Killing of Igbo Youths Exposed at MASSOB 18th Anniversary in Anambra by Intersociety

Public Lecture
Topic: Nonviolent Self-Determination & Policing Of Public Assemblies In Nigeria
Understanding Legal Roles Of The Agitators & The Policing Agencies
Other Than The Military
Text of a Public Lecture delivered today, 13th September 2017 by Emeka
Umeagbalasi (Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies; and Master
of Science in Peace & Conflict Studies); Board Chair of Int’l Society
for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) at the 18th
Anniversary of the Movement for  Actualization of the Sovereign State
of Biafra (MASSOB), held at the Rojeny Stadium, Oba, Anambra State,
Self determination, globally, has three core foundational formations
or origins: (1) the process by which a country under colonialism seeks
to determine its own statehood and form its own government; (2) a
situation whereby group of persons exercise their inalienable rights
to existence, ethnic identity and social, economic and political
wellbeing without external subjudation; and (3) the right of members
of a race or substantially homogenous ethnic nationality living in a
defined territory to seek to be freed from the clutches of
territorial, economic, religious, ethnic values and political
strangulations and allied oppressive policies and actions masterminded
or perceived to have been masterminded by a mother political territory
and its operators.
The Principles & Purposes of the United Nations are clearly spelt out
in the Charter of the world body as: saving future generations from
war, reaffirming human rights and establishing equal rights for all
persons; in addition to promoting justice, freedom, and social
progress for the peoples of all of its member States.
  Regionally and internationally, the right of people to
self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law
(commonly regarded as a jus cogens rule), binding, as such, on the
United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter’s norms.
Self-determination principle of the UN states that people, based on
respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of
opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and
international political status with no interference. The UN jus cogens
rule is binding on all its member-States including Nigeria.
By Jus Cogens Rule of the United Nations, it is that body of
peremptory principles or norms from which no derogation is permitted;
those norms recognized by the international community as a whole as
being fundamental to the maintenance of an international legal order.
They include elementary rules that concern the safeguarding of peace
and notably those that prohibit recourse to force or the threat of
force. Norms of humanitarian nature are included. They include
prohibitions against genocide, slavery, racial discrimination and
other forms of heinous crimes or crimes against humanity; forcing a
country to be engulfed by “complex humanitarian emergencies”. Jus
cogens rules may, therefore, operate to invalidate a treaty or
agreement between states to the extent of the inconsistency with any
such principles or norms.
The concept of political self-determination was first expressed in the
1860s, and spread rapidly thereafter. By extension the term
self-determination has come to mean the free choice of one's own acts
without external compulsion. One of the earliest advocates of
self-determination was Woodrow Wilson, who had in his famous
self-determination speech on 11th February 1918, following the
announcement of his famous Fourteen Point program for the formation of
the League of Nations; said: National aspirations must be respected;
people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.
Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle
of action. . . . "
Further, self-determination had been famously defined by several
international law scholars and one of the striking definitions was
that made by Karen Parker; an international humanitarian law expert
during the presentation to first int’l conference on the Right to
Self-Determination at the United Nations Conference in Geneva in
August 2000. Karen Parker had in her presentation: Understanding
Self-Determination: the Basics; extensively or elaborately defined
same as follows:
“The right to self-determination, a fundamental principle of human
rights law, (1) is an individual and collective right to "freely
determine . . . political status and [to] freely pursue . . .
economic, social and cultural development. (2) The principle of
self-determination is generally linked to the de-colonization process
that took place after the promulgation of the United Nations Charter
of 1945. (3) Of course, the obligation to respect the principle of
self-determination is a prominent feature of the Charter, appearing,
inter alia, in both Preamble to the Charter and in Article 1.
The International Court of Justice refers to the right to
self-determination as a right held by people rather than a right held
by governments alone. (4) The two important United Nations studies on
the right to self-determination set out factors of a people that give
rise to possession of right to self-determination: a history of
independence or self-rule in an identifiable territory, a distinct
culture, and a will and capability to regain self-governance.(5)
The right to self-determination is indisputably a norm of jus cogens.
