Imo Govt must prioritise rights of Imo citizens to safety, life & dignity

January 30, 2021
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We, concerned Imo citizens, are seriously concerned about the outbreak of violent clashes between security forces and a militant group in the Orlu areas of Imo State, resulting to deaths and arson.

We are worried that the current situation in Orlu has put the lives, property and livelihoods of innocent families and residents of the affected communities at great risk and inconveniences.

People have been forced to flee their homes and many displaced, including poor families who depend on daily income for their livelihoods.

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Considering the outcomes of similar reprisal military attacks in the past: from the Odi massacre, to Zakibiam, and recently the military onslaught on residents of Oyigbo Rivers State, where several innocent people including passers-by were killed and many others abducted and transported to Abuja where they were detained incommunicado and tortured, we fear that similar fate may befall innocent residents of Orlu.

Just last October, a reprisal attack by officers of the 34 Artillery Brigade of Nigerian Army during the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests left five persons dead and others injured in Nwaorieubi, Mbaitolu in Imo State.

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The dead and the injured are yet to get justice. The current massacre in Orlu adds to the list of extrajudicial killings in Imo perpetrated by military forces, without anybody held to account. Imo communities are crying for justice.

We call on the Imo State government and military authorities to exercise restraint in their rhetoric and actions and to immediately withdraw soldiers back to barrack while the Governor engages the both sides in civil process just as we saw in the southwest.

The State government must demonstrate leadership, prioritise the rights and safety of helpless innocent people who are caught in the crossfire and avoid belligerent and fire-for-fire approach to the crisis.

Signed:

1. Okechukwu Nwanguma
2. Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri
3. Dr. Sam Amadi
4. Fabian Okoye
5. Stanley Ibe
6. Dr. Walter Duru
7. Tony Opara
8. Chidi Igwe
9. Ogechi Ikeh



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