“Supreme Court Judgement Installing Uzodinma, Reasons for Imo Killings”
~ Says, Imo families now bury their dead in diaspora
By Ifeizu Joe, Onitsha
A foremost human rights group based in Onitsha, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has traced the many killings in Imo State to the controversial judgement of the Supreme Court, which installed Senator Hope Uzodinma as governor of the state.
The group in a 33-page special report unveiled in Enugu on Sunday, said the level of killings in Imo State is far more than what is reported in the media.
The chairman Board of trustees of the group, Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi who unveiled the report before journalists in Enugu said many families of Imo descent now bury their dead relatives outside Imo, because of fear of visiting the state.
The group in the report blamed state actors and non state actors alike for all the killings in the state.
“In the last 29 months, that is between January 2021 and May 2023 under Governor Hope Uzodinma, security forces and allied militia have killed 900 unarmed citizens, wounded 700, arrested, 3,500, extorted 1,400 and disappeared 300.
“Also, 1,200 houses belonging to civilians were burnt, 30,000 owners of the houses displaced, 500,000 indigenes of communities in Imo within active age bracket forced to flee home to avoid being killed or kidnapped.
“The origin of the killings in Imo today is the controversial Supreme Court judgement, which installed Hope Uzodinma as governor of the state. Imo is in deeper crisis than you think. Most of the killings are not reported.
“You may not know, but many Imo indigenes no longer take their dead relatives home for burial. Within this year, I have personally witnessed four funerals in Ogbaru, Anambra State, which are those of Imo State indigenes.
“The wanton destruction of lives and properties in 29 months gone by in imo State, under Governor Hope Uzodinma is so shocking, chilling and alarming that many families in the affected local government area no longer ancestrally give their loved ones who die naturally or unnaturally burials and funerals.
“Dead bodies are secretly smuggled in at night and secretly and indicently buried, after which their funerals are organized outside their ancestral homes, in other cities.”
The group called for international criminal enquiries and indictments into the incidences in Imo State, saying there was need to put ish those who do the wrong thing, especially those responsible for the killings.
“The criminal enquiries under demand are extremely necessary for purposes of unmasking the identities of those responsible for the killings, abduction and all others, and those that aided and abetted them.
“It is on the strength of these that we are calling on Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Hon Karim A.A Khan and others to intervene in Nigeria’s Imo and it’s south east region. They should investigate, prosecute and judicially convict the perpetrators in the Imo mass murder, civilian house burnings and other internationally prohibited acts and conducts,” the group said.