Aftermath of 2023 Elections: Group urges UK, USA, EU to Avoid Repeat of Rwandan Genocide in Nigeria

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has condemned in strongest terms, what it called ‘the ongoing systematic attacks on defenseless Easterners in Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria.

The group is also condemning the dimension to the outcomes of the 2023 Presidential and Governorship Elections in Lagos State, targeted at Easterners resident in Lagos and other parts of the country.

In a statement it called ‘Special Early Warning’, signed by its Board Chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the group said it is alarming that the fundamental human rights of members of any ethnic nationality in Nigeria, to freely vote or choose candidates of their choice during the 2023 general elections have been ethnically stigmatized or criminalized using cultural violence policy of “genocidal Igbonization”.

It said it is further shocking that the dastardly act is pioneered by State political actors and their agents, with the country’s security and intelligence forces, allegedly blatantly exhibiting unwillingness, inability, inaction and conspiracy of silence.

“Shocking and alarming too is the fact that the ethnic profiling and its ‘genocidal Igbonization’ are being oiled and fueled by former respected members of ‘the Lagos School of Democracy and Human Rights’-once celebrated globally as ‘Nigeria’s democracy and human rights champions’ who singlehandedly ousted the country’s darkest military gangs and their era.

“We are deeply shocked that these former rights and democracy nobles have so fumbled to the extent of abominably transforming themselves into “promoters and prompters of electoral roguery and local and international image launderers of the leading beneficiaries of such electoral infamy”. As if these were not enough, they have also become local and international blackmailers and inciters of violence and genocide against defenseless members of a voting population who recently voted candidates of their choice and consciences’.

“It is democratically abominable and unheard of, that conscientiously voting candidates in an elections, has become a ‘treason’ or ‘crime against the state’, warranting unleashing state actor jungle justice against such group or individual voters.

“We also wonder when it has become an international best practice to force or dictate to individual or group voting citizens on whom to vote for or whom not to vote for in an election or elections,” the group said.

The pro-democracy group alleged that defenseless Easterners have been objects of government- aided attacks in recent years especially in the 2019 and 2023 General Elections.

“There has also been incessancy of ethnic profiling or coloration of every event with public good or bad effects by labeling such as “Igbo produced or engineered”. Citizens of Old Eastern Nigerian Christianity and non Muslim others and their properties have been attacked or targeted for wanton destruction in recent times in Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Maiduguri, Abuja, Sokoto, Mubi, Yola, Lagos and so on.

“In Lagos State, Easterners, hatefully labeled “Igbo People” have severally come under attacks.

“In the past 117 days of 2023 or between 1st Jan and 17th April 2023, for instance, there have been at least four major fire outbreaks targeted at destruction of hundreds of millions of naira markets and other properties belonging to defenseless Easterners in the State.

“The above is in addition to catalogues of group violence, threats and fears unleashed on the Easterners across the State.

“At the tragic end of such infernos, nothing is heard from the host Government, not even inclusive and independent probe panels to prevent recurrences and sanction the offenders.

“There have been social media driven ‘cultural violence’ including hate speeches or incitement to ethnic cleansing or genocide-sum-total of which has put Easterners and their properties in Lagos and other parts of the country in grave danger.

“Such endangerment is also not without concomitant ‘industrial scale’ reprisal effects, if genocide erupts. Verifiable social media video clips and chat messages abound detailing appointees of the Government of Lagos State and top-shots of the Lagos branch of APC-controlled Government of Nigeria openly threatening the Easterners and putting their lives, dignities of human person, liberties and properties in grave danger and fear.

“These are broadly and brazenly perpetrated-with the country’s security agencies especially the Police IGP, CP-Lagos State and State Director of DSS, etc, conspiratorially turning blind eyes and doing nothing or aiding and abetting same with impunity till date,” they said.

Intersociety said its ‘special early warning statement’ is strategically timed to coincide with the 29th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide of 7th April to 23rd July 1994.

“The messengers or fanners of embers of genocide or ethnic and religious cleansing must be stopped and their messages totally discarded.

“God forbid, the State explodes into complex humanitarian emergencies such as ethno-religious killings and counter killings and other forms of ‘reprisal radicalism’, the State will be irreparably, catastrophically and calamitously doomed,” it said.

The group is calling on “the ICC Invitees” and others breeding genocide or inciting ethno-religious cleansing against defenseless Easterners in Lagos and other parts of the country, to carefully learn the bitter lessons of the Rwandan Genocide of April to July 1994.

The statement said, “They must timely be warned to allow defenseless Easterners to live in peace with their neighbors in dignity. The last time we checked, Easterners particularly members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality are present in not less than 90 countries of the world including the most powerful among them; thereby making them the most traveled and pastorally settled, educated, industrious and connected Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria. Despite their large size, the Ethnic Nationality is the most peaceful in Nigeria. With such global network and connections, pushing them to the wall and into genocidal self defense will most likely have serious retaliatory effects and consequences far beyond the imagination and containment of those fanning the embers of the anti Igbo/Eastern genocide. It is therefore dangerous and a time-bomb threatening such populous, strategic and powerful Ethnic Nationality with genocide or incitement to them.

“Intersociety is specifically calling on all those listed in the recent petition (7th April 2023) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the political camp of Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour to retrace their steps before it is too late.

“By the clear provisions of the existing 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, Easterners including members of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality are empowered and protected to peacefully reside, work and co-exist/mix with others anywhere in Nigeria.

“These fundamental human rights are clearly and unambiguously provided for or contained in Sections 38 (thought, conscience and religion), 39(expression), 40(assemble and association), 41(freedom of movement) and 43(right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria).

“Similar provisions are provided for in the country’s acceded regional and international rights treaty laws. With specific reference to the names listed in the Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour’s recent petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), they are as follows: Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Idowu Owohunwa; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Femi Fani Kayode, Bayo Onanuga, Sam Omatseye, Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, Reno Omokri, Dele Alake, Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, a traditional ruler; the Baale of Igbara Jakande area in Eti-osa Local Government Area of Lagos State and Chairman of Lagos State Parks and Garages (LASPG), Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo); among others.

*Intersociety is joining other lovers of collective peace and security to prayerfully appeal to them to let Easterners and their properties be and live in Lagos and other parts of the country. It is recalled that the above names were recently dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, The Netherlands by the political camp of Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour over “organized crimes against humanity” before, during and after the just concluded elections in Lagos State.

“Intersociety is calling on the trio of UK, US and EU to sincerely watch over the embryos of Genocide rearing their ugly heads in Nigeria particularly in Lagos part of the country.

“If Rwanda, a country of just seven million people could be plunged into Genocide that killed over 1.3m during and after the Genocide and generated refugees of over 2.5m; what then becomes of Nigeria and territories, boundaries and borders of UK, US, EU, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Australia and others if Nigeria-with explosive population of over 210m explodes and plunges itself into Genocide?”

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