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Nigeria is currently passing through turbulent times. This seems to be as a result of the growing culture of impunity, greed, and graft among the political elite, as well as the injustice, inequity in political appointments and the distribution of social amenities. While public officers and their cronies obscenely amass ill-gotten gains at the expense of the masses, the growing army of unemployed youths are daily assailed by deepening frustration as they behold a future that seems to promise them little or nothing.
Consequently, agitations of disillusionment and dissatisfaction are growing louder across the country, especially in the last two years. While some groups in Nigeria are calling for the restructuring of the country, a complete reform of governmental organisations, offices and others have made open their stance for complete secession.
In the wake of these agitations, which have heightened the tension in Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Yussuff Buratai has set out on an unnecessary agenda to militarise the Southeast region of the country by the unnecessary deployment of Nigerian Army officers in the zone under the guise of carrying out a sweep against insecurity and other unfounded security concern claims. These operations have been nicknamed ‘Python Dance 1, 2, and 3’ over the subsequent years with the deadliest being in 2017. As the public was informed, these military operations were undertaken to check criminal activities that have become prevalent in the zone. Nevertheless, the Chief of Army Staff failed to explain why the Nigerian Army was brazenly assuming the constitutional responsibility of the Police Force.
And to further buttress the irrelevancy of these operations, whenever they are carried out, most places in the Southeast region are usually targeted for their volatility and because of this, these places are quarantined and turned into a theatre of violence. Heavily armoured trucks are displayed in a show of force to instill fear and panic in indigenes. An example of this is Abia State, Afaraukwu to be precise which is the birthplace of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
This influx of military officials into Igboland has led to constant terror, bloodshed, and tears. Hapless and armless Igbo indigenes are being subjected to unimaginable cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. They use heavy weaponry like armoured tanks, machine guns, and gunship helicopters to intimidate citizens while impinging on their fundamental human rights. To ensure that their atrocities are not reported in the media, the military have taken to the intimidation and threatening of journalists and social media influencers in the region to coerce them into looking the other way.
The Nigerian Army by doing this have displayed an abysmal lack of professionalism that has brought embarrassment and shame to the military institution and Nigeria as a whole. The engagement of the military must abide by the ethical standards and rules that safeguard the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person. Given the sanctity of human life, soldiers in self-defence or the defence of the nation may only kill an unjust aggressor during an armed conflict, if and only if that is the only way to ward off his unjust aggression. No matter how one looks at it, nothing can justify the intimidation and killing of unarmed and defenceless southeast citizens nor the degrading and inhuman treatment meted out to some others. Even war prisoners are entitled to a decent and humane treatment. The molestation and intimidation of law-abiding media practitioners by the members of the Nigerian Army is highly condemnable. The Nigerian Army must act within the confines of the law and should avoid arbitrariness, and impunity.
The fact that the Nigerian government and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai have decided to continue their deployment of heavily armed soldiers for a show of force in the Southeast in a very volatile and provocative atmosphere is completely damnable and disappointing. Rather than engaging soldiers to intimidate and cause harm to non-violent citizens, the government should try to redeploy these troops to other hot zones like Borno State, Zamfara State, Yobe State, Adamawa State, and other regions in Nigeria currently experiencing insurgency and insecurity. The unnecessary deployment of armed soldiers to unleash brutality on unarmed and defenseless individuals is totally against the tenets of true democracy and only shows weakness and cowardice on the part of the military officials.
If General Buratai, amongst other atrocities perpetrated, does not desist from these criminal acts with immediate effect, of using the military to harass and subjugate innocent civilians especially those from the Southern Nigeria then it’s only apparent that he wants to make himself a notorious candidate for prosecution at the International Criminal Court after serving his tenure as the Chief of Army Staff.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK