This is a strong note of advise, short of a warning, to the
Nigerian army to refrain from perpetrating any massacre on communities in the
News reports of recent visits including currently, to
Gbaramatu kingdom's Oporoza community call for an urgent and defined
notice to the Nigerian army to restrain themselves and not perpetrate continued
acts of terror on the people in these communities.
The reports of the army invading the communities and shooting
randomly bring worry and fear to the observing community. While accounts of
deaths if any are yet to be received, an army invasion firing at will in itself
is an act of terror and can lead to inadvertent accidents and death and long
term psychological damage. The elderly are at risk of debilitating fracture and
resultant death from such acts of state terror.
We call on the National assembly to immediately call on the
executives to stop violating the Nigerian constitution by enabling the army
usurp the role of the police. The constitution is clear and unambiguous on the
role of the police/civil defence and the army. The army lack the training to
investigate for criminals or terrorists and are more likely to perpetrate
massacres like Odi, Zaki Biam, Baga, Zaria and Aba by shooting at will. This
only creates and supports the apparent never ending cycle of violence and
terror in Nigeria.
The Nigerian army is advised to respect the constitution.
Section 217 of the 1999 constitution gives the limited role of
the Nigerian army:
(a) defending Nigeria from external aggression
(b) maintaining its territorial
integrity and securing its borders…
(c) suppressing insurrection
and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do
so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an
act of the National Assembly and
(d) performing such other
function as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Unless a request by the Presidency is approved by Act
of the National Assembly, the army cannot be drafted.
The army is only a backup to the Nigerian police. The police are
trained in civil disorder and are the first and primary respondents to
investigate and arrest criminals and terrorists. They can only invite the army
as backup. This is what obtains in Kenya, UAE, USA and everywhere else across
the world. Nigeria is not under marshal law. The police are not paid to be boy scouts as I wrote of earlier, and relegated to
collecting tips on the roadways. They are armed with AK47s and anti riot gear,
to properly deal with crime and terror.
Nigeria must not use illegality and terror to fight illegality
and terror. These can only encourage and inflame each other.
It will be advisable the President relocates his office of
command and control to the south south and south east, listens to the people's
agitations and reviews the Confab reports to garner better local support so as
to make his job of dealing with terror groups like the Niger Delta Avengers,
much easier; rather than continuing to alienate the local people with
ineffective colonial age army brutality.
The army is reported to have beaten up people in the community including an old
man, Atiti Mala who was reportedly butted with a gun. This will amount to
terror by the Nigerian army. We still have too many cases where the people have
been alienated by extrajudicial acts of violence on local communities by the
Nigerian army. There are too many cases in court and many more that we the
people will be filing against the state and its agencies as advised by attorney
Femi Falana. Our legal teams are in action.
However as suing the army and federal government cannot bring
the dead back to life; in this "hot" case, we urgently strongly
advise the Nigerian police to assume their duty and the army to respect the law
and only act in aid and on invitation of the police and by permission of the
National assembly. We strongly advise the army to obey all international rules
of engagement and not apply the type of God-less rules that led to the secret
mass grave at Mando.
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