Today, 17th of March 2016, the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff and Borno State born Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, openly confessed and admitted that soldiers of the Nigerian Army opened fire and killed defenceless Biafrans who were conducting prayer sessions inside the football field of Ngwa High Schoool, Aba in Abia state in Biafraland. This genocidal action of the Nigerian Army happened on February 9, 2016.
According to Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai argued that his “soldiers could not have opened fire on the activists without provocation.” The Army Chief further stated that “We have our rules of engagement, the troops cannot just open fire.”
While dismissing the constitutionally-backed respect for human right and sanctity of human lives as guaranteed in section-33 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, Lt.-Gen. Buratai boasted that “in situations that entail the use of fire, the protection of human rights does not apply”. In his display of gross ignorance of the Constitution and the Laws of Nigeria, the Army Chief surmised that “the 1999 Constitution, and the Armed Forces Act, all provided for the use of force when necessary.” But we could not locate in any of the 320 sections and seven schedules of the 1999 Constitution, which section that supported the dastardly acts of his soldiers. Neither did we find in any of the 292 sections and four schedules of the Armed Forces Act, CAP – A20 LFN 2004, where it stipulated the shooting of unarmed peaceful civilians in peacetime within the Federation of Nigeria. In addition, the civilized world will be interested to know what the Nigerian Army’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) are when confronted with Christians praying in a secluded ground.
In his conclusion, Lt.-Gen. Buratai assured that “we are already investigating it. When such incidents involve the loss of lives we usually conduct an investigation – that is our procedure.” From every word in the confessions of Lt.-Gen. Buratai, it is now indisputable that unarmed Biafrans were mowed down by the Nigerian soldiers. The Indigenous People of Biafra do hereby demand the convocation of an impartial investigative team and NOT the group hurriedly set up by the Army Chief considering that the Army is the aggressor in this case. We further assert that the only credible entity which can carry out in-depth investigation is the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The so-called investigating team arranged by the Chief of Army Staff is foundationally riddled with conflict of interest and lacks the moral compass to conduct quality investigation in a case of this magnitude. Therefore, the United Nations Human Rights Commission and other allied organizations should intervene and work with the ICC to conduct a thorough investigation now that the Nigerian Army through Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai have confessed that they actually shot and killed unarmed Biafrans at Aba on the 9th of February 2016.
Barrister Emma Nmezu & Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya
Spokespersons for IPOB