By Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has rejected the idea of having the Nigerian Army investigate the alleged killings of pro-Biafra activists in Aba, the commercial city of Abia state on February 9, 2016.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, had last week announced that the Army was “already investigating” the incident as it was usually “our procedure” to investigate incidents involving loss of lives.
But in a statement issued by its spokespersons, Barrister Emma Nmezu and Dr Clifford Iroanya, IPOB demanded an impartial investigative team, arguing that “the Army is the aggressor” in the incident under investigation.
“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,” IPOB said.
The pro-Biafra organisation recommended that the international Criminal Court (ICC)in the Hague should wade into the matter because it is “the only credible entity which can carry out in-depth investigation” and give an unbiased report.
To achieve the expected impartial investigation IPOB called on the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) and other allied organizations to intervene and work with the ICC to conduct a thorough investigation.
Alluding to the statement credited to COAS saying that soldiers could not have opened fire on the activists without provocation, IPOB said it was as “open confession” that the Army “actually shot and killed unarmed Biafrans”. It therefore insisted that an impartial investigation of the February 9 incident was necessary as “it is now indisputable that unarmed Biafrans were mowed down by the Nigerian soldiers”.
The IPOB also faulted Gen Buratai for saying that troops could not just open fire as the Army has rules of engagement and that “in situations that entail the use of fire, the protection of human rights does not apply.” He was also quoted to have said that “the 1999 Constitution and the Armed Forces Act all provided for eh use of force when necessary”.