Amnesty International has said the Army, police, other security agents and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, must exercise restraint at today’s funeral of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s parents.
In a statement dated February 12, the rights group, said the military and police must de-escalate the rising tension in Afara Ukwu, Umuahia, Abia State, where the funeral of Eze Okwu Kanu and his wife will hold today, and to also ensure the protection of human rights of people of the community.
The statement was in reaction to the reported heavy military presence in Afara Ukwu, Kanu’s home town.
According to Amnesty International in the statement by its Country Director, Osai Ojigho, “eyewitnesses told us that they saw several military vehicles, including Hilux and military SUVs, patrolling the community since Sunday, February 2.
“The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint and prevent a repetition of the September 2017 events that left at least 20 people dead and some still missing, when the military attempted to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in his home.
“While law enforcement officers are within their rights to carry out their lawful duties, the use of force should be proportional and strictly limited to those situations where it is absolutely necessary. Both IPOB supporters and security forces must at all times respect and protect the human rights of all.”
He added that five people told Amnesty International that they saw soldiers harassing people at Bank Road, while another man said he was prevented from going to his house by soldiers that blocked the road entrance to Eze Kanu’s palace on February 3.
“Concerns about possible violence during the funeral must be addressed within the framework of human rights and rule of law,” Ojigho added.
Recalling the clashes between the Federal Government and IPOB, Amnesty International said it had documented several incidents involving the unlawful killing of pro-Biafra supporters.
It added: “Our research in May 2016 showed that at least 60 extra-judicial executions of pro-Biafra supporters were committed in the space of two days, with a further 70 people injured.
“Also, in September 2017 at least 20 people were either killed or went missing when soldiers invaded the house of Nnamdi Kanu in Afara Ukwu.
“Nnamdi Kanu fled the country and later turned up in the UK where he now lives. The Nigerian authorities promised to investigate this incident, but no one has been prosecuted to date.”