HURIWA Petitions COAS On Aba Massacre; Demands Actions
Few days after raising alarm of a premeditated attacks by combined armed operatives of the Nigerian Security Agencies including soldiers on innocent bystanders inside the Ariaria international market in ABA Abia State on July 30th 2015, a civil society group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA ) has sent a written petition to the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff Major General Tukur Buratai demanding swift identification and prosecution of the errant soldiers.
HURIWA in the letter which has also been sent to the Senate President Senator Olusola Saraki, Deputy Senate President Dr Ike Ekweremadu, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Mr Yakubu Dogara and the management of the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission in Abuja also threatened to drag the matter to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands if after seven days no transparent action is activated to investigate these vicious attacks on Aba traders.
In the letter signed by the Founding National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the Rights group described as reprehensible and despicable the atrocious attacks on unarmed traders and asked the Nigerian State to effectively bring to an end serial violent attacks by rogue armed security operatives on innocent people in Nigeria.
Excerpt of the letter made available to journalists stated thus: "We have received series of graphic details of an alleged attacks massively launched on unarmed and unsuspecting civilian members of the public in Aba, Abia State by uniformed soldiers around the Ariaria International Market in Aba, Abia state of the last day of July 2015. These spate of vicious attacks by soldiers resulted in fatalities even as many civilians were injured. The cause of these unwarranted and illegal affronts to the peace of Aba city was reportedly occasioned by a raid on some suspected hard drugs joints adjacent the market but certainly not within the vicinity of the very busy market."
"Those who spoke with us said suspected smokers were confronted by operatives from the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) accompanied jointly by the police and soldiers. But when these alleged hemp smokers escaped some of these armed security operatives shot sporadically leading to the killing of an innocent bystander in his shop. Upon noticing what had happened, the sympathetic crowd took the remains of this innocent Nigerian killed extra legally by these armed security operatives to the nearby police station but were chased away by police operatives."
"We were further informed that other soldiers who were mobilized arrived at the Ariaria market and forced traders on gun point to vacate and the rowdiness elicited by these unannounced arrivals of these armed soldiers led to the alleged killing of some more traders."
In the three points prayers HURIWA recommended thus; " we call for proper probe of these attacks and the identification, prosecution and appropriate sanctioning of these soldiers."
"We call for swift, competent and professionally transparent remedial and redress mechanisms to be activated and for compensation to be paid to the families of those killed".
- We call on the Army to partner with the Nigerian Human Rights Commission to train soldiers on why they must respect the fundamental human rights of Nigeria at all times".
The group further informed the Nigerian authorities in the letter thus: , "note that we have in recent times vigorously defended the military institution against the claims of being a place where human rights of civilians are serially violated as alleged in the widely publicized report by the United Kingdom based Amnesty international."
"We are therefore shocked that while we in the organized civil society/Human Rights Community are defending the human rights integrity of the Nigerian Military, some of your operatives find joy in terminating extra judicially the lives of innocent civilians."
"Note that if local remedial and judicial mechanisms are not properly activated, we are ready as well as many other groups to file same petition to the international criminal court in The Hague, Netherlands and you alongside other top officials may be required to defend these allegations before the global panel."