(6) Jus cogens norms are the highest rules of international law and
they must be strictly obeyed at all times. Both the International
Court of Justice and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of
the Organization of American States have ruled on cases in a way that
supports the view that the principle of self-determination also has
the legal status of erga omnes.(7) The term "erga omnes" means
"flowing to all." Accordingly, erga omnes obligations of a State are
owed to the international community as a whole: when a principle
achieves the status of erga omnes the rest of the international
community is under a mandatory duty to respect it in all circumstances
in their relations with each other”.
By Article 1 of the Part 1 of the Int’l or UN Covenant on Civil &
Political Rights of 1976  (ICCPR), the right of all peoples to
self-determination, including the right to "freely determine their
political status", pursue their economic, social and cultural goals,
and manage and dispose of their own resources is unambiguously
provided. It further recognizes a negative right of a people not to be
deprived of its means of subsistence, and imposes an obligation on
those parties still responsible for non-self governing and trust
territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their
self-determination. The Federation of Nigeria ratified the ICCPR
treaty on 29th October 1993 after it came into force on 23rd March
By Articles 1 and 2-5 in Parts 1 and 2  of the Int’l Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) of 1st January 1976, the
right of all peoples to self-determination, including the right to
"freely determine their political status", pursue their economic,
social and cultural goals, and manage and dispose of their own
resources is also importantly provided. It further recognizes a
negative right of a people not to be deprived of its means of
subsistence, and imposes an obligation on those parties still
responsible for non-self governing and trust territories (colonies) to
encourage and respect their self-determination.

The ICESCR’s Articles 2–5 establish the principle of "progressive
realisation" – see the treaty on Wikipedia. It also requires the
rights be recognized "without discrimination of any kind as to race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, property, birth or other status". The rights can
only be limited by law, in a manner compatible with the nature of the
rights, and only for the purpose of "promoting the general welfare in
a democratic society (instituted and determined by the people)". The
Federation of Nigeria ratified the ICESCR on 29th July 1976 after it
was opened for ratification on 1st January 1976.
The African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981 (ACHPR);
otherwise called the Banjul Charter also uniquely recognizes
collective or group rights, or peoples' rights and third-generation
human rights. As such the Charter recognises group rights to a degree
not matched by the European or Inter-American regional human rights
instruments. The Charter awards the family protection by the State
(Article 18), while "peoples" have the right to equality (Article 19),
the right to self-determination (Article 20), to freely dispose of
their wealth and natural resources (Article 21), the right to
development (Article 22), the right to peace and security (Article 23)
and "a generally satisfactory environment" (Article 24) are also
elaborately provided.
The Federation or Federal Republic of Nigeria not only ratified the
ACHPR on 22nd June 1983, but also legislatively and presidentially
domesticated it later in same 1983. The ACHPR is presently cited in
Nigeria as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights
(Ratification and Enforcement Act, Cap A9), Laws of the Federation of
Nigeria 2004.
Apart from ratification and domestication of the ACHPR by the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, the Supreme Court of Nigeria also made the ACHPR
municipally operable and enforceable. This is by virtue of the Apex
Court’s landmark decision in Gen Sani Abacha & Ors v. Chief Gani
Fawehinmi (2000) 4 FWLR 533. The Supreme Court had ruled that “the
ACHPR is only subject to the 1999 Constitution, but above any other
legislation in Nigeria”. That is to say that where Nigeria’s 1999
Constitution ends in preserving, providing, protecting, promoting and
advancing these citizens’ constitutional liberties and human rights;
the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights begins; especially with
respect to right to Self-Determination.
By Section 17 in Chapter Two of the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria 1999, under Fundamental Objectives & Directive
Principles of State Policy; otherwise called “the Charter of
Responsibilities for the Public Office Holders in Nigeria”; “the State
Social Order is founded on ideals of Freedom, Equality and Justice.
