Killing Of 3 Policemen, Tricycle Operator Indication That Commercial Soldiering Has Taken Over Nigerian Army- Intersociety

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety has said that the recent killing by soldiers of the Nigerian Army of three gallant intelligence police officers and a civilian in Taraba State; and the premeditated murder of an innocent Tricycle operator in Aba are all clear indication that the trio of quackery, karma and commercial soldiering are running riot on Nigerian Army presently headed by Lt Gen Turkur Buratai.

Intersociety said that professionally speaking, the killings particularly those perpetrated in Taraba State are punishably premeditated and have nothing to do with ‘collateral fatalities’ and ‘mistaken identity’.

This is contained in a statement issued 9th August 2019 and signed by Lawyers Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Evangeline Chidinma Udegbunam, Head of Campaign & Publicity Dept and Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies and Board Chair of Intersociety.

It said that soldiers of the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Takum in Taraba State, had on Tuesday, 6th August 2019, opened fire in a murderous manner at a group of crime detective and intelligence personnel of the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

“The said detective and intelligence officers were attacked along Ibi-Jalingo Road in Taraba State. Led by ASP Felix Adolije, the police crack squad members were escorting the just arrested notorious kidnap and possibly jihadist kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume, when the soldiers opened fire, killing three police officers and a civilian and injuring scores of other police personnel in their convoy. The soldiers after the shooting and killing were reported to have facilitated the escape of the arrested terror/kidnap kingpin. The Army later issued a statement claiming that ‘the shooting and killing was done in error; by mistaking the victims to be kidnappers’.

“Similarly in Aba, Abia State, Southeast Nigeria, another killing by a solider of a commercial motorcyclist along Ikot-Ekpene Road on 7th August 2019 was reported. Citizen Chimaobi Nwaogu Uzoukwa, a native of Amaise, Umuokereke-Ngwa in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State was chased after by a soldier and shot dead in his father’s compound. The killing was in connection with a N100 army roadblock extortion or gunpoint bribery, which is now deeply entrenched in the roadblock modus operandi of the military and police personnel deployed in the Southeast and South-south regions of Nigeria.

“The killer-soldier was attached to the Ohanze Army Post in Obingwa Local Government Area in the commercial city of Aba. The militarization of Aba and its environs is coordinated by the 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army located at Asa Community, near Aba, which is under the 14 Brigade, Ohafia in Abia State. Citizen Chimaobi was killed by the soldier for refusing to part with N100 note at a nearby Army roadblock. The killer-soldier had flagged down another commercial motorcycle and ordered him to go after the slain cyclist following his refusal to part with N100 at a nearby Army roadblock. When the slain ran for his dear life and made it to his father’s compound, the armed soldier alighted, shot him dead and jumped back to the commercial tricycle that brought him and fled.

Intersociety said the incident was also confirmed by a family member of the deceased, who is the immediate past Chief Press Secretary to former Gov Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, “who further complained of ‘unwholesome and criminal extortion by soldiers mounting roadblocks at Afo Di Mkpa Ohanze and Ukpakiri’, all in Aba and environs.

The group said that Karma is at work because the Nigerian Army under Lt Gen Turkur Buratai has so much killed defenseless Nigerians now in their thousands since August 2015, with impunity and reckless abandon that the spirits of the slain have become restive and restless with a possible heavy curse placed on the Army to ‘never cease to kill and maim unprofessionally’

“The restlessness, anger and vengeance of the slain from their cosmic abodes exemplified by the recent premeditated killing of police officers in the line of duty in Taraba State is also a way of reminding all Nigerians that this month, August 2019, makes it four years since the Lt Gen Buratai led Nigerian Army launched its atrocious and murderous campaigns against the innocent, unarmed and defenseless Nigerian populations; leading to massacre of thousands and maiming of thousands too. It is particularly reminded that August 2015 was the official commencement month of the military atrocities in Nigeria; which started with mass murder of dozens of unarmed and defenseless citizens of Igbo Ethnic Nationality in Eastern Nigeria; followed by killing of not less than 1000 annual faith-procession Shiite Muslims and maiming of over seven hundred others in Zaria, Northern Nigeria.

“In modern military tradition across the world, it is better for ten soldiers to die so as to save an innocent soul. It is also a taboo and height of professional quackery to kill an innocent or engage in the massacre of persons or property destructions not classified as ‘military necessity’; but in the case of Nigerian Army under Lt Gen Buratai, a major parameter to determine ‘professional soldiering’ is expressly rested on number of unarmed, defenseless and innocent civilians soldiery killed or massacred and maimed as well as number of criminal persons and entities shielded from crimes or aided to commit same; such as Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and their registered mother bodies.

“Past Atrocities Of The Nigerian Army include killing of: (a) 480 unarmed, defenseless and innocent citizens of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality and maiming of over 500 others in Southeast and South-south (August 2015-September 2017), (b) killing of 236 Christian IDPs and injuring of scores of others in Kale-Balge in Borno State (Jan 2017), (c) killing in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force of 50 rural Christians and injuring of others in Numan, Adamawa State (December 2017), (d) mass suffocation and proxy killing of 240 civilian detainees including 29 infants at Giwa Military Barracks in Borno State (AI Report 2016).

“Others are: (e) massacre of not less than 1,000 members of Shiite Muslims and injuring of over 700 others in Zaria, Kaduna State (December 2015), (f) bullet-killing of no fewer than 250 Shiite Muslims and injuring of others in their hundreds between Oct 2016 and July 2019 majorly in Kaduna and FCT, (g) rifle-killing of 159 children and injuring of hundreds of others in Northeast Nigeria (UN Report 2017) and (h) scores among over 40 unarmed citizens including voters and party agents killed in the Feb 23 Presidential  and the March 2019 Governorship Polls particularly in Rivers and Bayelsa States (i.e. killing of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe and Mrs. Ibisaki Amachreee in Rivers State). These are just to cite a few of the military atrocities in Nigeria since August 2015.

“The Nigerian Army is so politicized that it now supervises the writing of poll results, snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes and killing and maiming of voters and INEC and party agents (i.e. killing of Dr.Ferry Gberegbe and Mrs. Ibisaki Amachreee in Rivers State). It is also tribally and religiously lopsided in composition, ranking and posting. Professional ethics including moral conscience and corporate integrity are speedily departing the Army; to the extent that spinning and lies have become its major policy. The Nigerian Army under Buratai hardly accepts responsibilities for its personnel misconducts and blunders.  The public position taken by the NA in the case of recent killing of policemen in Taraba State is a clear case in point.

“While elements of commercial soldiering are likely not to be ruled out in the case of the Taraba killings by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, it fully played out in the killing by a solider of a commercial cyclist in Aba, along Ikot-Ekpene Road on 7th August 2019.  Intersociety had severally documented and still documents cases of roadblock extortion by personnel of the Nigerian Military and Police Force stationed on most of the roads in the Southeast. The documentation had found that there are over one hundred military (army and navy) roadblocks in the Southeast with each going home daily with N50, 000-N100, 000 or N5m-N10m. The Navy Checkpoint at the Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road, near Onitsha Uga Junction is the most ‘lucrative’; as its personnel go home daily with not less than N200, 000. Another review and updates (from August 2015-August 2019) are already in the making.

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