Biafra: IPOB rejects army’s probe on killings

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IPOB protests in Onitsha (Credit: Vanguard)
IPOB protests in Onitsha (Credit: Vanguard)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has dismissed the probe instituted by the Nigerian Army into the al­leged killing of pro-Biafra protesters, saying it is riddled with conflict of interest “and (the army) lacks the moral compass to conduct quality investigation in a case of that magnitude.”

The group also called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, to immediately commence full investigation into the alleged unlawful and grue­some killing of its members by security operatives dur­ing their campaign for self-determination.

It urged the United Na­tions Human Rights Com­mission and other allied or­ganisations to intervene and work with the ICC to con­duct a thorough investiga­tion into the alleged killing of armless pro-Biafra agita­tors by the Nigerian Army and other security agents.

A statement by the spokespersons of IPOB, Mr. Emma Nmezu and Dr. Clif­ford Chukwuemeka Iroanya, feared that the investigat­ing team constituted by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, would not do justice.

The spokesmen insisted that the investigation into the alleged killings was crucial now since the Nige­rian Army had reportedly confessed that its personnel actually shot and killed un­armed pro-Biafra protesters in Aba on February 9.

The statement said: “Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai argued that his ‘soldiers could not have opened fire on the ac­tivists without provocation. We have our rules of engage­ment, the troops cannot just open fire.’ While dismissing the constitutionally-backed respect for human rights and sanctity of human lives as guaranteed in section 33 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, Lt.-Gen. Buratai boasted that ‘in situations that entail the use of fire, the protection of human rights does not ap­ply.’

“In his display of crass ignorance of the constitu­tion and the laws of Nigeria, the army chief surmised that ‘the 1999 Constitution, and the Armed Forces Act, all provided for the use of force when necessary.

“But we could not locate in any of the 320 sections and seven schedules of the 1999 Constitution, which section that supported the dastardly acts of his soldiers. Neither did we find in any of the 292 sections and four sched­ules of the Armed Forces Act, CAP – A20 LFN 2004, where it stipulated the shoot­ing of unarmed peaceful ci­vilians in peacetime within the Federation of Nigeria. In addition, the civilised world will be interested to know what the Nigerian Ar­my’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) are when confronted with Christians praying in a secluded ground.

“Lt.-Gen. Buratai as­sured that ‘we are already investigating it. When such incidents involve the loss of lives we usually conduct an investigation – that is our procedure.’ From every word in the confessions of Lt.-Gen. Buratai, it is now indisputable that unarmed Biafrans were mowed down by the Nigerian soldiers.

“The United Nations Hu­man Rights Commission and other allied organisa­tions should intervene and work with the ICC to con­duct a thorough investiga­tion now that the Nigerian Army, through Lt.-Gen. Tu­kur Yusuf Buratai, has con­fessed that they actually shot and killed unarmed Bi­afrans at Aba on February 9, 2016.” (Daily Sun)

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