Six Nigerian Christian soldiers were allegedly executed in secret by the government on Jan. 25 in the city of Abuja after they were falsely accused of stealing weapons and without being allowed to mount a defense during their “rigged” trial.
The Christian Post reports Emeka Umeagbalasi, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Chair who served as the lawyer for the family of one of the soldiers, said the six Christians were framed after a Muslim colonel stole weapons from an armory and blamed the theft on 12 soldiers who were on duty at the time.
The military then accused the six Christian soldiers who were members of the country’s Igbo tribe. Umeagbalasi charged the six were executed for being Igbo and Christian.
“The government of today detests Christianity and detests the Igbo tribe,” he told the CP. “You receive serious discrimination against Igbo officers. It’s terrible. This administration is running on ethnic agenda against the Igbo population.”
The soldiers who were executed were Prince Ukwuoma, Ebube Isaiah, Amos Azubuike, Ekene Ebere, Moses Anyim, and Godwin Uchendu.
Another lawyer who worked for one of the other families of the men said he had petitioned the Nigerian government to provide a defense for the six soldiers, but his petition was denied.
“Nigeria’s Constitution says the military has no authority to execute people and that prisoners should be able to appeal to a higher court. They didn’t get their rights,” Umeagbalasi said.
He said the military now claims the men were never executed. However, they have not been returned to their families or appeared in public. A letter signed by 28 groups, including Intersociety, the World Igbo Congress, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative, and Biafra Genocide Survivors Group demands answers from the Nigerian government, according to the CP.
The lawyer contends the Nigerian Army has arrested and even killed Christian soldiers before, but never has it murdered six soldiers at once.
Umeagbalasi points out many Nigerians now believe the Army fights for Islam, not Nigeria. In the country’s predominately Christian south, people call it “Boko Haram’s Army.” Muslims hold all the most important leadership positions in Nigeria.
As CBN News has reported, Christians are regularly targeted, murdered, and kidnapped by Islamic groups like Boko Haram or the Fulani Herdsmen, and Nigeria’s government has done little to protect them.
In recent years, Islamic State affiliates like Boko Haram have carried out a reign of terror against Christians. “Nigeria is where the most lethal and most active external Islamic State province is located,” Jacob Zenn, Africa analyst for Jamestown Foundation, told CBN News.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, now Africa’s most wanted man, wants to turn Nigeria into an Islamic country, and force Christians, half its population, to either leave, convert to Islam or die.
Johnnie Moore, the co-author of the new book, The Next Jihad, told CBN News Senior International Correspondent George Thomas that what’s happening in Nigeria is nothing short of Christian genocide.
“It’s the exact same playbook that ISIS used against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq,” Moore said. “In fact, you might say that Boko Haram was the test case even before ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram was already killing more people, Christians in fact than ISIS did at their height in Iraq and Syria.”
In a report released in 2020, the International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (ISCLRL) estimated that more than 32,000 Christians have been killed by Islamic militants in Nigeria since 2009.
“Nigeria is becoming like Somalia and Rwanda,” Umeagbalasi told the CP. “That was exactly how it started, with the government taking sides and backing the members of a particular ethnic group. That’s the situation. Even in the security forces, Christians are being targeted.”
Ivory Coast police rescue 68 children working on cocoa farms
Police in Ivory Coast have rescued 68 children working on cocoa farms, most of whom were trafficked from neighbouring Burkina Faso, authorities said.
The West African country is the world’s top cocoa producer and has close to 1 million children working in the sector despite years of efforts to end child labour.
At a care centre in the southwestern region of Soubre, one of the rescued children told Reuters his father had brought him from Burkina Faso at the age of 13 to work on his uncle’s cocoa plantation and had left him there.
“I’ve been working in cocoa for two years, since I arrived in Ivory Coast,” said the shy Nounfo, who was found by the police splitting open cocoa pods with a machete.
Police said Nounfo’s family links were not clear to the purported uncle who was among about 25 suspected traffickers arrested and now facing up to 10 years in prison.
The issue could weigh on exports to the European Union, which is considering new laws to ban the import of commodities linked to human rights abuses.
The operation involved around 100 police officers last Thursday and Friday and was the first since 2014 in Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt.
More action is hampered by a lack of funding, said Luc Zaka, a police commissioner in charge of the special unit on child labour.
“We lack the means to be more efficient and to achieve the expected results, but each time we are in the field we manage to save children and arrest suspects,” he said.
Brahima Coulibaly, a member of the national monitoring committee on child labour, said authorities will conduct operations in another region in a few months.
UGM: Governor imposes curfew from 7pm-6am in Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has imposed a new curfew aimed at curbing attacks on government forces by those described as “Unknown Gunmen (UGM).”
Seven policemen were killed last week Friday in a new attack by unidentified gunmen who had killed at least 12 government forces in attacks on police formations.
“As a further step towards enhancing our collective safety we have reviewed the existing night time curfew across the 23 Local Government Areas, which will now start from 7 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. until further notice from tomorrow 11th May 2021,” said Wike in a state-wide broadcast on Monday.
The governor also ordered law enforcement agencies to deal decisively with any person or group who violates or attempts to violate the curfew.
Meanwhile, government forces blocked all roads leading to their facilities across the state, causing a traffic jam that left many people stranded and forced to walk a long distance before reaching their places of business and homes.
ISIS imposes taxes, recruit children in northern Nigeria
Images, posted on social media on Saturday, show members of the Islamic State terrorist group collecting taxes and recruiting children in northern Nigeria.
Children are recruited by terrorists under the guise of a humanitarian gesture by distributing them each N500 (five hundred naira), as well as food, shows images posted on Twitter by Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a Belgium reporter, analyst and historian.
“The Islamic State is plundering parts of Nigeria now, they manage to impose the Islamic tax of Zakāt at least in some regions at this point,” Ostaeyan said in Saturday’s report, which confirmed reports that earlier claimed that ISIS had infiltrated Nigeria.
The Islamic State is plundering parts of #Nigeria now.
They manage to impose the Islamic tax of Zakāt at least in some regions at this point 1/ pic.twitter.com/s74BEZO59j
— Pieter Van Ostaeyen (@p_vanostaeyen) May 8, 2021
But then again, they redistribute some of it in charity (it seems) pic.twitter.com/WkCArOK9mB
— Pieter Van Ostaeyen (@p_vanostaeyen) May 8, 2021
It actually amazes me how many people react in shock. As if this wasn’t happening already.
— Pieter Van Ostaeyen (@p_vanostaeyen) May 9, 2021
The United States, alongside others, had said that Islamic State was trying to infiltrate the oil-rich African country already being ravaged by Boko Haram, ISWAP and Fulani herders.
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