(2) In furtherance of this social order: (a) every citizen shall have
equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the law; (b)
the sanctity of human person shall be recognized and human dignity
shall be maintained and enhanced; (c) government actions shall be
humane; (d) exploitation of human and natural resources in any form
whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community, shall be
prevented; and (e) the independence, impartiality and integrity of
courts of law, and easy accessibility thereto shall be secured and
By Section 14 of the same Charter of Responsibilities in the existing
Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, “the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be
a State base on Principles of Democracy and Social Justice”. By its
Section 14 (2), “it is hereby declared that sovereignty belongs to the
people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution
derives all its powers and authority”. 14 (2) (b) “the security and
welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the Government;
and (c) the participation by the people in their Government shall be
ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.

By Section 14 (3) of the referenced Charter of Responsibilities in the
Constitution, “the composition of the Government of the Federation or
any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried
out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria
and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national
loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of
persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional
groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.
By the Constitution’s Section 15 (1), the motto of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria shall be Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress; and
(2) accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged,
whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex,
religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be
Grandly, by Section 13 of the referenced Charter of Responsibilities
in the same Constitution, “it shall be the duty and responsibility of
all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons,
exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to,
observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter (11) of this
Regrettably and sadly, these fundamental constitutional tasks left in
the hands of the present public office holders in Nigeria under the
chairmanship of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Prof Yemi
Osinbajo have gravely been observed in breach; leading to present
thunderous verbal and nonviolent expression by way of nonviolent
self-determination of disenchantment, disillusionment, angst, anger,
anguish, frustration, contempt and socio-political and economic
segregation and exclusion.
Approaches to Self-Determination: Globally, quest for
Self-Determination can be done peacefully (positively) or violently
(negatively) by the agitators. Negative or violent quest for
self-determination is done violently, using arms; by way of armed
insurgency, or guerrilla warfare, or by direct armed rebellion and
resistance, etc. Use of armed or violent conflict to agitate for
self-determination is globally outlawed and very unpopular; but where
it erupts, the conduct of such warfare especially the traditional
intra State territorial armed conflict by the agitators and the
existing political sovereign territory; is subject to the Laws of War
or the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its existing protocols. At the
level of this speaker and his organization-Intersociety, we are
enemies of violence and friends of pacifism. That is to say that we do
not subscribe to violent means of exercising rights to
On the other hand, peaceful (positive) or nonviolent
self-determination is universally recognized. It must be pointed out
clearly here that the Federal Republic of Nigeria was a major
beneficiary of nonviolent self-determination agitation through which
it gained its independence from Great Britain on 1st October 1960.
Countries like Angola (1961-1975) against Portugal, Namibia (1966-1990
via SWAPO guerrilla warfare) against South Africa and Mozambique
(1964-1974/75) against Portugal all secured their independence
violently or through years of armed struggle or violent
self-determination agitations.
Recently, South Sudan (9th July 2011) and Eretria (29th May 1991)
gained their statehoods from Republics of Sudan and Ethiopia through
violent armed struggles that started in 1956-1972/1983-2005 (between
Sudan and South Sudan) and 1961 (between Ethiopia and Eritrea), while
East Timor (20th May 2002) agitated and succeeded in its own from
Republic Indonesia through nonviolent self-determination agitation
started since 1975.

Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) handled its
self-determination agitations by its splinter sub nationalities
through peaceful policy of perestroika and glasnost introduced in
1987; leading to breaking of the country into fifteen independent
countries on 26th December 1991; likewise former Czechoslovakia which
peacefully broke into two independent States of Czech and Slovakia
Republics on 29th December 1989 through velvet revolution; while
former Yugoslavia mishandled its own which violently broke the country
into five independent States starting with Slovenia, Macedonia and
Croatia in 1991.
