This is a strong note of advise, short of a warning, to the Nigerian army to refrain from perpetrating any massacre on communities in the Niger Delta.
News reports of recent visits including currently, to Gbaramatu kingdom’s Oporoza community call for an urgent and defined notice to the Nigerian army to restrain themselves and not perpetrate continued acts of terror on the people in these communities.
The reports of the army invading the communities and shooting randomly bring worry and fear to the observing community. While accounts of deaths if any are yet to be received, an army invasion firing at will in itself is an act of terror and can lead to inadvertent accidents and death and long term psychological damage. The elderly are at risk of debilitating fracture and resultant death from such acts of state terror.
We call on the National assembly to immediately call on the executives to stop violating the Nigerian constitution by enabling the army usurp the role of the police. The constitution is clear and unambiguous on the role of the police/civil defence and the army. The army lack the training to investigate for criminals or terrorists and are more likely to perpetrate massacres like Odi, Zaki Biam, Baga, Zaria and Aba by shooting at will. This only creates and supports the apparent never ending cycle of violence and terror in Nigeria.
The Nigerian army is advised to respect the constitution.
Section 217 of the 1999 constitution gives the limited role of the Nigerian army:
(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.
Unless a request by the Presidency is approved by Act of the National Assembly, the army cannot be drafted.
The army is only a backup to the Nigerian police. The police are trained in civil disorder and are the first and primary respondents to investigate and arrest criminals and terrorists. They can only invite the army as backup. This is what obtains in Kenya, UAE, USA and everywhere else across the world. Nigeria is not under marshal law. The police are not paid to be boy scouts as I wrote of earlier, and relegated to collecting tips on the roadways. They are armed with AK47s and anti riot gear, to properly deal with crime and terror.
Nigeria must not use illegality and terror to fight illegality and terror. These can only encourage and inflame each other.
It will be advisable the President relocates his office of command and control to the south south and south east, listens to the people’s agitations and reviews the Confab reports to garner better local support so as to make his job of dealing with terror groups like the Niger Delta Avengers, much easier; rather than continuing to alienate the local people with ineffective colonial age army brutality.
The army is reported to have beaten up people in the community including an old man, Atiti Mala who was reportedly butted with a gun. This will amount to terror by the Nigerian army. We still have too many cases where the people have been alienated by extrajudicial acts of violence on local communities by the Nigerian army. There are too many cases in court and many more that we the people will be filing against the state and its agencies as advised by attorney Femi Falana. Our legal teams are in action.
However as suing the army and federal government cannot bring the dead back to life; in this “hot” case, we urgently strongly advise the Nigerian police to assume their duty and the army to respect the law and only act in aid and on invitation of the police and by permission of the National assembly. We strongly advise the army to obey all international rules of engagement and not apply the type of God-less rules that led to the secret mass grave at Mando.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian; also on http://Naija.Live online radio