Whether it is due to the soldiers being put in battle zones they are unprepared, ill-equipped or un-trained for is not certain, but Nigerian soldiers are being killed in tens across the nation.
The army chief released a statement declaring the spate of murder of the nation’s soldiers “unacceptable.”
Civil activists have insisted that soldiers have no role in policing the nation. This is the role of the civil authorities. The soldiers and civilians are being put at risk by deployment of the army in violation of the law.
As Nigeria operates as a military state under the president ex-military president, Muhammadu Buhari, the soldiers are either being killed or being found guilty of using excessive force and perpetuating mass massacres and secret mass burials in the north and south.
Army Chief Lieutenant Tukur Yusuf Buratai defended the massacre of over 350 Nigerians in Zaria, claiming it as needed to restore law and order due to street protests in which no soldier was initially reported killed.
However the recent waves of military deaths question the army’s decisions on where force should be used and how much force should be used as well as the reasons why the Nigerian military unleashed its full wrath in the Zaria massacre against the minority Shia Muslims and has only done similar in Onitsha, Abia and other areas of anti-administration ethnic or religious predominance. A government judicial panel found the Nigerian military guilty in the massacre and secret burial in Zaria.
Police are constitutionally obligated, trained and equipped to arrest unrest within the territorial boundaries. They use pepper spray, water guns, rubber bullets and handcuffs. The soldiers either kill or are killed.
Soldiers are worried with the increased risk to life across the nation as are civilians.
Constitutional Illegality Of Soldiers’ Deployment Across Nigeria
Nigeria’s constitution clearly stipulates that the Civil authorities (Police) are the first responders in all internal criminal eruptions, the role of the armed forces is…
Section 217 of the 1999 constitution:
(a) defending Nigeria from external aggression
(b) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders…
(c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an act of the National Assembly and
(d) performing such other function as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Clearly the armed forces only acts to restore order when called upon by the civil authorities and such deployment must be authorised by an Act of the National Assembly, as a “back up” to the Police and not ahead of them. Read more
The police meanwhile are downgraded or left behind, relegated to road traffic duties and not being upgraded to handle their duties in the interest of the safety of life of soldiers and civilians caught in the deaths from the militarization of the nation.