- Press Release
The Nigerian federal government and the Army Chief of Staff should learn from the American soldiers who landed in Nigeria to recover one American citizen in an operation which they accomplished successfully without any casualty from their side in 30 minutes of operation on Nigerian soil decimating all the seven captors but one. What a great operation indeed.
Truth be told, it was the duty of the Nigerian soldiers to have undertaken that particular operation to rescue the kidnapped American going by Nigerian sovereignty and international law – state responsibility notion (protecting citizens and aliens). But Nigerian government was not living up to its sovereign mandate as American soldiers had to come in to do what Nigerian military should have accomplished for the past months the American citizen was kidnapped and held captive on Nigerian soil. Nigerian military top brass deserve questioning.
For many years we are yet to see the Nigerian army rescue victims of terrorism by Boko Haram or those of faceless bandits. We recall that certain of the Chibok and Dapchi girls are yet to rejoin their families upon all the promises the government and military leadership kept making for donkey’s years now. Instead of pro-citizens operations, the Nigerian army, unfortunately, has lent its patriotic duties to serving narrow and selfish ends. The Lekki Shooting now famed and named as Black Tuesday (October 20, 2020) is a recent case in point. In a bid to contain a peaceful protest that later turned violent, Nigerian soldiers left imprints of sorrow, tears and blood within the territorial space it was meant to guide from invasion. Such operations are spectacular own-goals.
Recently, there have been serious security concerns in Oyigbo in Rivers state where it was reported that some armless youths of Oyigbo after the #ENDSARS protest were mercilessly massacred by soldiers in the pretext of trying to check activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The military operation which was aimed at recovering arms said to be carted away by the secessionist or other elements resulted in loss of lives of innocent youths, men, women and children who were not even part of the protest sitting in their various homes.
This massacre by Nigerian soldiers in Oyigbo in Rivers state, Lekki tollgate in Lagos, Aba in Abia state and other South East states in Nigeria is a clear indication that the lives of Nigerians, especially the youths, do not matter. Even the life of a cattle is more important than those of humans here in Nigeria. The country have been reduced to one were the life of an animal is given premium above humans.
But Nigeria have always been borrowing so many policies and programmes from their American counterparts, like the presidential system of government and other programmes but hardly so when it comes to citizenship diplomacy and welfare. It is high time Nigeria refocused her policy to carter to her citizens anywhere in the world than use them for target practice. The Nigerian constitution has been violated, especially its chapter 4, which provides and guarantees respect for human rights, by the military; even so are other international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory. The constitution has not been followed in letter and spirit.
How can we explain a democratic setting were peaceful and armless citizens who have legitimate rights to protest and express their views on any government policies are massacred at will by soldiers paid to defend citizens? Has killing of Nigerian citizens become one of the democracy dividends in Nigeria? These are questions begging for answers because we the youths are yet to come to terms why our population will be massacred mercilessly by the same very government we voted into power, one which swore to protect us?
America has just proved beyond every reasonable doubt that every life matters by moving swiftly into and in collaboration with Nigeria to rescue one of their own on Nigerian soil.
To be a soldier does not empower an army unit to intimidate, maim and kill innocent and unarmed people as Nigerian soldiers have recently been accused. Being a soldier entails respecting citizens by whose taxes you are hired and paid and your kits and weapons procured. But a situation were the military are only efficient in shooting when they are in the South and can’t shoot again when they are in the North while that is the hotbed of terrorism only leaves much to be desired.
We therefore demand for the prosecution of any soldier involved in any extrajudicial killing, maiming, extortion and intimidation of Nigerian citizens. The military was not established to harass and intimidate but to protect the dignity of the nation; including saving her from external aggression .
Hon. Goodluck Ibem
Comrade Kanice Igwe
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