To critically examine worsening security situation in the South East and propose workable solutions, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, in partnership with Action Group on Free Civic Space, AGFCS, has organized a summit and public hearing in Awka, Anambra State Capital.
The summit tagged “South East Peace Summit and Public Hearing on Insecurity, Crime and Human Rights Violations” had eminent jurists, experts in human rights law, members of the civil society from South East states and media practitioners in attendance, and featured testimonies from victims and witnesses of insecurity and human rights violation.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, explained that with the testimonies by the victims and witnesses, concerned stakeholders can assist the most vulnerable and the most affected to seek legal redress, as well as advocate and push for urgent action to pull the zone out of the quagmire.
He regretted that instead of using stakeholders’ engagement and dialogue to address the underlining factors motivating separatist agitation, federal government resorted to brutal repression, which consequently radicalized the once unarmed group; forcing them to take up arms, leading to devastating impacts on socio-economic and political development, livelihoods, wellbeing and civic freedoms.
Mr. Nwanguma, who described the routine sit-at-home being observed in the Southeast as senseless, regretted that the order from non-state actors has ruined the economy of the Southeast and worsened the plight of toiling people most of whom depend on daily earnings.
While expressing concern that the Nigerian Police Force is yet to make public the outcome of investigation into allegations of arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, extrajudicial killing, conversion of property of killed or disappeared persons and organ harvesting by a whistle blower against some senior police officers in Anambra State, RULAAC however, commended the Anambra State Government for the establishment of bureau of missing persons, calling on other states to emulate Anambra, and for all state governments to take steps to restore people’s confidence in governance.
Earlier in his keynote speech, a human rights lawyer, Professor Chidi Odinkalu called for conscious efforts towards rebuilding the Southeast for sustainable development.