management techniques, include decoy methods, stakeout or surveillance and comparative scientific criminal investigation. Under the latter, there is yet no computerized database for criminal records in the Nigeria Police Force.
In the modern policing, there are also scientific firearms examinations and biometric technology. Others are: serological investigations (study of body fluids in relation to sickness and treatment); toxicology (science study of poison); science study of hairs and fibers; mineralogical investigation (study of soil, plaster, cement, brick, concrete and glass for any criminal evidence); metallurgical investigation (an identification of the sources of an item whether made of metal, plastic, ceramic, etc found on crime scene); and science study of documents to determine forgery or otherwise, etc. There is also numerous modern scientific security tracking devices such as closed circuit televisions, hidden cameras, etc. In the cyber security technology, numerous crime preventive and combating appliances abound.
Sadly, none of these modern security technologies has been fully embraced by the NPF. As a matter of fact, many, if not most top Commanders of the NPF ranging from CPs to the IGP hardly operate and maintain e-mails except aided by outsider parties. In the average Nigeria Police field formation or station nowadays, every Police officer including Police tailor, Police driver and Police animal keeper is an â€œInvestigating Police Officerâ€ (IPO), who applies torture and crude inferences as his or her tools of investigation with zero knowledge in modern criminal investigation technology. Effective criminal investigation and prosecution are the hallmarks of a modern criminal justice system. Intelligence, counter-intelligence and strong political will anchored on due process are the non-negotiable answers to Nigeriaâ€™s rising rate of intra-state violence and other criminal killings. It amounts to total shallowness to amass Armored Personnel Carriers, war helicopters and anti-riot Police personnel to combat the Boko-Haram terror, when the Sectâ€™s operatives are applying information intelligence and â€œdemobilized intelligenceâ€ warfare as asymmetric war tactics against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
For effective or diligent criminal prosecution to be ensured there must be effective criminal investigation. It is correct to say that criminal prosecution in Nigeria is more of a colossal failure. While legislative bottleneck contributes a part, many Police prosecutors, top officials of the Directorate of Public Prosecution and some, if not many Magistrates are drenched in corruption, thereby messing up the system. These corrupt Magistrates indiscriminately allow the arraignment of accused persons over matters with heavy penalties such as capital punishments, which are outside their jurisdictions, which lead to the accused persons being dumped and abandoned in prisons for months, if not years. Even when the files of the accused persons are taken to the DPP for â€œlegal opinionsâ€, it takes many months further before they either bribe their way out of the prisons under â€œno-case-to-answerâ€ or face the appropriate prosecutions at High Courts.
For instance, on 29th September 2011, 62 MASSOB activists including three juveniles were arrested by the Abia State Command of NPF on their way to Abakiliki, Ebonyi State, Southeast Nigeria to celebrate the World Igbo Day. 52 of them were arraigned on 30th September 2011 in an Umuahia Magistrate Court in Abia State that lacked the jurisdiction over criminal charges preferred against them, usually treason and other spurious capital criminal charges.
They were remanded in prison custody for want of jurisdiction.
Till date, they have not been properly arraigned in the appropriate Court or granted bail. Out of the 62 of them, 52 were arraigned wrongfully and remanded in prison custody, while the Police released seven of them after their families reportedly bribed them with huge sums of money. The three juveniles detained among them since 29th September 2011, who have not been taken to Juvenile Court till date, in accordance with the Juvenile & Young Personsâ€™ Act, 1944, are Irechukwu Nnogidem (16), Chukwuebuka Okata (15) and ThankGod Nwachukwu (13). Four members of the group were also arrested and currently detained at the State CID, Asaba, without trial by the Delta State Police Command since third week of November 2011.
Grand Data Summary:
Totally, it may be correct to say that over 54,000 Nigerians have died outside the law since 1999. Vigilante killings account for at least 15,000 murders; ethno-religious and sectarian violence including Boko-Haram terror account for at least 16,000 criminal deaths; extra-judicial executions by Nigerian security forces led by the Nigeria Police Force account for at least 21,000 killings, which include Odi, Zaki-Biam and the Niger Delta (i.e. Gbaramatu invasion) massacres. Police killings or extra-judicial executions may have accounted for over 17,000 deaths. The election-related killings since 1999 may also have accounted for over 2,000 deaths. These figures did not include deaths arising from other man-made tragedies such as road accidents, flood menace and those killed by arm robbers including deaths arising from robbery gunshot injuries.
â€¢ It is our considered view that the first step towards remedying the rot in the Nigeria Police Force is a total purge of its top command structure. To this effect, the President & Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, who is also the Chairman of the Police Council of Nigeria should, by a presidential directive cause the retirement with benefits of all serving Commissioners of Police holding â€œState command positionsâ€ and those not holding such positions, who are 50 years and above and all the serving AIGs, DIGs and IGP. This directive should concurrently run with an immediate approval for mass promotions in the Force to fill the vacancies left by them. Among the newly promoted senior officers, an intelligence egg-head, who is also a modern technology expert, could be made the next IGP in line with Section 215(1(a) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, which states: â€œan Inspector General of Police who, subject to Section 216(2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Forceâ€.
