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Tinubu should stop war against Plateau citizens, punish killer soldiers to avoid ICC prosecution 

Addressing The Continuing slaughter by Fulani Militia and Tinubu’s renewed War on Unarmed Civilians by Soldiers in Plateau State

By Emmanuel Ogebe, Esq

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

We have been alerted to multiple attacks on civilians by soldiers in  Mangu LGA of Plateau state this week. As tireless advocates for human rights and justice, we are deeply shocked and disturbed by the recent deadly overreaction of Nigerian soldiers, on security duty no less, towards peaceful protesters in Mangu. 

Credible investigative sources  report that a group of citizens, including displaced victims of prior attacks in the area, gathered at the military operating base in Mangu, to express their displeasure over a late-night attack that claimed the lives of four residents in  Nchiya village at 11 pm on Sunday night just one mile away, as residents were asleep. 

Instead of addressing the concerns of the protesters and ensuring their safety, the soldiers responded with unnecessary aggression, firing on them, killing two and even fatally running over a felled citizen John Tanko with a van resulting in the loss of innocent lives. See video  https://fb.watch/mlvmeFC-YS/?mibextid=cr9u03

 [https://truthnigeria.com/2023/08/outrage-trails-soldiers-firing-on-unarmed-protesters-near-jos-nigeria/]

We condemn the use of excessive force and express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, including the pregnant protester, who tragically lost her life during the peaceful demonstration on August 7.

We call upon the Nigerian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into this incident, holding those responsible for the use of excessive force accountable for their actions.

Ironically Major Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, Nigeria’s new Chief of Army Staff, launched a special military operation in Mangu on July 22, which brought a force of 300 soldiers to Mangu, pledging to put an end to the incessant bloody attacks on dozens of majority Christian villages that have claimed the lives of over 350 citizens since May 16.

Yet, it took two hours for soldiers from the newly formed task force to arrive at the scene of the attack in Nchiya village, just 1 mile away according to town leaders. 

Eyewitnesses also maintain that upon arrival, soldiers, armed with assault rifles, two anti-aircraft guns and an armored vehicle, failed to pursue the terrorists who were still firing their weapons as they escaped into the nearby mountains but instead, they disarmed local civilian guards who had attempted to fight back using hand-crafted pipe guns and hunting rifles, to enable women and children escape.

This week’s events are in addition to another incident last month in which the army killed three local guards including one trained by them as a community policeman, falsely claiming he was a “bandit” despite possessing his ID card clearly showing his status as adjunct community police. 

This brings to three the number of fatal attacks by security forces in Plateau in the space of one month on members of the community they were tasked to protect. 

It is discouraging and unconscionable that the army under Tinubu has continued to perpetrate crimes against humanity despite the rebalanced composition of the service chiefs and despite indictment by the Prosecutor of the international criminal court in 2020. It is therefore imperative that justice is served, and that the families of the victims find solace in knowing that their loved ones’ killers are held to account.

This is coming at a time when ECOWAS Chairman Tinubu is beating the drums of war in neighboring Niger- chasing rats when his own house is on fire.  Not only should he not engage in war in Niger, he should least of all engage in war against Nigerian citizens!

For avoidance of doubt, an army that lets foreign Fulani killer herdsmen escape unhurt in Nigeria is not prepared to fight in Niger.

We urge the Nigerian government to prioritize the safety and security of its citizens. The protection of human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, must be upheld and respected at all times.

We also implore the international community, human rights organizations, and concerned individuals to join us in demanding justice for the victims and their families. It is only through collective and decisive action that we can bring about meaningful change to prevent such travesties from recurring.

It is ironic that days after the army coup leaders in Niger were publicly celebrated by massive crowds in a stadium, Nigerian army were protested at by crowds of Nigerians at the base. As it stands, more Nigerians have been killed by the Nigerian army under our “democracy” than in the military coup in Niger!

Worse still, when Tinubu promised to continue from where Buhari stopped, little did anyone expect that he would increase fuel price by 300% and the exchange rate of the naira by 100% in barely two months.

The continued killings of innocent citizens by security forces is the trifecta of pain, anguish and hardship unleashed by his “renewed hoax.” With the massacre of 21 people in Barkin Ladi yesterday by suspected Fulani militia plus those killed by the army and others this week, the death toll in Plateau state has now reached 400 in about three months.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Plateau during this difficult time and will continue to advocate against impunity.

Emmanuel Ogebe is a founding member of the Justice for Jos Project of the US NIGERIA LAW GROUP in Washington,DC. Credits: Our Summer Law Associate under our new human rights mentorship program contributed to this press release.

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