HURIWA condemns police, military over attacks on Aba traders

Abia State Governor

Abia State Governor

HE Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to order the arrest and prosecution of army operatives who at the weekend alleged killed innocent bystanders at the Ariaria International Market in Aba, Abia State.

It also demanded the arrest and prosecution of some alleged rogue police officers who equally killed a cobbler in Aba earlier yesterday at the same market.

In a joint statement, the HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, said the police officers who killed the shoemaker must be prosecuted or the group would sue the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

Similarly, the group gave the army hierarchy seven days to arrest the said soldiers who allegedly used brute force, which resulted to death of over four traders in the market.

The statement read: “We have just defended the military as an institution over its indictments by Amnesty International for crimes against humanity in its operations against terrorists in the North East of Nigeria because we are convinced that as an institution, it does not, as a policy, tolerate human rights violations committed by its operatives.”

According to the statement, the victims “were forced on gun points to close shops following a peaceful protest by other traders in another section of the market over the extrajudicial killing of an innocent shoemaker, who was hit by stray bullets shot by some policemen who came to arrest suspected hemp smokers, who nevertheless ran away from the police.”

Should Buratai refuse its demand, the group said it would also petition the United Nations Human Rights Council, “and mobilise forces in the organised civil society to sensitise the international community that the new military authorities in Nigeria have started executing innocent persons in the guise of quelling civil protests.

“President (Muhammadu) Buhari should show Nigerians that he has truly become a democrat by ensuring that those who carry out extra-legal executions of unarmed civilians are prosecuted and executed for mass murders.”

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