President General of the apex Igbo social-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo has frowned at the setting up of a panel by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General T.Y. Buratai to investigate the alleged killing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) by troops of the Nigerian Army.
He said the army could not be a judge in its case.
Nwodo, in a two-page statement entitled, “Buratai, With Respect, You Cannot Be a Judge In Your Own Court” and signed by him, stated that Buratai’s inquiry could not stand the test of objectivity and therefore, its outcome would not be acceptable to the umbrella body.
Reports has it that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had announced that officers and men of the Nigerian Army who are found guilty of Human Rights abuses, especially in connection with arrested Boko Haram terrorists and members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will not go unpunished.
Reacting, however, Nwodo said, “In Ezu River in Anambra State, 21 bodies floated for two months without anyone identifying them up till today. Claims that they were MASSOB members hacked down by combined Police and Army personnel remain uninvestigated.
“In Aba, IPOB members were gunned down by soldiers for just gathering to hold a meeting. No investigation was done.
“In Port Harcourt, IPOB claims 11 of their members were killed by soldiers. I called for an inquiry, nothing happened. Instead, further killings were done in Asaba.”
Nwodo said Ohanaeze was not opposed to the Army chief carrying out an internal investigation, but noted that “the findings of such an investigation will neither be acceptable to Ohanaeze nor stand the test of objectivity until it is subjected to an impartial body. The basis of our rule of law is that you must not be a judge in your own court.”
Nwodo cautioned that the Army chief was exacerbating the mood of IPOB members by his threat that Nigeria cannot be divided in his lifetime, describing it as unnecessary.