As a result of this Human Rights Issue, the U.S Congress has blocked the sale of the sophisticated A-39 Super Tucano counter insurgency attack aircraft to the Nigerian military citing that they might turn such deadly war machine on its civilian population.
|the United States and its British ally withdrew the visas of some top Nigerian Military officers citing their complicity in various human rights abuses.|
Last week, the United States and its British ally withdrew the visas of some top Nigerian Military officers citing their complicity in various human rights abuses. The Nigerian Military however set up a Board of Inquiry with the sole task of investigating the accusation.
The result of the investigation was presented by the Head of the Nigerian Army Civil Relations, Maj-Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, alongside the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman on Wednesday June 14. During the report presentation, Gen. Nuhu said that
“You will recall that Amnesty International (AI), in their reports about the NA in the North-east, had alleged cases of arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial executions against some senior army officers. Likewise it alleged same case against the NA regarding IPOB.
He also made this findings and statements.
- “The Board limited its investigation to the roles played by the NA during the rallies by IPOB in Aba on 9 Feb, 2016 and Onitsha on 29-30 May 2016.
- “The AI alleged that on 9 Feb 2016, during a peaceful rally by IPOB at the National High School in Aba, Abia State about 17 of its members were killed and 30 injured by personnel of the NA.
- “AI also alleged that it had evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of 29-30 May 2016 in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.
- “The Board reviewed videos, photographs and eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings of IPOB members provided by non-government and military sources.
- The Board also had extensive discussions with the governors and senior government officials of Abia and Anambra States.
- “The Board visited the National High School, Abia where it was alleged that members of the IPOB were shot by security forces on 9 Feb 2016.
- “The Board met with the schools security man on duty on the said day (name withheld).
- “The Board took note of the AI allegation that the bodies of at least 13 members of the IPOB allegedly killed at the National High School, Aba were buried in a shallow pit along the Aba-PortHarcourt expressway.
- “The Board observed that there was no specific description of the location of the alleged shallow pit in the AI report.”
- On the incident on May 30 2016, Angbazo stated that with regards to that incident at St. Edmund’s Catholic Church Nkpor, where AI had alleged that soldiers opened fire on worshipers in the church compound, members of the board had held individual and group discussions with the resident priest (name withheld) of the church, the chief security officer of the church and residents within the vicinity.
- “The Board found that there were protests by IPOB members at Aba on 6 Feb 16 and at Onitsha on 30 May 16.
- “The Board found that the IPOB protests were not peaceful and that the lives and properties of citizens in the protest areas were threatened.
- “In the words of one of the governors that met with the Board ‘the IPOB may have set out to have a peaceful protest, however, criminals infiltrated their ranks and turned these protests into violent ones’.
- “In particular, the board found that IPOB members converged at Onitsha on 29 May 2016 to mark the anniversary of the declaration of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
- “The Board also found that the IPOB members occupied the Niger bridgehead, stopping free flow of traffic and threatened to blow it up.
- “That it was the inability of the Nigeria Police to enforce law and order that led to the deployment of the military.
- “The Board found that there was a joint operation of the police and the NA to contain the protesters on all the days when there were protests.
- “The Board notes the statement of governors and senior officials interviews revealed that there were no reports of any killings by the military on any of the days of the protests and they had no information of 13 persons allegedly buried in a shallow grave along the Aba-Port Harcourt expressway.
- “The Board notes that the statement of the gateman at the National High School, Aba, who testified that he heard gunshots and stated that he saw one person fall to the ground. He could not recollect what happened to that person,” Angbazo said.
According to the report, it exonerated the Nigerian Military of any wrong doing. The Nigerian Military High command has repeatedly denied any involvement in the extrajudicial killings of unarmed civilians even in the face of numerous evidence and videos usually posted online.
After the investigations were concluded, the report was forwarded through the U.S Defence Attache to Washington, However, it was gathered that the U.S was not happy with the report which prompted the Nigerian Military to constitute a ‘Special Board of Inquiry‘ to conduct a more comprehensive investigation.
AI alleges that a number of high ranking military officers should be investigated for their role in a number of extrajudicial killings. Those individual includes:
- Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, former COAS (Chief of Army Staff)
- Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, former CDS (Chief of Defence Staff)
- Air Chief Marsahl Alex Badeh, former CDS
- Lt.-Gen. KTJ Minimah, COAS.”