Igbo group drags IGP to UN, ICC for shoot-at-sight order

Igbo group drags IGP to UN, ICC for shoot-at-sight order

The shoot-at-order order issued by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to police officers in the South East has been described as horrifying, frightening, and unutterable in a democracy by Nzuko Umuna, a leading socio-cultural association of Igbo professionals. The group, which spoke at a world press conference in Abuja on Monday, said the IGP issued the directive in Enugu on May 18, when he launched Operation Restore Peace in the Southeast. Insisting that compliance with such a directive would result in human rights violations and a total breakdown of law and order in the region, the group said it had notified the international community, specifically the International Criminal Court.

In a statement signed by the Chairman of its Legal Committee, Dr. Sam Amadi, Nzuko Umunna urged the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to investigate and take proactive preventive measures to avert extrajudicial killings in the South East. The statement, a copy of which was provided to Vanguard, stated in part: “According to multiple newspaper, television, and social media reports, the Inspector General declared the following on May 18, 2021, while launching Operation Restore Peace in Southeast in Enugu:

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“Don’t worry about the media yelling; just do the job I’ve given you. If you are accused of violating human rights, the report will come to my desk, and you know what I will do. So, wherever they are, take the fight to them and kill them all. “Don’t sit and wait for them to come; take the attack to them and don’t lose your arms to criminals.” In a democracy with entrenched constitutional rights to life and due process, we find this statement horrifying, frightening, and unutterable.

“We are even more surprised that the head of the Nigerian Police will make such an outrageous statement authorizing state violence in a region that has long been enraged by police brutality, with a large number of its youths being extra-judicially killed by security agents. This statement sends shivers down the spines of residents of the southeast because it implies a declaration of war by the Nigerian state against them, and it conjures images of gruesome murders like the infamous ‘Python Dance’ in the southeast. “There have already been credible reports of numerous extrajudicial killings in the southeast. How many more lives will be lost if soldiers and police officers believe there will be no accountability for all forms of impunity and atrocity in the southeast? We understand the government’s frustration with the country’s insecurity crisis and the recent spate of attacks on law enforcement personnel and state security institutions, infrastructure, and assets. Nzuko Umunna fully supports efforts to protect the lives and property of Nigerians in the South East and elsewhere in Nigeria in accordance with constitutional norms and global standards of law enforcement.

“We categorically condemn attacks on police officers and other law enforcement agents in the South East, South-South, South West, North Central, North East, and North West. We urge the Nigeria Police to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such heinous and criminal acts against law and order, as well as to use all legitimate force to prevent such attacks.

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“However, the painful loss of life of men and officers under one’s command is no justification for the Nigerian police chief’s indiscriminate and vicious use of state violence against Nigerian citizens in the South East. Such rash statements reveal a determination to punish Nigerian citizens in the region and deprive them of constitutional due process protection. By holding this press conference, we give the National Human Rights Commission notice to begin an investigation into the Inspector General of Police’s statement and to take proactive preventive measures to prevent extrajudicial killings in the South East.

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