As the lawmaker representing Ogun West in the National Assembly, Senator Solomon Adeola, had alleged few hours back that soldiers of the Nigerian Army in Lago state were responsible for the death of his aide, Adeniyi Sanni, the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has expressed profound regret that the hierarchy of the Nigeria Army has yet to enforce the strictest legal sanctions to deter soldiers from getting involved in horrific crimes against humanity.
Specifically, the Rights group stated that the current Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has yet to even mention the word HUMAN RIGHTS or RULES OF ENGAGEMENT in his entire public speeches so far since assuming office, just as the Right group stated that it is of little wonder that cases of professional misconducts amongst the rank and file including officers of the Nigerian Army have become so rampant and intolerably ubiquitous which calls for very urgent surgical approach to the enforcement of Disciplinary regime by the Head of the nation’s military and especially the Army.
HURIWA is also asking the National Assembly public petitions committee to wade into the cases of lack of professionalism and high rate of indiscipline resulting in fatalities involving soldiers targeting civilians and investigate these cases during special televised sessions of their committee’s hearings so relatives of victims of the brutality of soldiers and those who have lost their loved ones to the criminal activities of rogue soldiers to appear and give evidence that will enable the National Assembly reach a determination that will result in heavy legal sanctions for these indicted soldiers to serve as deterrent to would-be errant soldiers.
Recalling that the bereaved and apparently inconsolable senator made the cruel circumstances of the extrajudicial execution of his Aide known in a statement on Monday, signed by his media aide, Kayode Odunaro, the Rights group wondered why till date barely 48 hours after that high profile media statement was issued and given the widest publicity, the hierarchy of the Army has not shown any public remorse nor has it rolled out transparent measures to arrest, and hand over the killer soldiers and their commander to the police for prosecution for murder or for the Army authority to set up a court marshal to prosecute these murderers in Army uniform.
HURIWA stated that it had been reported that the lawmaker lost his aide, Sanni, in the early hours of Saturday, August 5, 2023 just as Senator Adeola had earlier stated that information available to him on the circumstances indicated that Sanni was stopped at a checkpoint around the Ojodu-Berger Area of Lagos on his way to his home at Isheri by “security agents.”
Information, says HURIWA, indicated that the assassinated aide who was robbed by soldiers of his brand new automobile, had told his wife in their last telephone conversation that he was stopped by soldiers in a part of Lagos just as he asked the wife to snap and send the papers of his vehicle so he shows to the soldiers which she did but she couldn’t reach him subsequently upon further phone calls. His remains which the soldiers abandoned by the roadside whilst making away with his brand new car, was found by a search party.
HURIWA has therefore carpeted the Army’s authority for virtually doing nothing to compel soldiers to become true professionals and become disciplined which is manifested in the many reported and unreported cases of crime and cases of indiscipline on the part of soldiers including the deadly incident in which a female soldier killed a senior colleague at a checkpoint in Yola, Adamawa State, in Northeast Nigeria few weeks back.
The Rights group stated that the trigger happy soldier, according to the media reports, was enforcing the curfew imposed by the Adamawa State government to check the criminality of hoodlums that broke into a government warehouse and looted several items, including palliatives meant to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy.
HURIWA quoted media report as stating that the female soldier identified as Lance Corporal Nkiru shot a captain who attempted to intervene in her altercation with civilians at Fire Service Roundabout in Yola just as HURIWA also condemned the Act of indiscipline of some soldiers of the Nigerian Army last Wednesday morning that beat up a policeman and an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority along Eko Bridge in Lagos.
HURIWA gathered that the soldiers were on one-way when the policeman and the LASTMA official stopped their vehicle and ordered them to turn back and take the right lane. It was learnt that the situation became tensed after confrontations as both parties could not come to an agreement. The soldiers, who refused to turn back, reportedly pounced on the two officials and began to beat them.
Our correspondent learnt that another set of soldiers in a different vehicle, who were driving on the right lane, stopped when they noticed the scene and joined their soldier colleagues in beating the officials.
HURIWA is seriously bothered that members of the armed forces and especially soldiers who are presumed trained adequately to become professionals, have of late started showing greater sign of deterioration of standards of behaviour which indicates that there is a general breakdown of discipline in the Army.
HURIWA stated that these public shows of crass misdemeanours calls for introspection and for concrete steps by the authority to emphasise the fundamental place of civility orderliness, professionalism, discipline, accountability and respect for the human rights of citizens at all times just as the Rights group blamed what it calls the collapse of supervision for these apparent cases of violations of rules of engagement and the wanton abuses of the fundamental human rights of all citizens by some rogue soldiers who are attracting public odium and global opprobrium to the corporate image of the Nigerian Army.
HURIWA has also charged the Army chief to show good example by often and always stressing the import and profound significance of adherence to the rules of engagement and respect by soldiers of the fundamental human rights of all citizens just as the Rights group said the Army’s authority must demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that bad behaviour on the side of soldiers has severe consequences.