Former Head of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu has stated that top ranking military officers hide the true and actual number of soldiers killed in several operations under their command that are killed.
Odinkalu made the revelation at the media briefing by the Coordinating Committee on the National day of mourning in Abuja.
May 2018, 2018, has been set aside as a National day of Mourning and Remembrance for victims of violence in the country.
Wondering why commanders would play down on the number of their subordinates that died on the battlefield, the human rights activist said, “I don’t understand why people under your command will die and you will lie against their dead bodies” adding, “that the dehumanization suffered by the dead soldiers is unjust
According to the African Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS), an estimated 60,000 persons were killed in Nigeria’s Middle Belt between 2001 and 2016.
Also, in the first 70 days of 2018, over 1,400 persons were killed violently across the country, an average of nearly 40 persons and the Federal Capital Territory.
Extra judicial killings of Nigerians in their thousands in the hands of uniformed services.
Boko Haram continues to terrorize, killing thousands of Nigerians; even as rustlers, bandits and vigilantes, whose preferred currency is blood have taken over part of the North West of the country, including Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwari in Kaduna and much of Zamfara State.
The former Head of the Nigeria’s Human Rights body, who read a press statement signed by Abiodun Baiyewu, Yemi Adamolekun, Ier Ishaver, Auwal Musa for JN=CAC, noted that despite the suppression of information on these killings, it is quite clear that death toll from these killings has risen dramatically in recent times.
While noting that the government was beginning to rationalize the killings as normal, Prof. Odinkalu said the group will soon storm the Unity Fountain in Abuja to protest the violent killings in the country.
For his part, Jaye Gaskia, explained that the planned protest at the “contested terrain” will be between lovers of freedom and those who are opposed to it.
According to Jaye, the protest will be a peaceful one as they have no intention of indulging in any form of violence.
“Nobody goes violent while mourning, there have also been losses on the part of the military,” he quipped.
In her remarks, Nigeria Country Representative, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, noted that with the rate of violence in Nigeria currently, no community is safe anymore.
She said: “Nigeria is like a ship right now and we don’t know when we would sink”, adding that “Every Nigerian and the citizenry was endangered at the moment.”