By Paul Ikechukwu Njoku
As a human rights activist and a full participant of the ongoing #ENDSARS protest in Nigeria, I make bold to say that the cowardly Nigerian Army notorious for lack of balls and testicular fortitude to dare defeat the nefarious ongoing boko haram terrorism, Fulani militia and banditry ravaging Nigeria especially in the Northern region of the nation, have seemingly and shamelessly planned, proposed and orchestrated ruthlessness to arrest, obstruct, intimidate, illegally detain, recklessly shoot, incarcerate, slaughter, maim and brutalise the defenceless and peaceful protesters otherwise the Nigerian people who are calmly protesting across the Nigerian regions and States demanding to end police ruthless brutality, intimidation, harassment, killings and unbearable extortions amongst others.
The Army has technically announced this illness via the illegal instrumentality of what they tag as: “Operation Crocodile Smile” against the peaceful protesters who are simply demonstrating for a better life, better economic institutions with a guaranteed true fiscal federalism and for the Buhari-led government to end the incessant but immoral police brutality, unbridled extortion, economic rape, insecurity and sensless killings of citizens.
These killings are sadly perpatrated by those who are remunerated and paid with Nigerian tax payers’ money to protect and defend Nigerians.
Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo made an apologetic social media post that caught the attention of some quarters but a man in the Army Head Quarters cancelled it and instituted an operation crocodile announcement hence highlighted a technical formation of ruthless and brutal force against Nigerians contrary to the United Nations and African Union Charter on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms which Nigeria is absolutely signatory to.
The Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, have openly pleged loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari than the Nigerian constitution. He has murdered his oath of office and utterly refuse to defend the constitution.
Buhari’s Chief of Army Staff is scripted by the Buhari government to use brutal force on the peaceful protesters who are far from the status of non-state actors. This is unacceptable and unconstitutional.
General Buratai and his Principal should not attempt setting ugly precedence in world history.
Is Mr. President and General Buratai not aware that the so called “Operation Crocodile Smile” was declared illegal by the court of competent jurisdiction following legal actions filed by Mr. Femi-Falana, SAN?
Oh! the Chief of Army Staff is not yet aware that the Federal High Court in July 2020, granted a perpetual injunction restraining the Nigerian Army from from such exercise in Femi-Falana Falana v Chief of Army Staff (FHV/L/CS/1939/19)? Why are they playing on our collective sensibilities?
It is on record that the reports of allegations on extrajudicial killings, extortions and other atrocities perpetuated by the police and other security agencies in Nigeria have been ignored.
Panels of Enquiry instituted by the President in 2018 to probe rights abuses have not been published till now. Petitions submitted to the police authorities were constantly ignored.
Amnesty International, Abuja Office, was invaded by sponsored thugs for raising issues of rights abuses.
United Nations directed the Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions which its findings were also ignored by the Buhari government.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) probe of SARS excesses were deeply ignored too. I can go on and on.
However, the plan to deploy soldiers in the street is dangerous. Mr. President must stop sending combatant signals to the military on civil matters as peaceful protests are the only way Nigerians are entitled under the constitution to register their grievances against bad governance.
We are not afraid of the crocodile threats neither shall we bow to the intimidation and immoral absolutism formed by the biased, corrupt and incompetent Nigerian security agents including the Army.
Nigerian Army and the police remain insensitive to the plight of Nigerians even as the corrupt Nigerian system treats them and their respective families like unwanted pandemic and impoverished slaves.
Despite the historic mass killings of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and Sh’ites Islamic Movement by the Nigerian Army which is yet to be properly investigated and prosecuted, we shall not subject ourselves to be cowered.
Our security agents do arrest people on daily basis and extrajudicially kill them for mere outfit measurement and physical appearance.
They kill fellow Nigerians for being covered in tattoos and wearing gold chains and in possession of iPhones. They shoot and watch Nigerians bleed to death.
They murder, laugh to scorn and collectively record the dying victims with their phones.
To our security agents, anyone who looks prosperous is guilty of being a criminal and perhaps shot to death. They judge and pass death sentences to anyone whilst the Nigerian government looks the other way in complicity and pretence.
They are ruthless and heartless. They kill and utterly refuse to release the corpses of those killed to their families for proper funeral.
They are beasts, monsters and bloodsucking angels from the pit of hell. They are demons in human form. Nigerian lives do not matter to them.
I therefore call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague and other relevant international institutions to be wary of the pending and looming pogroms planned by the Nigerian Army against civil liberties of the Nigerian people.