Army Rights Abuse Report: Exposing Nigerian Army Of Pathological Lies And Unconventional Soldiering
It was a negative laughing moment all through in a teleconference room of the team of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law following the release of the report of a kangaroo probe panel of the Nigerian Army (Special Board of Inquiry), constituted on 8th March 2017.
The panel, which was set up by the COAS, Lt Gen Yusuf Tukur Buratai, was to look into grave allegations of widespread/gross human rights abuses in the course of its counter insurgency operations in Northeast Nigeria as well as its undemocratic and unconstitutional involvement and violent crackdown on nonviolent and peaceful assemblies in Southeast and parts of South-South Nigeria.
The grave allegations of gross human rights abuses were contained in special reports issued by leading international and local human rights organizations including Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law and Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations.
Specifically on mass killing and maiming of unarmed and defenseless members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro Biafra campaigners; there are at least three special reports from Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch and Intersociety.
Intersociety’s report was released on 12th March 2017 and titled: Welcome to Bleeding Republic of Nigeria: a Land Flowing with Blood and Tears.
The sum total of the reports and allied media and research publications has since put the Nigerian Army and its master government or the Buhari Administration at crossroads; forcing same to desperately look for an escape route as well as other crooked and mischievous means of impunity.
Internationally and diplomatically, serious concerns have been raised leading to serious debates and temporarily stoppage or suspension of sale of a number of strategic weapons of war to Nigeria and non-issuance of travel visas to a number of serving and retired Nigerian senior military and other security personnel by US and UK.
The present Federal Government’s official policy of falsehood, propaganda and smear campaigns has also been heavily brought to bear as an escape strategy, leading to hiring of rented crowds to demonstrate against Amnesty Int’l, etc.
Some conformist writers, “NGOs” and uninformed legal opinions have been procured as well by key elements within the Nigerian Army to further demonize and castrate the referenced reports. Totality of these has been marked with colossal failure.
As if these failed efforts were not enough, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai hastily and questionably constituted a board comprising veteran and serving members of the Nigerian Army to investigate itself.
The Nigerian Army, following our criticism and total rejection of the constituted board and its militarist and lopsided composition; later brought in an amenable staff of the integrity crisis ridden National Human Rights Commission, named Barr Tony Ojukwu and another named Barr Olawole Fapohunda to give same a (failed) legitimacy outlook.
The integrity and independence challenged Nigerian Army’s Special Board of Inquiry (SBOI) concluded its watery and partiality ridden assignment and submitted it on 31st May 2017, leading to its release to the media on 15th June 2017.
The major fatality of the said Army’s Special Board of Inquiry and its findings is its gross incoherent and inconsistency with the fundamental principle of natural justice; rested on its twin pillars famously expressed in Latin as; nemo judex in causa sua and audi alterem partem which has its English translation to mean; no one should be a judge in his own case and hear the both parties.
Any fact finding or criminal finding rested outside the confines of the foregoing is of no effect, null and void.
Specifically, we had on 9th March 2017 issued a detailed statement rejecting in its entirety the setting up of the Nigerian Army and its COAS (Lt Gen Tukur Buratai)’s Special Board of Inquiry to look into gross rights abuses of the Army under complaint.