The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has accused the Army of rape and human rights violations in the Nko and Onyedama communities of Cross River State.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the NBA chairman in Cross River, Attah Ochinke, and secretary, Eno Edet, which called on the GOC of 82 Division, Enugu to caution the soldiers against reprisal against the villagers.
Furthermore, the association urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw the troops, in order to forestall further mayhem.
Two traditional leaders were recently deposed by Governor Ben Ayade, who also asked that the communities produce six soldiers who were thought to have died in the communal fighting.
On Saturday night, the Nko youth allegedly shot an army commander along with six other soldiers, accusing them of siding with their rivals.
The governor ordered the army to continue its operation in the Nko neighborhood until those responsible for the shooting of the six soldiers were produced, despite the fact that the teenagers had accused soldiers of going from house to house killing locals.
In its statement, the NBA said, “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.
“Reprisal by the army, however self-righteous, cannot replace the due process of law.
“We appeal to the governor to countermand or withdraw his instructions to the army to avoid more loss of innocent lives. We urge the state government to revisit and implement the recommendations of the judicial panel of enquiry over the crisis.
“Perhaps this will bring the crisis to an end and save citizens the annual embarrassment and risk that these clashes pose to all of us.”
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