Soldiers’ Attack in Shiroro: HURIWA  accuses FG of double standard

  • Threatens to drag Nigeria before ICJ

A civil rights advocacy group operating as Human Rights Writers Association of  Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Federal Government of using double standard to address cases of attack against operatives and officers of the Nigerian Army in the country.

The group, in a statement, is wondering why President Tinubu administration swiftly gave directive to the army to invade Okuama in Delta state and fish out killers of its men in the location but is dragging its feet in taking action when similar incident occurred in Shiroro, Niger state recently.

The Rights group  through its  National  Coordinator,  Comrade  Emmanuel  Onwubiko, in a statement, quoted the Nigerian Army Headquarters  to have said at the weekend that two army officers and four soldiers were killed during a fire-fight with terrorists in Niger State following an ambush.

It said two soldiers were wounded and hospitalized while the army urged the people of the state to go about their legitimate activities and reassured them that the Nigerian Army and other security agencies would ensure their protection at all times.

HURIWA further said the Nigerian Army had also contacted the next of kin of the fallen heroes, while burial had been conducted for the deceased Muslim personnel with the consent and approval of their family members unlike what it claimed the army did in Okuama.

HURIWA said it has observed that the military applies double standard in responding to attacks on soldiers when the South and North of Nigeria are concerned, urging the government to stop such divisive policy.

The group is therefore demanding  a universal rules of engagement for internal military operations in every part of Nigeria.

The statement reads in part: “Instead of adopting a double-sided approaches whereby anytime soldiers are killed by terrorists in the South of Nigeria, the community in which this attack against soldiers happened is levelled down and innocent residents killed and forced to flee their ancestral homes for fear of falling victims to the heavy cross fires from the invading soldiers but if it happens in the North of Nigeria, the community is spared as it should be in accordance with the standard operational practices and even the best global practices.

“Many instances to support this assertion abound, but we may be forced to send a petition to the International Criminal court in The Hague Netherlands if this double standard is not brought to an end so that the military respects human rights.

“When terrorists recently murdered some military officers in OKUAMA in Delta state, we warned against the use of extrajudicial and revenge approach but the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave the Army the authorisation to go after the killers (but not to burn down OKUAMA).

“Instead of following standard and legally prescribed approach of going after the suspected killers, the community of OKUAMA was allegedly invaded, the residents made to flee into the bushes and there were alleged cases of extra legal execution of innocent people in Okuama. Even the police commissioner in that state was allegedly not allowed access to the crime scenes in OKUAMA.

“HURIWA, therefore, is asking President Bola Ahmed Tinubu if he is asking the Army to similarly go after the killers of soldiers in Niger state, or is the double standard the acceptable modus operandi in the military? “ the statement added.

HURIWA  said: “Whilst we condemned this reprehensible and unconstitutional  actvof killing of our soldiers, we are asking the President,  the National Assembly to ensure the enforcement of one universal rules of engagement and to compel the military to adhere strictly to one national rule of engagement instead of reacting in different ways in Southern and Northern Nigeria when our officers and soldiers are unlawfully and wrongfully killed by terrorists. 

“The military should always go after the killers of soldiers and not visit their anger on communities in Southern Nigeria where such terrorist attack on soldiers occur or are terrorists in the North less of the two evils when put side by side with their Southern counterparts or is there a secret the hierarchy of the military knows that we the common people don’t know?”

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