Nnewi -(Codewit) About 54, 000 Nigerians have died as a result of bombing, arson and mass-murder associated with Boko Haram terror, as well as ethno-religious or sectarian violence.
Delivering a keynote address titled, â€œNigeria in a state of war: How over 54,000 Nigerians died outside the Law Since 1999,â€ at the 63rd anniversary of the World Human Rightsâ€™ Day, 2011, yesterday in Onitsha, Anambra State, Chairman of International Society For Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Emeka Umeagbalasi said that Nigerians have lived in a state of terror due to killings which could be traced outside the law.
Umeagbalasi who said the celebration in Nigeria, was dedicated to the late ex-Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, maintained that several crackdowns by the Nigerian security forces on innocent members of MASSOB â€“ (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra), ethno-sectarian killings, communal clashes, death and torture from hostile invasion of troubled areas by security agents, vigilance groups and the police, form the major cause of these deaths.
According to him, â€œover 54,000 unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999 had arisen from ethno-religious and inter-communal/intra-communal conflicts, vigilance 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 and Peoplesâ€™ Rights of 1981.
â€œThese illegal deaths are clear signs 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 control,â€ which chooses mass-death as a form of population control,â€ he said. Umeagbalasi who lamented that alongside the unnecessary deaths forced upon Nigerians, the country had over the years become a victim of its own police force.
The activist alleged that from 2009 to 2011, the Nigeria Police Force had illegally enriched themselves with over N53.48 billion accruing from what he called â€œroad block toll collections and extortions associated with crooked enquiries into vehicular papers or documents.
â€œAs at the first week of December 2011, the number of road blocks in the South-east zone was estimated at over 1,500 with Anambra and Abia states accounting for over 800 police roadblocks followed by Imo State with 300; and Enugu and Ebonyi States with 400. We counted 1,200 of such roadblocks in November 2011 alone.
â€œIn all, over 1,500 Police road-blocks estimated to be in the South-east zone are likely to illegally enrich the NPF to the tune of N21.91 billion in the past 18 months, that is to say July 2010 to December 2011, with Anambra and Abia states coming tops with N7 billion each, followed by Imo State with N5.4 billion; Enugu N1.8 billion and Ebonyi N1.71 billion. When the said sum of N22.91 billion is added to the sum of N9.35 billion believed to have been illegally realized between January 2009 and June 2010, a period of 18 months, it may be correct to say that in the past three years (2009-2011), the Police road-blocks in the Southeast zone are likely to illegally fetch the Police Force the sum of N32.26 billion,â€ Umeagbalasi said.