A coalition of human rights groups based in the south eastern parts of Nigeria have condemned the acceptance of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai to carry out the shoot on sight order of ballot box snatchers, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group, under the aegis of Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organisations (a coalition of 22 human rights & democracy organisations) said it was suspicious that such orders had not been given to the military by the president on members of the Boko Haram terrorists or the Fulani Herdsmen and other violent organisations.
The group said the acceptance calls to question the competence of the Chief of Army Staff, saying that modern day soldiering include “sharp mental, forensic and scientific soldiering, but in the Nigerian Army of Buratai’s era, the likes of Buratai’s military generalship is earned through civilian butcheries, locomotive and archaic soldiering as well as litany of other in-service atrocities and immoral conducts.”
A press statement signed by the head of the groups, Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi who is also the chairman board of trustees of International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, and made available to THISDAY in Awka, Anambra State, states that, “Therefore, the COAS’s re-ordered killing on Nigeria’s Election Day is nothing short of preemptive and psychological terrorisation of the country’s 72 plus million PVC holders particularly those in the Southeast, South-south and potential opposition voters in the North and Southwest Nigeria.
“From the analysis of the COAS’s “vote against PMB and die” statement and associated threats, the Nigerian Army has singled out four South-south States of Rivers, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom for Election Day military siege, infliction of widespread fears and brutal suppression of the electoral wishes of voters in the areas.”
The group said it was not surprised by the actions of the military which had tended to favour the incumbent president, saying that Nigerian Army must also have been frustrated by the eleventh hour suspension of election boycott calls in the Southeast and South-south and decided to do it the hard way; in the context of “the lesser the voters’ turnout in the areas, the brighter the rigging chances in favor of their C-in-C”
It said there were still fears that killings may occur between 6am of 22nd February to 6pm of the 23rd January, and that any such development would leave the military culpable.
“Specifically, the COAS and his squad of khaki goons shall be held responsible for killings or deaths investigatively traced to the doorsteps of the Nigerian Army from 6pm, today, 22nd Feb 2019 to 6pm tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd Feb 2019. There is also high possibility of holding the Army and its COAS culpable in the event of any killing that may occur between 6pm Sunday, Feb 24th to 6pm Monday, Feb 25th 2019,” the group said.