The Billie Human Rights Initiative has dragged the Imo State Governor Mr. Hope Uzodinma to the International Criminal Court(ICC) over his support for persistent mass killings in different parts of the State. This was contained in a petition addressed to the ICC’s prosecutor Madame Fatou Bensouda dated July 27, 2022, and signed by the group’s Chairman Rev. Jeremiah Ifeacho and Secretary Mr. Patrick Uzoechina.
In the petition, the London-based human rights group alleged that: “Since Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma came to power in February 2020, there have been over 15 recorded massacres perpetrated by the armed forces and security agencies in the state. No Army or Police officer involved in these killings has been prosecuted by the state or Federal Government. Consequently, the Military, Police and the Imo State Security outfit known as Ebubeagu have been acting with impunity.”
The group further observed that despite these regular extra-judicial killings of residents of the state, nobody has been arrested nor charged to court.
The group cited a recent incident to buttress its allegation. According to the petitioner: “Recently, the Ebubeagu hit-squad embarked on wanton killing of youths after a wedding ceremony at Awo Omamma. The victims were returning to their homes when they were gunned down by the Governor’s killer gang.”
The petition further stated that the Awo-Omamma killing reflected the same pattern as others that had been carried out in the past.
According to the group: “… In the current scenario, unarmed young men, women, and children are routinely shot at point blank range without being given any opportunity to defend themselves in court. Already, many people have been killed by the Nigerian Army, Police, and lately Ebubeagu in Orlu Senatorial Zone, in particular and Imo State in general. Many houses have been burnt down, even with their occupants still inside. These include innocent women and children who had nothing to do with criminal activities.”
Billie further stated that Governor Uzodinma’s approved invasion of Orlu Senatorial Zone and the resultant extra-judicial killing of its people by the Army, Police, and Ebubeagu constitutes genocide.
According to the group: “Governor Hope Uzodinma or even Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had no legal or constitutional power to set up a hit squad or vigilante that violates the law and extra-judicially kills innocent people.”
The petitioner also accused Governor Uzodinma of exploiting his membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to bring the Army and Police to the state adding that he aimed to silence all opposition prior to the next general election since he is not the people’s choice.