A human rights crusader and south – south zonal Chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Chinedu Uchegbu, has decried what he described as endless crack down on MASSOB and other self determination groups by security operatives, saying that it is an insult on the tenets of democracy.
Uchegbu reacted from Awka, Anambra State capital, to the recent attack on MASSOB at Onitsha, Anambra state, which left 4 members of the movement dead and many others injured.
He said he is worried over the continued repression of the self determination voices, which has led to the disappearance of several activists known to be involved in the clamour for the independence of Igbo nation. He noted that self determination is a legitimate human right enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He further lamented that On yearly basis, the secretariat of MASSOB announces that some of their members are missing while their family members are subjected to tortuous intimidation and harassments by security agents.
He mentioned some frontline activists in the past like Echezona Iluno, Emeka Obi, chris Orji among others whose voices may have been forced to disappear as a result of incessant harassments by security operatives.
According to him, these are self determination campaigners and ardent supporters of the emancipation of the Igbo nation from the Nigeria’s forced domination, have, for a long time now, been unusually quiet, which makes many who know them to wonder if they had equally gone the way of others whose whereabouts have remained shrouded in mysteries.
“We do not know their whereabouts, but we are increasingly worried given the ferocity with which security operatives have been descending on MASSOB inspite of their non-violent posturing. We hope and pray that Echezona, Christian and others have gone underground to escape brutalities, victimization and harassments by security operatives.”
He recalled that earlier this year, MASSOB cried out that about 19 of its members who had been in Police custody, were killed and dumped into Ezu River, a boundary between Enugu and Anambra states.
“While not trying to say with any measure of certainty that they may be in the custody of security operatives, we wish to appeal to all the security agencies in the south East Nigeria, to please release them if they have them in their custody”, Comrade Chinedu stated. He further appealed to the government to end the undue repression of MASSOB and other groups, saying that it is a dent on the human rights records of the country.