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Army breached Geneva Convention during Rivers elections, says Briggs

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Soldiers block with truck and armoured tank the road leading to the state headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on March 10, 2019. – Fears has gripped residents of oil-rich Port Harcourt city in Niger delta region as state headquarters of Independent National Electoral Commission has been condoned off by dozens of fierce looking soldiers, anti-riots policemen and other complementary security agents who are jointly patrolling the city ahead of the much awaited results of the just concluded governorship and state assembly elections. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Medical Director of the Akuku-Toru Health Centre in Rivers State, Dr. Aluye Briggs, has accused the Nigerian Army of breaching the Geneva Convention of 1949.

He argued that military personnel breached the convention by humiliating and torturing medical personnel who rendered medical assistance to gunshot victims during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers State.

He stated this before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the killings, kidnapping and other crimes during the February 23 and March 9, 2019 elections in the state.

Briggs told the Justice Monima Danagogo-led Commission that military officers dehumanised him and his colleagues, while treating victims of election violence at Abonnema.

He said he received a call at 7am from one of the nurses that some persons with gunshot injuries were brought to the health centre.

“And because of the sporadic shootings by the military and political thugs that claimed over 40 lives in Abonnema, it took me over one hour to arrive at the health facility.

“My team and I treated several persons with bullet wounds on that fateful day. And at 5:05pm, Army personnel invaded the health facility asking of the whereabouts of criminals.

“They started breaking the doors, threatening to shoot me and they gave me military slap, tore my clothes and used their military boots to hit my waist. We were dehumanised.

“They took us in their Hilux van to Bori Camp (6 Division). When we got there, we were ordered to sit on the floor. I was questioned on why I should treat them. I told them doctors are not to segregate, be it religious affiliation, political, tribes,” he stated.

Briggs added that the Army arrested him and his other colleagues and detained them for 73 hours due to pressure from the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).

Meanwhile, the panel probing the May 11, 2018 attack on the Rivers State judiciary has summoned Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, his running mate in 2015, Asita O. Asita and factional chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree over their alleged role in the incident.

Dakuku and other APC chieftains’ invitation followed allegations by Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government, Samuel Nwanosike, that he (Dakuku), who was the state’s APC gubernatorial candidate in 2015, led the thugs who sealed up the judiciary complex and destroyed property worth millions of Naira.

The Justice S. C Amadi-led commission had summoned Dakuku, Asita and Flag-Amachree to appear before the commission on Thursday as witnesses, but Dakuku has denied the allegations.


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