From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A constitutional lawyer, Sebastine Hon (SAN) has condemned the dehumanising treatment of persons suspected to be Biafra agitators by the Nigerian Government.
He submitted that watching the video which has gone viral on the Internet, showing most dehumanising treatment of persons suspected to be Biafra supporters, is horrible and horrifying, to say the least.
The lawyer said it is unbelievable that the Nigerian Army, once respected globally, would condescend to the level of flogging its hapless captives and compelling them to submerge themselves in thick mud.
He, therefore, called on the Federal government to dialogue with the group and adopt the carrot and stick approach in dealing with the matter instead of embarking on naked force.
The lawyer further urged Igbo leaders, political and traditional, to not only just speak up against separatism, but should also engage constructively with the agitators on the need for them to see the futility of their actions.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Hon said; “I didn’t believe my eyes when I first watched the video, and I almost became a psychological wreck when I attempted to watch it again.
What that video has depicted personnel of the Nigerian soldiers doing is condemnable in all ramifications. Not even prisoners of war are treated that way!
The promise by the army to investigate is salutary, but I must caution that this should not be a fluke.
For goodness sake, even though the renewed Biafra agitation is, responsibly speaking, not well thought out by its protagonists, but the dismissive aloofness of the Federal authorities is not good either. I can’t fathom why, in a democracy, the Federal Government is blatantly refusing to meaningfully engage dissidents threatening dismemberment of that same Federation, but rather derisively threat them as mere noisy elements. It is never done this way.
For the avoidance of any doubt, I do not support any separatist agitation in Nigeria now; but at the same time, I do not support the Nigerian Government’s demeaning response to the smouldering crisis.
I warned the other day that Nigeria is haemorrhaging and even hanging on the cliff. I also advised that President Muhammadu Buhari should use the carrot and stick approach of the President Obasanjo era – which deservedly beat the Niger Delta agitators to their game.
The actions of the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army are capable of being misinterpreted as anti-Igbo.
In conclusion, however, I wish to strongly plead for caution, especially on the part of the Federal Government. The apparent depicting of Biafran apologists as arch enemies is improper, with due respect.
Igbo leaders, political and traditional, should also not just speak up against separatism, they should also engage constructively with the agitators on the need for them to see the futility of their actions.
A stitch in time saves nine! (The Sun)