The attention of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is drawn over a recent report by the Sundiata Post; an online media outfit that the Nigerian Army had dispatched an investigative team to Aba to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the 9th of February 2016 massacre of 22 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and dumping of 13 of them in Aba-Port Harcourt Road Burrow Pit. The report quoted the Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig General Ayuba Tedman Hamman as having disclosed this during the commissioning of the newly established Human Rights Desk, Department of Civil-Military Affairs, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
The Sundiata Post also quoted Brig General Hamman as saying “most times, the claims made against the army are either unsubstantiated or out rightly exaggerated” and that “even when verified, most of the violations usually attributed to their officers and soldiers, are perpetrated by some other forces during joint operations”.
Brig General Hamman was further quoted as saying “I want to say that since COAS (Buratai) was appointed I have been inundated with complaints of human rights reports”.
“We found out that a lot of cases, when reports are being filed and sent to us or commence investigation they become impatient and we don’t see those people again. There are a lot of cases that you have to avail us more information but they are nowhere to be found.
“We have sent an investigative team to ascertain the issue in Abia State about the complaint that our men shot some people involved in peaceful protests. I have confidence in our team and I know this was a joint operation but since we are part of it, we still need to verify. We investigate and at the end of the day prosecute the culprits “.
We welcome the decision of the Army to investigate the massacre provided it is credible and not a cover-up mission. We shall also welcome and cooperate with any other local or international investigation mission over the massacre provided the investigation team is credible and unbiased.
We wish to inform that till date, neither the lead-petitioner (Intersociety) nor the victims and their relatives or IPOB organization have been contacted by the said investigation team from the office of the Army Provost Marshall.
We will not be part of any armchair investigation or investigation warranting invitation of the lead-petitioner (Intersociety) or group-victim (IPOB) or individual victims (IPOB members/supporters) to the army headquarters or any other army formation or barracks. Any serious minded and credible investigation team should be able to go round so as to see the crime scenes and hear from the victims and the lead-petitioner.
Available pieces of pictorial and video and other factual evidence associated with Aba IPOB members’ massacre are too strong for Nigerian Army to escape culpability on account of its infantile or inexcusable excuses above.
The video clips of the massacre and the Burrow Pit dumping of the 13 murdered IPOB members not only speak for themselves but also show the depth of involvement of soldiers of the 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army under Lt Col Kasim Umar Sidi. Our round the clock searchlight is particularly beamed on the 13 murdered corpses dumped in the said Burrow Pit.