John Alechenu, Abuja
The South-East caucus in the Senate has urged the Federal Government to immediately constitute a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the alleged killing of about 150 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The Chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said this in a statement, in Abuja, on Thursday.
He said the report by the Amnesty International, which painted a very chilling picture of the brutal killing of peaceful protesters allegedly by the operatives of the Nigerian Army, was not only embarrassing to Nigeria as a country, but also cast doubts on the mode of operation of the Nigerian military in handling civil protests in a constitutional democracy
Abaribe said, “It is not enough for the Nigeria military to debunk the report; we, as a caucus, demand an independent inquiry in the mould of a judicial panel and urgently too.
“It is our candid view that such a panel would reassure the Igbo that the Federal Government is alive to its responsibilities, one of which is the protection and respect of the fundamental rights of all people irrespective of tribe or religion.
“Unraveling the authenticity of the report would help to prevent a reoccurrence just as it will engender unity in our country. But the most important to us now is that the report must be probed and those implicated must be made to face justice.”
Amnesty International had in its latest report released on Wednesday alleged that about 150 members of the pro-Igbo group, under the aegis of Indigenous People of Biafra, were extrajudicially killed by Nigerian security forces, led by the military.
The report partly read, “Nigerian security forces, led by the military, embarked on a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence, resulting in the deaths of at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafran protesters in the South-East of the country, according to an investigation by Amnesty International published today.
“Analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently shows that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds.
“It also finds evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.” (Punchng.com)