Nko-Onyadama Crisis: NBA Berate Ayade Over Sustenance Of Force In Nko, Sue For Peace

In Breaking News, CrossRiverWatch TV, Podcast, Reports

By Patrick Obia

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The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Calabar branch has berated the orders of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River over the sustenance of military operations in the Nko community until suspects who allegedly shot the six military personnel are produced.

Governor Ayade had in a press release signed by his Deputy Press Secretary, Mr. Linus Obogo, dethroned and de-certified Chiefs of Nko, Onyadama, and all other traditional rulers in the two warring communities.

NBA in a statement signed by its Chairman, Barrister Attah Ochinke expressed worries and called on Gov. Ayade, President Mohammadu Buhari, and authorities of the Nigerian Army to withdraw their men.

The association added that the use of force has never been the best way in settling conflicts, hence, there is a need to explore other civil avenues.

The statement reads in parts: “While we join the Governor in condemning the embarrassing and seemingly intractable communal clashes between these neighboring communities, we view the directive of the Governor to the Army to sustain its operations in the Nko community as appalling, and ill-advised. It is common knowledge that the Army is currently engaged in a reprisal action against the Nko community over the alleged shooting of six military personnel in the course of the crisis.

“The Army is alleged to be currently engaged in indiscriminate shooting, summary execution, and rape of hapless citizens in Nko community under the guise of fishing out the perpetrators responsible for the shooting of the military personnel. Houses and other properties are being burnt or destroyed by the military in the operation to fish out the culprits. The reprisal attacks are raw vengeance and not an investigation.

“We note that the crisis between Nko and Oyadama has become an annual embarrassment to the State. We particularly condemn the attack and killings of military personnel drafted to the scene to help bring the situation to order. While the details of the events are awaited, no excuse will justify the shooting of Army personnel on a peacekeeping operation. The law of armed conflicts, even in international scenarios, views attacks on peacekeepers as a heinous crime.

“However, we are appalled that the Governor, with a mandate for law and order in the State, responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of all Cross Riverians, will urge the sustenance of reprisal attacks on hapless villagers. We know that those that have been killed, wounded, or raped in these reprisal attacks are not necessarily the perpetrators of the attack on the soldiers. The victims of the reprisal attacks are citizens in the wrong place and time without regard to their culpability. At this stage, the Governor should be reining in the Army and bringing the reprisal attack to an end.

“We urge the commanders of the military units involved, the GOC of 82 Division, Enugu, the Chief of Army Staff, and ultimately, President Mohammadu Buhari, our Commander in Chief, to call the soldiers to order, and bring the situation under control. We call on citizens with access to these institutions to intervene to stop the carnage. A scorched earth policy as is presently being conducted is a rebuke to the training and discipline of the Nigerian Army, and an affront to Nigerian Law.”


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