Following the alleged extrajudicial killings of young citizens of Imo State, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has written to the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Attahiru Ibrahim, threatening to drag him before the International Criminal Court, ICC in The Hague-Netherlands if the trend continues.
In a copy of the letter dated May 5 and made available to bioreports by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko on Wednesday, HURIWA alleged that the army chief had done nothing to stop the killings in the state.
HURIWA which cited several killings of innocent citizens in Imo by the Nigerian army, urged the COAS to arrest and prosecute soldiers involved in the incidents.
Part of the letter reads: “We write you this letter with the highest respect and it is our wishes that you succeed in your onerous task to govern the largest Army in Africa.
“This is to bring to your notice officially of the happenings in Imo State, South East of Nigeria in connection with the large presence of operatives of the Nigerian Army on an Internal Security Operation.
“We observe with serious concern that the operatives of the Nigerian Army sent on Internal Operation have been implicated in several illegal acts in violation of the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to an extent that last week, we were forced to issue a media statement on these extra-legal killings of young citizens of Nigeria in Imo State by the operatives of the Nigerian Army that your good offices sent on an Internal military operation.
“Sadly, we hereby confirm to you that the situation has deteriorated.
“Individuals are arbitrarily arrested, harassed, physically maltreated and on some occasions some young persons have been killed by the operatives of the Army and this is the essence of doing this letter to your good self and offices to remind you of your constitutional duty to ensure that citizens are not illegally killed which offends section 33 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution.
“That section specifies as follows: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”
“We will endeavour to point out some of these cases including the dozens of reports we have received from persons whose fundamental rights as citizens guaranteed by chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, are abused with reckless abandon by your men.
“Suffice it to say that we have on many occasions condemned any sorts of attacks by the yet to be known attackers targeting the military and Police operatives. As a credible civil society stakeholder in the Country, we are working to promote greater dialogues between the military and the civilians for the betterment of the society.
“We pray that you immediately order the arrest and prosecution of those army operatives so described, so that they are subjected to the due process of the law internally.
“Failure to so subject these alleged killers to the due process of the law will leave us with no option but to approach the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands to demand that the offenders and the head of the Nigerian Army be prosecuted for crimes against humanity”.