The Nigerian Army has decried continuous and unfounded claims by the Campaign for Democracy and other bodies in the South East alleging that 2, 000 Igbo youths of IPOB and MASSOB were killed in several conflagrations in the area.
Disclosing that several investigative panels have been set up to investigate the wild allegations and found such to be untrue, the 82 division of the Army said it was prepared to partake in an independent investigation of the allegations by authorities in the South East, to put the matter to rest.
A statement in this regard by Col Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public relations said, “The attention of Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army has again been drawn to an unjustified, invidious and over flogged accusation, this time, by the Campaign for Democracy (CD) of “Mass killings of Igbo Youths by the Nigerian Army”.
“This allegation is contained in a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary, CD in Onitsha, Anambra State and published on Thursday 5 January, 2017 by an online publication and social media platform by the name Daily Post”.
“In the statement, the CD claimed that “No fewer than 2000 Igbo Youths had been killed by the Nigerian Army under the guise of Rules of Engagement”.
“Recall that on Wednesday and Thursday 23 – 24 November 2016, page 34, the Vanguard Newspaper published a story about Amnesty International report that indicted Nigerian Security Forces in the “killing of No Fewer Than 150 Peaceful Pro Biafra Protesters” in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
“Also, the Daily Sun of Thursday 24 November 2016, Page 10, subtitled “Military Killed 150 Pro-Biafra Protesters – Amnesty” and Saturday Sun Newspaper of 26 November 2016, Page 42, had published a story captioned “Biafra: We Lost 2000 Members Not 150 Says MASSOB, IPOB”.
“These story lines are referring to the encounter between the Nigerian Army and MASSOB/IPOB protesters between August 2015 and August 2016.
“All these have been severally and thoroughly refuted in many media platforms by the Nigerian Army and it is the same position that this rejoinder has soundly adopted.
“For emphasis and clarity, the Nigerian Army as an accountable, morally and professionally sound organization had variously through its Human Rights Desk at the Army Headquarters, painstakingly investigated allegations of rights violations and the results indicated specifically that this claim is false, malicious and should therefore be ignored for the sake of Nigeria.
“Instructively, the Nigerian Army under its constitutional authorization to aid civil authority and military aid to civil power must continue to act in the best interest of the nation (in collaboration with other security agencies) to de-escalate violence and checkmate security threats across the nation.
“This task must be done, despite the sordid propaganda and possible politicization of the issue by ill meaning Nigerians.
“Finally, looking at the recurrent posture of this allegation, the 82 Division Nigerian Army wishes to state that relevant authority and authorities in the South East are at liberty to set up an inquiry into this accusation with the view to getting to the roots and end of this obnoxious and unfounded claim.”