Self-Agitation must also not lead to statehood, depending on its
handling styles. It can lead to unification or fortification of
formerly separate or existing disputing national or sub-national
entities into one strong and united pluralistic sovereign political
territory. A typical example is former East and West Germany which is
now united into the Federal Republic of Germany. Elsewhere, former
“British India” is now divided into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
(formerly Bengal Province of British India). The Republic of Singapore
also separated from its union with Malaysia and became statehood in
1965. This is to mention but few.
Constitutional Policing of Nonviolent Self-Determination: The Chapter
Four or Sections 33-46 (justiciable rights to life, dignity of human
person, personal liberty, fair hearing and fair trial, peaceful
assembly, association and expression, right against indiscriminate
arrest and long detention without trial and rights to freedom of
movement, thought, conscience and religion/worship, etc) are all
provided in the 1999 Constitution and replicated in the two UN
Covenants on Civil & Political Rights and Economic, Social & Cultural
Rights as well as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights; all
fully subscribed to by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They are the
surest safeguards for nonviolent self-determination agitation and its
public assemblies’ policing in Nigeria.
These fundamental rights are civilized and constitutionally
recognized; serving as lawful approaches to be applied in the course
of nonviolent self-determination campaigns and their policing. By
Section 33 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, for instance, no citizen
shall be killed or tortured on account of his or her participation in
nonviolent self-determination agitation except in extreme
circumstances such as if he or she is an active participant in actus
reus and mens rea established armed struggle or violent conflict, or
armed insurrection or mutiny.
Constitutionally, regionally and internationally, members of the Armed
Forces including the Army of any member-State of AU and UN such as
Nigeria are prohibited from dabbling into policing or management of
public assemblies but only allowed skeletal responsibilities or
mandates in the areas of rendering defensive services domestically in
extreme emergencies such as during external armed attacks on their
country’s territory; or internal armed conflict, armed insurrection
and counterinsurgency operations; or in rendering humanitarian
services in the event of eruption of natural disaster of widespread
Therefore, where the armed forces of Nigeria including the Nigerian
Army defy these ground rules and dictatorially and genocidally dabble
into civil affair such as taking over the constitutional functions of
the Nigeria Police with attendant genocidal conducts and other forms
of heinous crimes as we are seeing presently in Nigeria particularly
in the present militarization of the Southeast and the South-south
regions of the country; then they shall inescapably  be held
responsible for crimes against humanity or heinous crimes committed in
non war situations. There are no defenses of impunity and immunity for
the perpetrators involved anywhere in the world.
If the Third Protocol to the Geneva Conventions or Laws of Armed
Conflict of 1949 was specifically enacted in 1977 to checkmate the
conducts of the combatants of the conflict parties as they relate to
treatments of civilian populations or noncombatants including women,
children and IDPs in widespread or clustered internal armed conflict
(s), how much more on heinous crimes perpetrated in non war
The Doctrine of Rules of Engagement and its principles of use of
force, self defense and exclusion from attacks of non-military
necessity and places of worship and religious symbols during armed
conflicts and their zones was also put in place to guide against
perpetration of heinous atrocities during war time; otherwise called
“war crimes”.
Nigeria’s regional and international obligations to its citizens in
policing public assemblies: Nigeria as a State Party to UN and AU is
strictly bound by numerous regional and international human rights
treaties or conventions including the African Charter on Human &
Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) of 1981, ratified and domesticated in 1983;
the UN Covenants on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR); and Economic,
Social & Cultural Rights of 1976 (ICESCR), ratified in 1993. Nigeria
is also a State Party to UN anti Genocide and Torture Conventions of
1948 and 1985 respectively as well as the UN’s Women and Child’s
Rights Conventions of 1984 and 1990 respectively, to name but a few.
Nigeria as a leading member of the UN and international community is
also bound by the Basic Standards of International Law & Humanitarian
Principles. Under this are the ten basic rules or standards for
policing public and peaceful assemblies in any member-State; which
expressly recognize the rights of the citizens of all Member-States of
the UN including Nigeria, to peaceful assemblies and expressions other
than armed conflict and strictly outline ways through which these
assemblies shall be managed or policed by policing agencies excluding
the army.
