The Correspondent of RECOWACERAO NEW AGENCY, RECONA formerly attached to the immediate past President of RECOWA, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama has sent a piece of horrible information this morning from Nigeria. He painted a gory picture of how Security Forces in this country’s “cow humanization” Code Led to Massive Christian Deaths in Nigeria. The management of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA pray that what happens in Nigeria does not happen in any other African country.

He lamented that Nigeria security forces responded more swiftly to the killing of cows owned by Muslim jihadists than they did when Christians and other non-Muslims were killed, a current report by a Human Rights group in the West African country has revealed.

According to the report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), the secret “cow humanization” code saw security forces in Nigeria speedily activate rapid responses against the killers or attackers of Muslim cows belonging particularly to Jihadist Fulani herdsmen than killers of non-Muslim citizens.

Released on January 18, the Intersociety report indicates that Christians accounted for 70 per cent of the over 100,000 unarmed and defenceless Nigerians that were killed “directly or indirectly” between 2015 and 2023; 70 per cent were Christians in various States.

“Apart from our findings strongly indicating that the 70 per cent Christian and other non-Muslim victims directly or indirectly died in the hands of the Nigerian Security Forces on the grounds of their Faith and Ethnicity, there was also coded security operational policy of ‘cow humanization’ whereby security forces speedily activate rapid responses …against the killers or attackers of Muslim cows than killers or attackers of non-Muslim citizens particularly the Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and the Jihadist Fulani bandits,” Intersociety says in the report shared with ACI Africa.

Some of these “extra-judicial” rapid responses by the Nigerian security forces, Intersociety says, included arrests, abductions, disappearances and “neutralization” that targeted Christians.

The over 100,000 unarmed and defenceless killed in 100 months represent average yearly deaths outside the law of 12,500. This also means that an average of 1,050 extra-judicial killings were carried out per month and 35 unlawful deaths every day.

According to Intersociety, the “indirect deaths” included those who died from torture and gunshot injuries or those abducted and “made to disappear”.

Still, others died from starvation during captivity. Included in this category are victims of the Jihadist Fulani herdsmen and Jihadist Fulani bandits’ massacre or terror.

The human rights group finds it shocking that about 70 per cent of the direct deaths, tortured, abducted and victims “forced to disappear” belonged to members of Nigeria’s South-East, the South-South and the Old Middle-Belt regions that are mainly inhabited by Christians and non-Muslims.

Inhabitants of these regions were reportedly shot and killed outside the law under false labelling and class criminalization.

Others were abducted from their homes or job places, or on their way home or to work or to social outings and tortured or starved to death, Intersociety reports, adding that other victims of police brutalities in Nigeria “permanently disappeared or secretly held outside the provisions of the written laws without fair and evidence-based trial.”

Apart from those killed outside the law, tens of thousands of other Nigerians were deadly tortured and secretly held without fair and evidence-based trial and several thousands of others permanently disappeared during custodial abductions and incarcerations, Intersociety says.

The report dubbed “Rivers of Blood and Tears Ceaselessly Flowing in Nigeria” highlights, in 2015 alone, numerous major unlawful security operations in the West African nation, starting with an August 2015 massacre of 40 defenceless citizens during peaceful protests in Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Asaba regions of Nigeria.

It also highlights other numerous incidents in 2016, including a given starvation to death of 240 civilian detainees including 29 children with ages between newborn and five years at Giwa Army Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State.

It also lists a certain military bombing on 7 January 2017 of 236 internally displaced Christian IDPs in Borno State.

In more recent incidents of extra-judicial killings, Intersociety highlights the involvement of Nigerian military and other armed State and non-state actors in the unlawful killing of over 7,000 unarmed and defenceless non-Muslim citizens between January 2021 and November 2023 in Igbo dominated States of Delta, Rivers, and Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi.

In these places, Intersociety says over 3,200 civilian houses and tens of thousands of other properties including market stores, trucks of goods and automobiles, were burned or wantonly destroyed. A detailed account of the police brutalities, as reported by Intersociety can be read here.

In the report, the Intersociety team that is led by Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Catholic criminologist and human rights researcher concludes that the Nigerian security forces are “neutrality and professionalism challenged” against non-Muslims, having “brutally been radicalized, biased and bastardized particularly since July 2015.”

According to the researchers, Nigerian security forces are “inches away from being converted to full-blown ‘Tribo-Islamic Gendarmes.’”

Intersociety recommends the structures of the Nigerian security forces be “urgently” restructured to stop the “radicalization”.

“The security forces must be urgently restructured and their personnel and bosses comprehensively retrained and de-radicalized,” the team of researchers at Intersociety suggest.

They add, “The ‘Fulanization’ factor in the security forces must be frontally addressed including weeding out all the reportedly clandestinely conscripted ethno-religious killer elements in the security forces during the disastrous years of the Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammad Buhari.”

“The Nigerian State must also drop and discard the infamous ‘State Jihadism Project’ and take the country back to its supposedly secular status,” the Catholic-inspired researchers say.

They continue, “We are making bold to say that the security forces of Nigeria will never make any meaningful progress in the areas of the country’s territorial and citizens’ security and safety as long as the Nigerian Government continues to beat about the bush and rigmarole in securitization absurdities, frivolities and irrelevancies.”

The researchers find it regrettable that about 85 per cent of Nigeria’s security personnel and bosses are still “starkly illiterate” in ICT security and intelligence.

The agencies also manifest “gross deficiencies” in mental security and intelligence skills, Intersociety says, adding that the officers are not capable of addressing security challenges that stem from corruption since some of them have been engaged in corrupt practices.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu