Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The National Human Right Commission's Report on the Apo massacre vindicates our Press Release Titled: Apo, Abuja, (Nigeria) Indiscriminate Killing: Part 2, Scene 2?

The Nigerian National Human Right Commission's Report on the Apo indiscriminate killing of squatters in an uncompleted building in Abuja vindicates our Press Release on the issue then.

To refresh your memory, about 8 people were on Friday 20/09/2013 indiscriminately killed in an uncompleted building at Bamanga Tukur Street, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, by Nigeria’s Security Operatives. The SSS justified this wanton massacre claiming those killed were Boko Haram members. We issued a Press Release then condemning the circumstances surrounding the killings. The Nigerian National Human Rights Commission released a report indicting the Department of State Security Service. Recall that this déjà vu played out 8 years after the infamous unprovoked extra-judicial killing of some Igbo traders by overzealous Policemen in what became popularly known as ‘’Apo 6 massacre’’.

While we hold no iota of brief for the activities of Boko Haram and their ilk’s, we strongly decry a penchant for Government Security Operatives to wantonly gun down supposed suspects without first ascertaining their culpability or extracting sensitive information from them.  The issue of the 60 bodies that were reportedly sighted floating on Ezu River in Amensea, Anambra State is yet to be unraveled. Who knows whose turn it will be tomorrow? We profoundly believe in the sanctity and right to life of innocent Nigerians irrespective of their ethnicity, religious and political affiliations. Life expectancy in Nigeria will continue to shrink if such blanket killings are not checked.

A penchant for extra-judicial killing of suspects and innocent people invariably creates mutual distrust, hate and dichotomy between the security agencies and the citizenry that are supposed to volunteer nuggets of sensitive information. Such a proclivity is definitely counter-productive to the fight against insecurity and terrorism. No wonder people failed to volunteer useful information aftermath of the killing of SSS and Police officers by the Ombatse.

We immensely appreciate and commend the sacrifices, unconventional and precarious nature of the onerous task that Nigeria’s Security Agencies are encumbered with in their fight against insurgents and terrorists. We respectfully implore them to stick to international best practices, be less pugnacious, very discerning and surgical, more proactive and invest more resources in intelligence gathering so as to nip insecurity and terrorism in the bud. Due diligence and utmost care must be factored in before embarking on such operations so as to forestall indiscriminately gunning down innocent people or operatives endangering their own lives in the guise of fighting terrorism. With all due respect, Nigeria’s Security Establishments must not metamorphose into terrorists in the guise of fighting terrorists.

Beyond the NHRC indictment, recommendation for monetary compensation, in the interest of justice and in line with global best practices, those responsible for this killing should also be made to face the wrath of the law.