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Rights group takes govt to court over Nimbo massacre


Solomon Arase

Solomon Arase

• Demands N100bn compensation
• IGP issues directives on town hall meetings

A new dimension was added to the Nimbo massacre during which scores of residents of Uzo Uwani, Enugu State, were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen as a Non-Governmental Organisation, Human Rights and Empowerment Projects Ltd, has dragged the Federal Government to court over what it called “a violation of the rights” of the victims.

President Muhammadu Buhari, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the Inspector General of Police, are among the respondents in the matter.

The development came on the heels of a directive by the IGP, Solomon Arase, to all Police Commands across the country, to convene town hall meetings to find solutions to the mounting internal security challenge.

A statement issued yesterday by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Olabisi Kolawole said the Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) would coordinate the process that would bring relevant stakeholders in the various communities across the country together to fashion out ways to resolve the skirmishes.

Francis Muoneke, counsel to the applicants, filed the case with suit number FHC/EN/CS/59/2016 yesterday before Justice Rosemary Dugbo Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court sitting at Enugu. It has been slated for hearing on May 16th 2016.

The reliefs sought by the group, among others, include a declaration that the killings of innocent citizens in Nimbo amounts to violation of the right to life of those involved and a declaration that failure of the respondents to protect the lives and property of the victims, amounts to a direct liability on the part of the respondents.

The group also called on the respondents to identify all the victims of the attack for purposes of paying adequate compensation to their families and also sought an order compelling them to pay the sum of N100 billion as compensation to be shared amongst the families of the identified victims of the attack.

It further called on the court to compel the respondents to thoroughly investigate the killings with a view to apprehend and prosecute the culprits.

In the same vein, town unions in the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria, operating under the aegis of Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) have called on the Federal Government to assist the Enugu State Government in compensating the affected families.

The unions made the call through a statement jointly signed by the zonal chairman and secretary, Chief Emeka Diwe and Mr Paully Eze, respectively and commended Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for “the maturity he exhibited in handling the attack”

The unions condemned in its entirety the attack and other “unwarranted rampant killings, kidnapping, raping and wanton destruction of farm crops in the North Central and Southern parts of Nigeria” by suspected herdsmen.

While commiserating with the state government and families of those who lost their lives in the carnage, the unions warned that they will “no longer tolerate further attacks on our people by these terrorists who disguise themselves as herdsmen.”

Olabisi in the statement said, “The move is to address specifically the misinformation, anxiety and animosity being generated in relation to the current security challenges associated with local communities and herdsmen.

“That the IGP directed that the proposed meetings should be held at State and Area Commands as well as at Divisional levels, to enhance the process of reassurance policing and need for peaceful coexistence and sensitivity of each community’s value, space and interest.”

Meanwhile, another rights group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has faulted the approach being used by security operatives, saying the mechanism put in place are not the best global practices in tackling the menace.

It said the Nimbo attack is a clear demonstration of the classical failure and collapse of law enforcement mechanisms in Nigeria, adding that the failure of the authorities to take action to punish or prosecute the top hierarchy of the armed security forces on ground in Enugu State for criminal negligence resulting in deaths is in itself a crime against humanity.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the sacred norms binding us together as human beings in the global community of human race is the constitution, stressing that this constitution has been abused with reckless abandon by security officers who went to bed whilst comfortably creating conducive atmospheres for suspected armed marauders to embark on systematic nationwide mass killings of horrendous scales which has now affected all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

“HURIWA hereby rejects the half hearted and insufficient measures adopted by the police IGP in the wake of the dare devil genocide of Nimbo, Uzo Uwani people of Enugu State by suspected armed Fulani terrorists.

“We are not satisfied with the total lack of political will on the side of the government in clinically and forensically directing prompt actions by all arms of the armed security forces to arrest and prosecute competently the masterminds and perpetrators of these heinous crimes not only in Enugu but also in Agatu, Benue State,” he said.

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