HURIWA Reacts To Soldiers’ Murder, Burning Of Palace, Houses By Military In Imo

October 10, 2021
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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called for an independent investigation into who is to blame for the alleged killing of two soldiers, as well as the invasion by armed military personnel and subsequent burning down of the palace of the traditional ruler of Izombe community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo.

HURIWA stated that it is illegal for the military to use extralegal executions of citizens, regardless of the level of perceived offence, and that it has come to light that the killing of a young man by soldiers prompted the revenge killing of two soldiers, which is barbaric and illegal in and of itself.

The rights group is urging the Imo State Government to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to identify the arsonists among the soldiers who petrol-bombed the traditional ruler’s palace, as well as justice and closure for all those killed, including the two soldiers allegedly set ablaze by some enraged youths.

The group expressed concern that the Nigerian military has yet to grasp that, under constitutional democracy, no institution has the legal authority to take the law into its own hands, regardless of provocation or anger, just as setting fire to the traditional ruler’s housing assets has been described as an act of primitive brutality and an uncivilized modus operandi that must be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

Mr James Imo, a community leader from Umuokwu village, told HURIWA that around 50 houses had been burned down.

It criticized what it called the enraged adolescents’ callous behavior in reportedly murdering the uniformed personnel, saying that the cruel criminal crime of killing law enforcement officers is despicable and reprehensible.

HURIWA insisted that what is legal is for the Nigerian Army to report to the police, who will immediately go into action and arrest the suspected killers of the two soldiers so that they can be prosecuted for murders, rather than for the soldiers to take self-help measures such as invading communities, burning down houses, and shooting at anything that moves in order to avenge the alleged brutal killing of two of their colleagues.

The association urged Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, to accelerate his announced program of professionalisation of the armed forces and devise ways to ensure that soldiers do not resort to self-help measures in the future, such as invading a community where one of their members is killed in the line of duty or even committing an atrocious act of extrajudicial execution of a citizen.

According to the rights group, the medieval trend of invasion and arson by enraged soldiers is completely unlawful and tantamount to terrorism.

HURIWA also asked the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Usman Alkali Baba, to look into a damaging allegation that police officers in Nsukka, Enugu State, invaded a traditional ruler’s home, destroyed the property, maimed visitors, manhandled the traditional ruler, and then abducted him to an unknown location over an alleged land-related dispute the traditional ruler had with another community resident.

According to reports, HRH, Igwe, Christopher Okwor, the traditional ruler of Ihekwuenu autonomous community in Aku, Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State, was allegedly beaten and hauled to an unknown location by persons presumed to be policemen on Thursday.

Martina Okwor, the traditional ruler’s wife, who was also allegedly beaten by officers who invaded the traditional ruler’s home in Umakashi, Nsukka, said the incident happened around 10 p.m. on Thursday.

HURIWA said, “We hereby appealed to the Chief of Police of Nigeria to investigate the circumstances surrounding these disgraceful and criminal allegations against his men and officers and to arrest, investigate and charge any of his operatives indicted for participating in this illicit raid of the home of a citizen and reportedly destroyed the housing assets in a crude attempt to harass, intimidate and ambush a citizen on the strength of a so-called petition filed by another citizen especially bordering on land-related disputes.

“The Nigerian Police Force must begin the period of sanitisation and clean up of the vestiges of professional misconducts and all tendencies that had brought bad publicity and global opprobrium on the institution such as this type of illegal orchestration and misuse of power by the police”.

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