From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
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.”