â€¢ It has been observed that most, if not all the senior police officers are â€œenemies of modern technologyâ€, which is the bedrock of modern policing. They constitute a serious threat to e-policing and e-investigation. Also, there is gross lopsidedness in terms of geopolitical equity with respect to the promotion and appointment of CPs, AIGs and DIGs, which is contrary to Section 14(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
Among the present 37 CPs of the 36 States and the FCT, Abuja about 25 of them are from the North. Among the 21 AIGs in the present NPF, 13 are from the North. While among the seven DIGs, four are from the North (Source: Laws & Facts Guiding Nigeriaâ€™s Elections, published by the Policy & Legal Advocacy Center (PLAC) 2011). Therefore, these anomalies should be corrected.
â€¢ It is our recommendation that the Nigeria Police Force should return to intelligence -based crime management. To this end, the NPF Detective College in Enugu, which offers programs in Detective, Anti-Fraud, Fingerprint, Modus Operandi, Prosecution, Photographic, Criminal Intelligence, Scene of Crime and Criminal Records & Statistics, should be technologically overhauled, expanded and elevated to the status of â€œthe Nigeria Police Detective Universityâ€, while modern technologically advanced Police detective colleges should be established in each of the Nigeriaâ€™s six geo-political zones.
â€¢ The age-long monopoly enjoyed by the NPF in the field of criminal investigation and criminal prosecution should be clearly broken. An Act of the National Assembly should be enacted for registration and regulation of private detectives and/or investigators as well as to ensure the citizensâ€™ right to seek alternative avenues for criminal inquiries, if unsatisfied with Police handling of a criminal complaint. The Coroner Law in the country should also be thoroughly updated in line with the international best practices as part of the new alternatives.
â€¢ On the same note, the right of every Nigerian to effective criminal prosecution should be ensured. The powers of the Federal and the State Attorneys-General to grant fiats to interested citizens according to their dictates should be liberalized and translated as a right into legislation with laid down conditions, so as to stamp out any form of abuse. The constitutional powers invested on the Federal and the State Attorneys-General to â€œcontinueâ€ or â€œdiscontinueâ€ any criminal proceedings in Courts, which are now subject of abuse, should be reviewed as well.
â€¢ On the issue of â€œholding chargeâ€ or â€œcommittal proceedingsâ€, which is unduly used by the Nigerian Magistrates, there should be an effective disciplinary body akin to National Judicial Council to sanction these â€œjunior juriesâ€, who technically assume jurisdiction over serious criminal matters that are clearly outside their jurisdiction. There should be â€œpractice directivesâ€, as a takeoff, to be issued by the States and the FCT Chief Judges and an Act of the National Assembly, later on, barring Magistrates from allowing the commencement of criminal charges that are outside their jurisdictions in their Courts. Criminal prosecutors should be made to take their suspects or defendants to the appropriate Courts.
â€¢ The 6,651 field Police formations in Nigeria should be fully computerized and adorned with sound database. There should be a central computing and control system digitally linking the 6,651 field Police formations in Nigeria, which should be situated at the Force Headquarters of the NPF. Specifically, the art of criminal investigation in the Force should be professionalized and removed from the hands of quacks. To this end, the Divisional Crime Offices and the SCIDs/SCIBs of the Force nationwide should be overhauled and computerized; peopled with more competent hands and retrained on regular basis in technological criminal intelligence and investigation.
â€¢ Offices of the NPF legal departments, which appear to exist only at the 12 Police Zonal Commands and the 37 State and FCT Police Commands, should, as a takeoff, be established at all the 127 Area Commands and later extended to the 1,129 Police Divisional Commands in Nigeria so as to eliminate congestions associated with rising number of criminal cases in the country. To this end, more lawyers with experience in criminal law should be recruited by the Force and the existing O/Cs-Legal in the above mentioned police formations, should be absorbed into such legal departments. The Investigating Police Officers, who must be trained in modern criminal intelligence, biometric, ICT technologies and human rights, should keep their legal departments updated on their investigations, which must be devoid of torture and crude inferences.
â€¢ The Federal and the Statesâ€™ Attorneys-General should overhaul their Directorates of Public Prosecution nationwide and put effective disciplinary measures in place to monitor and curb their corrupt practices including their poor attitudes to work. There shall be established the Federal DPP offices in the 109 Senatorial Districts in Nigeria to ensure timely and diligent criminal prosecutions in matters of federal jurisdiction. There shall also be established in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria the Statesâ€™ DPP offices for effective access to criminal justice in Nigeria in matters of Statesâ€™ jurisdiction, with more qualified lawyers and criminologists recruited to man them. The recruitments and promotions as per the personnel of the DPP should be based, strictly, on merit. And the police criminal investigators should be made to duplicate their files and forward to the Directorates of Public Prosecution before the arraignments of the accused persons or defendants in courts.
â€¢ Police prosecutors should be barred from preferring charges with capital punishments and other charges that are outside the magisterial jurisdictions of the magistrate courts against the accused persons in any magistrate courts in Nigeria.
Only qualified police lawyers should be allowed to prosecute capital offence cases in the appropriate Courts, not Magistrate Courts and police investigators should duplicate and send their files to the DPP before prosecution. There must be an end to the investigation of criminal matters in Nigeria. To this end, where the accused persons are at large, such investigations may continue, but where they are in custody or not at large, their investigations must be brought to an end within a specific time frame. An Act of the National Assembly may be required in this case.
â€¢ We further recommend that the National Assembly of Nigeria should re-enact a new Nigeria Police Act and Regulations. The present Act is outdated and antithetical to modern intelligence, protective and preventive policing. The infamous â€œOrder 237â€ of the NPF, which permits a Police officer to shoot any person suspected or detainee â€œtrying to escapeâ€ or â€œavoiding arrestâ€ should be reviewed, if not abolished. It has become a â€œlicense to killâ€ for the personnel of the NPF.
â€¢ In view of the rising proliferation of vigilante groups and small arms in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast, we recommend that the Federal Government of Nigeria should take steps to effectively put them under tight checks forthwith before it becomes too late. Also, disciplinary measures should be taken against personnel of the NPF who failed to attach their service uniforms and numbers while on duty. Some of them now wear bathroom slippers, pyjamas and rags while on road duties, thereby degrading the NPF and making it difficult for citizens to differentiate them from criminal-citizens.
â€¢ Nigeria should aggressively pursue national intelligence, external intelligence and foreign counter-intelligence policies with human rights consciousness. To this end, the Acts setting up the Police, the SSS, the NIA and the DMI (Army) should be over-hauled and expanded to clearly define the new intelligence security roles as per internal intelligence, external intelligence and foreign counter-intelligence. This is because the intelligence roles by these bodies seem blurred. To add life to this, the Nigeriaâ€™s Criminal Reforms Bill lying unlegislated before the National Assembly should be passed into law immediately. Also the Nigeriaâ€™s trans-sahelian highway to Dakar, Senegal and to Algeria as well as the Nigeria – Nigerien and the Nigeria -Chadian borders, which have become â€œthe routes of terrorismâ€, should be properly policed so as to check the Boko-Haram violence and other homicidal activities.
â€¢ There should be massive investment by the Federal Government in intelligence security and intelligence policing. To this end, selected departments of criminology & security studies, pathological science, psychology, sociology and criminal law of selected Nigerian universities(like NOUN-National Open University of Nigeria) should be designated as intelligence priority list, equipped and funded properly to serve as research grounds for countering the steady intra-state violence in Nigeria.
â€¢ It is obvious that Mr. President has not demonstrated enough political will to nip this recurring unprovoked sectarian violence in the bud. His â€œCommander-in-Chiefâ€ status appears under-utilized particularly as per bringing those responsible for these abominable killings to justice. To this end, President Jonathan should re-organize and re-shuffle his security chiefs including the leadership of the Police Service Commission and take full charge of the security of the nation.
â€¢ While commending Mr. President for his recent presidential directive, ordering the release of all MASSOB members detained unjustly across the country, which led to over 98% of them being released, we wish to draw Mr. Presidentâ€™s attention to the continued detention of S2 of them including three juveniles in Umuahia, Abia State and four of them in Asaba, Delta State since September and November 2011 respectively by the Nigeria Police Commands of the two States. We demand for their immediate release in compliance with the presidential directive.
â€¢ It is our recommendation that a day should be set aside every year with a national holiday for the remembrance of those killed outside the law. A posthumous national highest honour of the GCFR should collectively be bestowed on them to be hung around a status dedicated to them at the FCT, Abuja. Further steps should be taken by Mr. President to ensure that these senseless killings are nipped in the bud, through effective security and conflict transformation.
â€¢ Lastly, it is our recommendation that the Prosecutor for International Criminal Court and the UN Raporteur on Extra-judicial Killings should carry out extensive investigations into these unlawful killings, including finding out what measures, if any, the Government of Nigeria have taken to ensure that those responsible for the killings are brought to justice. If in their opinions, the measures are insufficient, and then relevant UN Charters should be invoked so as to bring those responsible to account for their crimes against humanity.
Prepared & Delivered At Media Forum In Onitsha, Nigeria, Today, 11th December 2011
Chairman, Board of Trustees
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule Of Law
Mobile Phone Nos: +234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912
Relevant Nigerian & International Public Institutions & Non Governmental Organizations
Dedicated To The Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, The Peoplesâ€™ General!