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US, UK Deny Nigerian Military Personnels Visas Over Human Rights Abuses

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Following incessant petitions by human and civil rights organisations in Nigeria, especially the South East, the embassies of the United States and United Kingdom have unilaterally agreed to restrain visas from Nigerian military personnels.

Almost exactly one year ago, Elombah.com, in a report titled “Call for weapons sales suspension, visas revocation to Nigeria”, reported that Igbo Ekunie Initiative [IEI], comprising individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora, petitioned all relevant authorities and interested parties.

Igbo Ekunie asked them to activate the human rights treaties and correspondingly cease all weapons sales to the Nigerian army and security services.

In another report, Igbo Ekunie called on the ICC to, as a matter of urgency, issue an arrest warrant for the following:

1. President Muhammadu Buhari, 

2. the chief of army staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, and,

3. the GOC 82 Div Enugu, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru for direct responsibility and complicity in extra judicial massacres of innocent civilians in Aba, Onitsha, Zaria and again in Onitsha. 

The human rights group promised to furnish updates and complementary evidence for the egregious crimes against humanity. 

Yet in another petition, the group also called for suspension of weapons sales to Nigeria and revocation of visas of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Igbo Ekunie, in one of its petitions, cited the Amnesty International report titled “Nigeria: Killing Of Unarmed Pro-Biafra Supporters By Military Must Be Urgently Investigated”.

Amnesty International had “confirmed that the Nigerian army gunned down unarmed people ahead of last month’s planned pro-Biafran commemoration events in Onitsha, Anambra state.”

The report further stated: “Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, morgues and hospitals confirms that between 29-30 May 2016, the Nigerian military opened fire on members of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), supporters and bystanders at three locations in the town.

“Opening fire on peaceful IPOB supporters and bystanders who clearly posed no threat to anyone is an outrageous use of unnecessary and excessive force and resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. 

“In one incident one person was shot dead after the authorities burst in on them while they slept,” said M.K. Ibrahim, Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

It further stated: “Opening fire on peaceful IPOB supporters and bystanders who clearly posed no threat to anyone is an outrageous use of unnecessary and excessive force and resulted in multiple deaths and injuries.

“These shootings, some of which may amount to extrajudicial executions, must be urgently and independently investigated and anyone suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice.”

“The exact number of deaths is unknown, partly due to the fact that the Nigerian army took away corpses and the injured,” the report had stated.

The afore-mentioned reports brought to the attention of the international community, the shameful spectre of mounting human rights violations in Nigeria particularly in the last one year of the Buhari administration. 

Ironically, however, contrary to the Latin phrase “nemo judex in causa sua”  that means, literally, “no-one should be a judge in his own cause”, the Nigerian Army, on Thursday, absolved itself of human rights violations.

Elombah.com reported that “the Army took the aforesaid stance during a media briefing by Maj Gen Ne Angbazo, chief of Civil Military Affairs, Army Headquarters on report of special board of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights violations against Nigerian Army personnel in the fight against insurgency at the North East and internal security operations at the South East.”

READ ALSO: Nemo Judex In Causa Sua: Army Clears Self Of Human Rights Violations

In the light of all the daunting evidences, the world showed that it is listening.

Two world powers, the United States and United Kingdom have, therefore, agreed to restrain visas from Nigerian military personnels.

The call for weapons sales suspension is still anticipated in earnest.

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