The abuse of power by the government and its military against the harmless individuals and group in Nigeria is nothing new: do not protest if you want to stay alive. These are the words of Colonel Usman on the Amnesty International Report.
The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a planned release of a report by Amnesty International on an unfounded storyline of mass killings of MASSOB/IPOB protesters by the military between August 2015 and August 2016. We wish to debunk the insinuation that our troops perpetrated the killing of defenceless agitators. This is an outright attempt to tarnish the reputation of the security forces, in general, and the Nigerian Army, in particular, for whatever inexplicable parochial reasons. For the umpteenth time, the Nigerian Army has informed the public about the heinous intent of this Non-Governmental Organization, which is never relenting in dabbling into our national security in manners that obliterate objectivity, fairness, and simple logic.
The evidence of MASSOB/IPOB violent secessionist agitations is widely known across the national and international domains. Their modus operandi has continued to relish violence that threatens national security. Indeed, between August 2015 and August 2016, the groups’ violent protests have manifested unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security, and stability in several parts of southeast Nigeria. A number of persons from the settler communities that hailed from other parts of the country were selected for attack, killed, and burnt. Such reign of hate, terror, and ethno-religious controversies that portend grave consequences for national security have been averted through the responsiveness of the Nigerian Army and members of the security agencies. These security agencies are always targeted for attack by the MASSOB/IPOB instruments of barbarism and cruelty. For instance, in the protests of 30 – 31 May 2016, more than 5 personnel of the Nigeria police were killed, while several soldiers were wounded, as well Nigerian police vehicles were burnt down same and several others of the Nigerian Army were vandalized. The strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha came under threat, thus leading to disruption of socio-economic activities. In the aftermath of the encounter that ensued between security agencies and MASSOB/IPOB militants, many of our own troops sustained varying degrees of injury. In addition, the MASSOB/IPOB’s recurrent use of firearms, crude weapons, as well as other cocktails, such as acid and dynamites to cause mayhem remain a huge security threat across the Region.
In these circumstances, the Nigerian Army, under its constitutional mandates for Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) and Military Aid to Civil Powers (MACP) has continued to act responsively in synergy with other security agencies to de-escalate the series of MASSOB/IPOB violent protests. Instructively, the military and other security agencies exercised maximum restraints, despite the flurry of provocative and unjustifiable violence, which MASSOB/IPOB perpetrated. The adherence to the Rules of Engagement by the military has been sacrosanct in all of these incidents. Therefore, it is rather unfortunate for the Amnesty International to allow itself to be lured into this cheap and unpopular venture that aims to discredit the undeniable professionalism, as well as the responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
Now that the military has denied the allegation against them by Amnesty International,what happens to the video and pictorial evidence displayed by the groups involved?