From: Madu Ezenoha, Enugu
Igbo Coalition wants COAS, IGP to investigate army, police involvement in killing at Eke-Ukwu Owerri
The Igbo Civil Society Coalition (ICSCO), a civil human rights group, on Thursday in Enugu, called for the immediate investigation of the extra-judicial shootings/ killing(s) at Eke-Ukwu Owerri Imo state which led to the death of a ten year old boy and the wounding of others.
The group said the essence of the investigation was for the culprits to face prompt and diligent prosecution in order to serve as a deterrent to officers and men of Nigerian security services to stop being “trigger happy”.
ICSCO condemned in strong terms the shooting of unarmed civilians by a combined team of soldiers and policemen during the demolition of the Eke-Ukwu Owerri Market last Saturday.
In a press statement made available to journalists in Enugu and signed by Prof. Obasi Igwe, National Coordinator, and Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE, Convener, the group upbraided the Imo state government for going ahead with the demolition of the market despite alleged subsisting court order.
“It is indeed the height of illegality to achieve development through extrajudicial means.
“Also, we condemn the willingness of the Nigerian Army to allow its officers and men to be involved in the management of civilian protests despite the recent assertion by the Speaker, House of Representatives
that such was in contravention of its constitutional role as stipulated in Section 217 of the 1999 constitution. That, according to him made the Army “to become the civil authority itself” rather than aiding the civil authorities.
“ICSCO urges the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the National Assembly to prevail on the Armed Forces to leave the management of civilian protests to the Nigerian Police so as to reduce unwarranted loss of lives,” the group stated.
ICSCO equally condemned the continued use of live bullets by the police in quelling civil protests, in clear contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding crowd management.
“ICSCO wishes to state emphatically that human lives, especially Igbo lives matter and should not be wasted wantonly. The primary duty of the Government through the security agencies is to ensure the security of citizens. It is therefore unfortunate that the same security agencies, for any reason whatsoever should spray live bullets at
civilians, resulting in the death of at least one person, Somtoochukwu Ibeanusi, a ten year old boy (who was shot in the head) with several others seriously injured.”
The group urged the Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector General of Police to carry out an investigation so as to fish out those of their men involved in the extra judicial shootings/ killing(s).
“We are saddened that such is occurring again despite several cases of extra judicial killings and human rights abuses hanging around the neck of the Chief of Army Staff, especially the case instituted against him and nine others in the US under the Alien Torts Act by Attorney Bruce Fein (a former US Attorney General under President Richard Nixon) over the killing, torture and continued detention of pro-Biafran protesters.
“This is not time to play politics. Therefore, we expect Nigerians across party lines and ethno-religious divides to condemn this heinous act. Anyone can be a victim tomorrow as stray bullets can hit anyone, including children, relatives or friends of Governors, Senators and even the President,” the group asserted.