Sunday, 23 June, 2024


Anambra Decides: Security forces escalating tension, scaring residents ― CSOs

*** Faults appointment of UNICAL VC as returning officer

A Coalition of civil society groups has decried the tense atmosphere in Anambra State, which it claimed is being escalated by security forces.

“Drafted security forces are escalating and heightening tensions, panics and fears among Anambra voters by engaging indiscriminate shootings, mindless brutalities and chanting of offensive ethnoreligious slogans,” the Intersociety, Southeast CLO and SBCHROs, said in a joint statement.

The statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche,  and Chidimma Eva Udegbunam (for Intersociety), Comrades Aloysius Attah and Vincent Ezekwueme (for Southeast CLO) and Dr Jerry Chukwuokoro, and Dr Okezie Kelechi (for SBCHROs) read in part:;ID=162803;size=300×250;setID=151330;type=iframe;sw=1366;sh=768;spr=1;kw=;pid=6709903;place=0;rnd=6709903;click=CLICK_MACRO_PLACEHOLDER

“The leaders of the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), the Southeast Zone of the Civil Liberties Organization (Southeast CLO) and the Southeast Based Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) are deeply worried and saddened that just two days to the Anambra Governorship Election, the Nigerian security forces comprising soldiers of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and other armed personnel of the country’s security forces deployed or being deployed in Anambra State ahead of the Nov 6, 2021, Governorship Election have brazenly resorted to escalating and heightening of tensions, panics and fears among Anambra voting population.

“These, the named drafted security forces, numbering over 100,000, are engaging in indiscriminate shootings, mindless brutalization of the civil population and chanting or use of offensive ethnoreligious slogans in addition to flooding the State with Lorries of suspected non-indigenes and fake voters.×280&!1&btvi=1&fsb=1&xpc=Lcg8lgJrVX&p=https%3A//

“The latter may not be unconnected with the recent threat by Federal Government to “go as far as using prisoners and inmates as voters to ward off the agitators’ sit-at-home threat to scuttle the poll”.

“The crude and hostile attitudes of the drafted security forces towards Anambra residents and voters have strongly painted them (security forces) as engaging in special presidential clandestine operations other than election duties.”×250&×280%2C300x250%2C300x600%2C0x0&nras=1&correlator=1846972217483&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=760277577.1597096534&ga_sid=1636064917&ga_hid=866499482&ga_fc=1&u_tz=60&u_his=1&u_h=768&u_w=1366&u_ah=728&u_aw=1366&u_cd=24&adx=300&ady=3049&biw=1349&bih=657&scr_x=0&scr_y=538&oid=2&psts=AGkb-H-iZ5F8YMsThu4_3VmrmcQMN5Q9FCd4-CEJrFyo_W81xGzECLea25t5LCs6EMGDRiG5lE-jjhQyecg%2CAGkb-H-iJvqIGw5RJMFKvo-Lmql4GO-lAoWwxHoVQNxqrY3B0WCcjDho4cerCLwG-qyvdFdEsjIiLhEp5gUPP7jRTg&pvsid=160463222493510&pem=101&wsm=1&!2&btvi=4&fsb=1&xpc=aWYNkdTN5J&p=https%3A//

‘We saw them shooting indiscriminately and chanting jihadist slogans’

“Apart from several reports of indiscriminate and aimless shootings by soldiers and ‘special’ police squads at densely populated places like frontages of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Nkwo Igbo and Afor Umunze Community Markets at Igbo-Ukwu and Umunze communities and densely populated others like Ekwulobia, Ihiala, Atani, Oba (Old Oba-Nnewi Road axis), Nnewi, Nkpor, Abagana and so on; the shooting incident and chanting of corrupted but now anti-secular or ethnoreligious violent slogans such as “Allahu Akbar” and “Nyamiri” were brazenly the case in the evening of yesterday, Tuesday, 3rd November 2021.

“The incident occurred at the ever-busy Onitsha Niger Bridgehead and Uga Junction located at Fegge, Onitsha. The incident, which took place between 5.30 pm and 6.10 pm when traders were retiring home from the nearby Bridgehead Market, saw the indiscriminate shooting of live bullets by military and police personnel and chanting of offensive ethnoreligious slogans (i.e. Allahu Akbar, Nyamiri, etc).

“The retiring traders and other road users were thrown into panics and fears forcing them to run helter-skelter to avoid being hit by live bullets. Some Coalition members also saw it all, and in addition to sighting thousands of suspected non-indigenes of the State and fake voters being brought into the State in dozens of hired Luxurious Buses marked in green colours and fully escorted by armed soldiers and police personnel.”

‘Commuters/motorists harassed and brutalized, their windscreens smashed’

“These have become a daily occurrence and a routine among the drafted security forces across the State especially in densely populated civilian areas and popular road junctions and arenas.

“Indiscriminate arrests and false labelling by soldiers of the military and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force are also going on especially in rural villages and strategic urban locations.

“While most of the arrested victims especially those arrested by the Army or Military are difficult to be located and freed, those arrested by police are largely locatable, but very difficult to be freed on bail or unconditionally as a result of indiscriminate tagging them as “ESN/IPOB members”.

“The high commands of the drafted security forces are crude and complicit. Apart from lacking requisite training and experiences in civil and electoral spaces policing, they also crudely control their field personnel and indoctrinate them with militarist and militant policing; thereby making them to have zero basic intelligence, crime detection and law enforcement.

“Ethnic profiling is also their working dictionary to the extent that they cannot differentiate between ‘civil election security or duties’ and ‘management of internal civil disturbances.

As a result of these, the drafted security forces and their high commands now resort to seeing or perceiving every member of Igbo Ethnic Nationality as “ESN/IPOB Member”; a height of criminal labelling, stigmatization and ethnic profiling.”

‘Anambra poll not war but civil exercise’

“The High Commands of the drafted security forces must disorientate themselves and their field personnel.

“These must include discontinuation of indiscriminate use of militarist and militant slogans and conducting themselves as militants or uniform jihadists.

“They must be made to understand that they are in Anambra for Governorship Poll and its policing and not jihadist operations.

READ ALSO: Anambra poll: We shall be neutral ― Police

“While they do not and ought not to have issues with the State civil populace, they can use their intelligence and crime detection skills and techniques (if any) to identify and deal lawfully with trouble citizens found creating insecurity and other unsafe conditions for Anambra citizens especially members of its voting population.” 

‘Anambra voting population must be pampered and petted’

“It is our Coalition’s strong call on the High Commands of the drafted security forces to go on air and tender unreserved apologies to the State’s voting population on behalf of themselves and their misbehaving and crudely and rudely indoctrinated field personnel particularly soldiers and police personnel.

“The drafted security forces should also be restructured for purposes of ‘humanitarian election duties’ and ‘election security and its threats handling’.

“While those for humanitarian election duties shall provide friendly environments including rendering humanitarian services like traffic control and road decongestion and embarking on ‘come out to vote and be protected with our lives’ crusades’, those for ‘election duty security’ will intelligently or skillfully and digitally man their designated security posts with friendly postures and attitudes towards commuters and private motorists and urban and rural dwellers.

“The use of offensive and hateful ethno-religious slogans of jihadist and ethnic cleansing colourations and interpretations among the drafted security forces and their High Commands must be prohibited and replaced with life-saving and voting environment-friendly slogans such as “we are not here to kill voters or peaceful Anambra residents”; “security forces are your friends and protectors, come out to vote and we shall protect you with our last blood”, etc. 

“The rumours hitting the ground in several social clusters across the State of plan to draft the alleged partisan Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, to be accompanied by her son, Hilary, as the Chief Returning Officer for the Nov 6 Governorship Election, are not being taken with a pinch of salt by the Coalition.

“The rumours further had it that the drafting of the alleged partisan VC was influenced or being influenced by some APC chieftains including defected Gov Ayade of Cross River State, former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State and incumbent Gov Hope Uzodimma of Imo State. The rumours, if true, must not be treated with kid gloves.

“As a matter of fact, the alleged partisan VC must be replaced with another credible and neutral academician.

“Our firm position on Anambra Poll remains that members of the voting population must be allowed to vote the candidate of their choice and the Poll supervised and returned by a neutral and non-partisan third party as its Chief Returning Officer.”

Vanguard News Nigeria


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