ABUJA—MOVED by series of allegations of extra-judicial killings of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, during some of their peaceful protest sessions by some of its personnel, the Nigerian Army, yesterday, set up an eight-man panel to investigate the allegations.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, while inaugurating the panel at the Army Headquarters, Abuja, said the allegations were not good for civil-military relations and were capable of demoralising the Nigerian personnel in the performance of their constitutional responsibilities.
The allegations, according to Buratai, include the Amnesty International reports and allegations by Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, of rights violations of arrested members. It also include allegations of Boko Haram terrorists against some Army personnel and commanders based on which some of them are already suffering discriminations in some quarters.
The reports range from extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and disappearance of IPOB members and suspected Boko Haram terrorists.
“These allegations are not good for civil-military relations and are capable of demoralising the Nigerian Army personnel in the performance of their constitutional roles, “he said.
Buratai said it was expedient to thoroughly and impartially investigate the allegations to find out the facts of the matter and to enable relevant authorities take appropriate actions.
But Buratai asked the panel not to revisit allegations already investigated by state governments or the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, through similar panels.
The Army’s special board of inquiry, which has Major General Ahmed Tijani Jibrin (retd) as president, according to the Army boss, was set up to investigate the matter and establish the true situation of the whole allegations.
Other members of the panel include Brigadier-General Dadan Garba (retd); Brigadier-General Abdulqadir Guide (retd); Brigadier-General O. Olayinka; Col. L. B. Mohammed; Col. U.M. Wambai; Mr Olawole Fapohunda and Lt.-Col. C. M. Akaliro, who is the panel’s secretary.
You can’t divide Nigeria in my time, Buratai tells agitators
Meantime, Buratai had earlier told those agitating for an independent state to “forget it.”
Speaking in Abuja, Monday, after receiving an award conferred on him by a coalition of over 80 civil society organisations, Buratai said the army would not condone any act that could lead to the disintegration of the country.
He also promised that insurgency would soon be a thing of the past.
He said: “Those individuals and groups that are bent on destablising our country, I think they have to wait till, may be, the next three or four millennia for them to do that. That is, maybe the next generation of officers and men will allow them at all.
“Having been given the millennium hero award, I want to call on all the agitators for separation and other acts of destabilisation that they better forget it. Not in this era, not in this millennium.
“I want to say that we would continue to do our best to maintain the security that is needed as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have been tasked to defend our country.”