Governors of the South East zone have been identified and blamed for the gross violation of human rights in the zone, following their failure to admit human rights abuses under their watch.
The blame came at the official launch of the “Protocol on the Documentation of mass atrocities in Nigeria” presented by a Non Governmental Organization, Alliances for Africa (AFA) in Owerri, the Imo state capital at the weekend.
Executive Director of AFA, Ms Iheoma Obibi lamented that such acts of violence have failed to attract national or international attention because South East Governments have continually refused to admit the widespread actions amount to human rights abuses.
She said the surge in human atrocities across the five South East states have remained unaccounted and undocumented for over a decade.
Obibi said “The State Governments on their part is less concerned, backed with deep rooted corrupt systems and processes. There is less focus on the wellbeing and safety of citizens, thus indirectly supporting the widespread mass atrocities because it fulfils their own selfish gains by providing them with immediate political mileage”, Obibi lamented.
Such acts of atrocities include invasion of farmlands, rape, severance of body parts, hostage taking, murder, amongst others.
Obibi said findings show that the rise of violence and its spread is as a result of citizens inaction to such acts, supported largely by ignorance, fear, lack of transparent institutional reporting systems, and political will.
AFA explained that the research was conducted in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States specifically targeted on the experiences of women and girls in the region.
According to her, the project is the first within the South East region wherein there was documentation of mass atrocities metted out to women and girls, adding that they remain undocumented, unreported, due to general impunity and lack of political will to protect their rights.
AFA called for measures for communities to own documentation as well as management of mass atrocities, saying “They should be taught how to preserve evidence for redress and how to individualize atrocities rather than rake up estimations”.
On her part, the lawmaker representing Njaba state constituency, Hon Uju Onwudiwe called on the people to demand for quality representation saying that “our people need to realise that if they fail to demand accountability from their office holders, we will feel relaxed. People need to understand that its a mandate that demands feedback but if you don’t keep us on our toes, you get anyhow representation”.
The project was funded by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and attracted people from different facets.