By Dirisu Yakubu
Frontline rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the federal government to probe the invasion of Awo-Omama, a community in Orlu local government area of Imo state by a combined team of security forces which led to the killings of some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, recently.
The Rights group said “the danger of believing the single narrative packaged by the Nigerian Army on the circumstances of the combined operation in Imo state in which six members of IPOB were killed and some armed security personnel got wounded or killed unfortunately without investigating the incident, is that impunity will be unleashed if the security forces can just attack and kill some persons and then frame up some tales by moonlight and then the media will circulate the one -sided propaganda as if it’s a scriptural fact.”
HURIWA noted that in saner climes, “there are independent bodies that monitor the military and police to stop their misuse by any politically exposed and influential persons including the President.”
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA warned President Muhammadu Buhari against using the military against a section of the country, rather than direct them to flush out killer herdsmen maiming and killing innocent Nigerians.
It wondered “why these same combined team of security agents that purportedly invaded Awo-Omama in Imo state have never been despatched to rescue the abducted students in Kaduna kidnapped by Fulani militia nor have they captured the armed Fulani militia kidnapping students in Zamfara, Katsina and Niger State.”
It called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba not to rush to “a hasty conclusion on those responsible for those abominable attacks that targeted strategic national security assets,” without a forensic Investigation.
The Rights group says: “In as much as we do not condone the use of violence by any group of people and we have absolutely condemned the attacks on the security operatives in the South-East and South-South, we wonder what kind of unorthodox methods the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are adopting in seeking truth regarding those dastardly acts of criminality in Owerri.
“We have severally called for the creation of an independent Ombudsman that will be charged with investigation of all use of lethal force to ascertain that the armed forces are not using those maximum force arbitrarily and in a way that is unconstitutional.
“Our main concern is that the armed forces must not be allowed to turn Imo state into a theatre of war. The issues surrounding the setting up of Eastern Security Network are such that military force is not necessary since the measure is put in place to protect the region from attackers masquerading as armed Fulani herdsmen but there are possibilities that Eastern Security Network, ESN and the Ebubeagu Security Network can be synchronised and made to work as one for the interest of helping the law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order and stop the incessant attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen,” the statement read in part.
The group further asked: “If the central government has evidence that ESN is behind the Owerri attacks, why have the suspects not been prosecuted?”