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Killing of soldiers: HURIWA to CDS: Soldiels sgould stop abusing human rights of innocent Aba residents



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  • Commends Gov. Alex Otti on scholarships to children of murdered soldiers in Aba and price tag for arrest of killers:

Reports that residents of Aba, the commercial centre of Abia State and South East of Nigeria are counting losses following the reprisal attacks by soldiers over the killing of five colleagues at Obikabia Junction, Ogbor Hill, Aba, on Thursday, May 30, has made the prominent civil Rights Advocacy group: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) to call on the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwobin Musa and the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja to immediately halt the devastating violations of human rights of Aba residents and to operate within the rules of engagement.

The Army must deploy lawful means to track down the terrorists responsible for the dastardly crime of mass murders of soldiers and the innocent Aba residents must not suffer as a result of an act of terror they played no role in unleashing. The continuous violations of the fundamental human rights of the citizens are unconstitutional and therefore absolutely condemned.

“It is beyond logic to explain the fact that since the terrorists attacked the military checkpoint at the junction, killing the soldiers and burning two patrol vans as well as their checkpoint, the soldiers angered by the attack, reportedly stormed Aba and its environs, assaulting and arresting motorists and residents.”

HURIWA has nevertheless praised the reactions of the government of Alex Otti of Abia State for paying visits severally to the Army and these bereaved families and importantly, the decision of the governor to institute scholarships upto university levels for the children of these gallant fallen heroes, and the announcement of the willingness of the state government to reward any person with useful intelligence that leads to the capture of these terrorists, are good gestures. The Army should reciprocate these humane gestures by ensuring that innocent Aba residents are not punished collectively. Aba city must not become an occupied military territory for this will destroy trades and commerce worth several billions and put over 4 million residents out of work. Residents should be protected from terrorists and not attacked by soldiers who are maintained by the taxpayers.”

HURIWA citing media reports and credible eye- witnesses, stated that cases of alleged humiliation of passengers by soldiers who barricaded the Aro Ngwa, Umuikaa, Isiala Ngwa and Ntigha Junctions along the Aba – Umuahia section of the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway, constituted an egregious and grave violations of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms which must on no account be abridged unlawfully.

It was garhered that a commercial motorist, who gave his name as Sunny, gave oral evidence to reporters that the humiliation of passengers by soldiers had stopped, but there were cases where suspected persons were arrested while other passengers were allowed to continue their journey.

He said: “At the Aro Ngwa, Umuikaa, Isiala Ngwa and Ntigha Junctions on the expressway, passengers are ordered to alight and raise their hands before passing the barricade. “The Aro Ngwa Junction was completely blocked, motorists passed through local routes. “But the situation is gradually easing off except at Umuikaa Junction where soldiers are still forcing passengers to raise their hands.
“We condemn the killing of the five soldiers but the Army should ensure that innocent motorists should not be made to suffer for what they didn’t know.”

In a media statement denouncing what it called misplaced and illegal retaliatory actions by soldiers on completely innocent citizens of Nigeria legitimately engaging in their businesses in Aba city renowned for commerce and trade, HURIWA said in as much as it considers the attack and the gruesome murders of soldiers in the junction near Aba City as a terrorist act, it is unlawful for soldiers to create a sense of panic on a mass scale and engage in a campaign of harassment and intimidation of innocent people to an extent that many people afraid of been killed by soldiers, have left Aba to save their precious lives. The Army must never be allowed to destroy the commercial city of Ndigbo.

HURIWA also stated that some residents have also alleged cases of missing persons following raids of their homes by soldiers just as the Rights group commended Governor Alex Otti had, for embarking on a second visit to the 144 Battalion in Asa, Ukwa West council area, whereby he urged the military to release innocent persons who were still being detained in connection with the innocent. Military must use lawful means to conduct their investigation and before any arrests, the arresting security forces must have warrants of arrests legally authorised by a court of law. We condemn all illegal, unilateral, arbitrary arrests of Aba residents by the soldiers.

HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko has therefore asked the military chiefs to call their operatives to order so they stop creating unnecessary tensions amongst the civil populace who are totally disconnected and unconnected to the terrorists who attacked the soldiers. “The truth is that those who instigated this terror attack on soldiers are not working for the millions of law abiding residents of Aba and therefore these innocent people must be spared of any illegal action by soldiers because Nigeria is a Country governed by law and not by the whims and caprices of trigger happy operatives.

“The Nigerian Army, the armed security services should use intelligence gathered from amongst the intelligence department and human intelligence from the people, to trace, arrest, and ensure that those who killed the soldiers who were on peace keeping mission in Aba, are prosecuted and punished. “Creating fears and panic on the minds of the populace wouldn’t let the security forces win the hearts and minds of the people. The Nigerian Army needs to win the hearts and minds of the people of South East so all manifestations of threats against the security and stability of the Igbo states would be defeated and decisively crush.”



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