NBA sets up fact-finding team over Oyigbo killings
A fact-finding team has been set up by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Thursday for Oyigbo in Rivers State following reports of alleged reprisal killing of suspected members of the proscribed indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the military.
The four-man team comprises NBA lst Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins; two former NBA Port-Harcourt branch Chairmen, Victor Frank-Briggs and Anthonia Osademe; and a former NBA Ukwa branch Chairman, Chimaroke Elie.
NBA President Olumide Akpata in a statement released on his Twitter handle said team the would visit Oyigbo and conduct an inquiry into the events in the area,” and the findings published.
Recall that the Rivers State Government imposed a 24-hour curfew on the entire Oyigbo Local Government Area on October 21, 2020 following the killing of six soldiers and four policemen, and the destruction of court buildings during the EndSARS protests.
According to Governor Nyesom Wike, IPOB, which is seeking independence for Igbo parts of Southern Nigeria, was responsible for the violence.
Akpata said in the wake of the reports of extra-judicial killings and rights violations, he enquired about the situation from the Chairmen of the Ukwa and Port Harcourt Branches of the NBA (the two branches closest to Oyigbo).
“Whilst the Chairmen of the two branches expressed concern over the situation, they however informed me that they were yet to conduct an on-the-spot assessment owing to the curfew imposed on the area by the State Government to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“In a separate telephone conversation with the Governor of Rivers State, H. E. Nyesom Wike, he categorically denied ordering any such shooting as rumoured, but acknowledged clashes between men of the Nigerian military and some suspected lPOB members in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State.
“The Governor further explained that the curfew imposed on the area was borne out of necessity and assured me that it would be lifted yesterday, 3rd November 2020. l have now confirmed that the curfew has indeed been lifted and that residents of the area are now able to go about their lawful activities.”
Akpata reiterated the NBA’s position that respect for the fundamental rights “is non-negotiable and can only be derogated from in instances permitted by the Constitution or other laws.”