Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
A human rights group, Human Right, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Mohammed Buratai, for the brutal murder of three police officers and two civilians at Ibi, Taraba State.
The group called for the immediate arraignment of the soldiers directly and indirectly involved in the murder of the policemen on national assignment.
The chairman of HURIDE, Dede Uzor, in a statement condemned in its totality, the despicable murder by Nigerian Army, of innocent Nigerian citizens who were on official assignment, saying that the act represented the inexplicable hatred the Nigerian Army allegedly has against the police and Nigerian citizens.
“It is sad that such a broad day murder will happen 59 years after our independence. This cannot happen in a sane democratic environment where the rule of law and respect for human dignity are practised and observed.
“Recently, we witnessed where the army killed unarmed police and some defenceless Nigerians. Information at our disposal said the captain who ordered the killing of those officers has been a beneficiary of kidnapping proceeds,” he alleged.
The group demanded that all the soldiers and officers directly and remotely involved in the gruesome killing should be handed over for prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.
“The only way the president can show that he is serious in addressing this dastardly act is to sack the COAS; it was the only way Nigerians will take him seriously and show he is on top of the situation.”
They flayed the directive of the presidency for Defence Headquarters to investigate the matter, saying they didn’t have confidence that the Defence Headquarters could be a judge in its own case.
“The Federal government should set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to be headed by a judge, with the representatives of credible rights groups as members. The army cannot be a judge in its own case, whereas it is the accused. It is an aberration,” the group stated.