Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, has responded to the killing of seven youths by officials of Nigeria’s southeast regional security outfit, Ebubeagu.
The youths were reportedly killed in Imo State while returning from a wedding on July 17, 2022.
Reacting, Ojigho said, “It is horrifying that unarmed young men who clearly posed no threat to anyone were gunned down, in utter disdain for the right to life. Such killings cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever. Nigerian authorities must end these unlawful killings. Authorities must promptly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate the killings and bring to justice, in fair trials, anyone suspected of criminal responsibility. Authorities must also ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims and their families.
“At least seven friends including two siblings were allegedly extrajudicially executed by members of the Ebubeagu state security outfit at Awomamma community in Oru East Local Government of Imo state on 17 July 2022.
“The young men were returning to their village after attending a wedding ceremony in a neighboring community before their vehicle was intercepted by members of the Ebubeagu security outfit, extrajudicially killing seven and arresting two on Sunday night. Their remains were evacuated on Monday morning by villagers who organized a protest calling for an end to the activities of the dreaded Ebubeagu security outfit.
“Amnesty International Nigeria has documented several cases of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, mass arrest, torture, extortions and ill-treatment by law enforcement officers and members of the Ebubeagu security outfit responding to the violence in the Southeast.
“Instead of launching proper investigations into these killings, security and government officials are often quick to claim victims of extrajudicial executions were caught up in shoot-outs or simply label them members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or unknown gunmen.
“International law requires Nigerian government to promptly investigate unlawful killings with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice. Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian authorities to put an end to the patterns of extrajudicial executions, by carrying out a prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigation into the killings and other human rights violations committed by the Ebubeagu security outfit and other law enforcement officials.”