Under the ten basic standards of international law made mandatory for
policing agencies of Member-States of the UN for management of civil
assemblies and free speeches as well as arrest, detention and
prosecution of citizens accused of commission of municipal crimes of
relevant municipal code definitions; the following rules must be
observed and strictly applied:
(1)everyone is entitled to equal protection of the law without
discrimination on any grounds, especially against violence or
threat..; (2) treat all victims of crime with compassion and respect,
and in particular protect their safety and privacy; (3) do not use
force except when strictly necessary and to the minimum extent
required under the circumstances; (4) avoid using force when policing
unlawful but nonviolent assemblies; (5) when dispersing violent
assemblies, use force only to the minimum extent necessary (i.e. in
line with proportionate use of force and avoidance of application of
excessive force on unarmed(i.e. not bearing automatic rifles or
firearms) but violent or aggressive assemblies).
Others are (6) lethal force should not be used when arresting
nationals suspected of committing municipal or local crimes except
when strictly unavoidable in order to protect your life or lives of
others; peaceful or provoked violent assemblies do not amount to
commission of municipal crimes other than insurrection, mutiny or
armed struggle; (7) arrest no person unless there are legal wounds to
do so and ensure that the arrest is carried out in accordance with
lawful arrest procedures; (8) ensure that all detainees have access,
promptly after arrest to their families and legal representatives and
to any necessary medical assistance.
The rest are (9) all detainees must be treated humanely and avoid
infliction, instigation or toleration of any act of torture in any
circumstance and refuse to obey order to do so; (10) do not carry out,
order or cover up extrajudicial executions or disappearances of the
arrested or the detained and refuse to obey any order to do so; and
report all breaches of these basic standards to your senior officers
and to the office of the public prosecutor and do everything within
your powers to ensure steps are taken to investigate these breaches.

In policing or managing such civil assemblies and free speeches,
particularly if they become uncontrollable  and capable of breaching
public peace and safety,  policing agencies and their officers must
apply the following modern crowd control methods or kits and
equipment:  tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, electric tasers,
batons, whips, water cannons, long range acoustic devices, aerial
surveillance, police dogs, etc; and they must be bodily aided or
protected by body protective devices such as anti crowd helmets, face
visors, body armor (i.e. vests, neck protectors, knee pads, etc), gas
masks and anti crowd shields. Sir, it is crystal clear from the above
that these fundamental rules were observed in grave breach in the
instant case.
Regional and international obligations of Nigeria to its citizens
under armed conflict or war situation: Under circumstances of war or
situations of internal conflict, the military and humanitarian
handling or management of same are strictly regulated regionally and
internationally. On humanitarian and use of force aspects, Nigeria is
a party to UN Statute on Refuge of 1951 and allied treatments of IDPs.
Nigeria is also a State Party to the Statute of the International
Criminal Court of 1998. Nigerian armed forces and police are also
strictly bound by the UN’s Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials of 1979 and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and
Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials of 1990.
In the area of intra and inter-State armed conflicts, Nigeria is bound
by the Geneva Conventions or Laws of War of 1949 and their Four
Protocols including the doctrine of rules of engagement and its
principles of use of force, self defence, and others already
highlighted above. Nigeria is also a State Party to anti Genocide and
anti Torture Conventions of 1948 and 1985 respectively.
Sir, as you may professorially be aware or unaware, the Rules of
Engagement traditionally and universally associated with internal and
inter -State violent or armed conflicts or wars are the integral part
of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 or Laws of War and their Four
Protocols of 1977. They originally came from the three war related
doctrines of Jus Ad Bellum (justification and ground for going to
war); Jus In Bellum (ethical rules of conduct during war, such as
ethical standards expected of soldiers or combatants in wartime or
rules of engagement); and Jus Post Bellum (regulations on how wars are
ended and facilitation of transition from war to peace).
Another name for the Rules of Engagement is the Standard Rules for the
People of the War. The People of the War here literally means parties
in the conflict who occupy the conflict areas such as fighting
parties, non-combatants or civilians or IDPs and Refugees as well as
other third parties  directly or indirectly participating or affected
by  the conflict.
Further, key features of the internationally standardized Rules of
Engagement strictly applicable in war or conflict situations are (1)
legitimate use of force, (2) proportionality of use of force, (3)
legitimate self defense, (4) treatment of prisoners of war or
conflict, (5) avoidance of attacks on non-military necessity or
civilian targets or properties, (6) avoidance of attacks on civilians
or non-combatants, (7) treatment of the wounded, (8) avoidance of
attacks on culture symbols or places of worship, (9) avoidance of
attacks on humanitarian agencies and personnel/human rights activists;
(10) treatment of other peoples of the war (i.e. spies and
Nigeria’s obligations to UN and its citizens under UN System: The UN’s
new concept of sovereignty as a responsibility or citizens’
sovereignty and maintenance of international peace and security as the
core foundation of the Purposes of the 193-member Organization; is
inviolably binding on Nigeria as a key Member-State. Nigeria is also
bound by the Customary International Law under UN System particularly
those that are inviolable by virtue of their doctrine of “substantial
uniformity by substantial number of States” or “Opinio Juris” (i.e. a
general belief binding on all Member-States that a non-treaty is
legally binding on States); and importantly, the principle of “Jus
Cogens” (i.e. absolute rules of general international law binding on
UN Member-States for which no derogation is permitted).

Sadly and shockingly, the regime atrocities in Nigeria since June 2015
when the Buhari/Osinbajo Administration came on board have continued
to rise to intractable or unimaginable proportions. Over 2000 innocent
and defenseless citizens have been killed by Government security
agencies/forces with over 1000 others made to suffer i varying degrees
of injury.
Those murdered, mostly by Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai led Nigerian Army
include over 1120 unarmed and defenseless members of the Shiite
Muslims, 270 members of the pro Biafra movements; and 236 IDPs killed
by the Air Force in the Borno IDP camp in January 2017 and 240
civilian detainees made to die in the Maiduguri military barracks in
Constitutional & Int’l Roles of Nonviolent Agitators of
Self-Determination: It is beyond verbal declaration or claims of being
nonviolent in the exercise of right to nonviolent self-determination.
Nonviolent agitators must at all times remain pacifists. They must be
antagonists of group and individual violence no matter the amount of
State provocation. Nonviolence or pacifism includes staying away from
street or blue collar criminal activities such as cultism, motor park
seizure and violence; touting, thuggery, extortion and debt recovery
and associated violence.
A nonviolent agitator must also refrain from violent crimes such as
armed robbery/banditry, carjacking, arson, burglary, housebreaking,
criminal trespass, rape, murder, ritualism, violent land and property
disputes, abduction/kidnapping as well as organized/software crimes of
drug abuse, human trafficking, gunrunning/illicit arms trade, advance
fee fraud and local and across borders’ illicit drug trade and
associated violence; and cyber criminality, etc. Quest for nonviolent
self-determination is never an excuse to take to crime or be in
conflict with the existing laws of the land; especially the criminal
Finally, agitation for nonviolent self-determination fundamentally
requires expertise, educational upgrading and mental depth; research,
investigation and documentation. It also importantly requires
knowledge of the law, use of experts or technical resource borrowing
and exchange; knowledge and consistent use of information
communications technology or ICT and media (inclusive of audio-visual,
visual, web/online and the print) and pacifist regional and
international links and campaigns.
Thank You.
Emeka Umeagbalasi
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]

Killing of Igbo Youths Exposed at MASSOB 18th Anniversary in Anambra by Intersociety Killing of Igbo Youths Exposed at MASSOB 18th Anniversary in Anambra by Intersociety Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 Rating: 5

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