6 Soldiers: Counter Nigerian Army with facts, not fake news, group replies Igbo intelligentsia

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The Coalition of Civil Rights Group (CCRG) has challenged IPOB-affiliated Eastern Nigeria’s Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition (ENRIC) to back its claim that six soldiers of Igbo extraction were killed with facts. 

According to the coalition, the ENRIC has continued to feed the unsuspecting public ‘fake news’ without substantial evidence to back its case, thus provoking widespread ethnic strife across the country 

The CCRG noted that ENRIC has failed to give the names of the soldiers from another ethnicity that were reportedly exonerated neither has it given the names of the military tribunal that held the court-martial that condemned the said executed soldiers. 

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Executive Director, Kunle Adeyemo, said the move is intended to spike a massive defection from the Army to the “criminal” Eastern Security Network.

Adeyemo added that the allegation is another IPOB propaganda to instigate Nigerians and the international community against the Nigerian Army as an institution.

The coalition, therefore, urged Nigerians and the International community to dismiss the fake news being purveyed by the Eastern Nigeria’s Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition, describing the group as “terrorists masquerading as activists”. 

It also called on the Nigerian Army to approach the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other professional/legal body to report its head, Barrister E.R. Okoroafor for misconduct. 

The Coalition of Civil Rights Group, however, advised the group to desist from its ill-conceived agenda of criminalizing and demonizing the Nigerian Army simply to cause defection to their terrorists Eastern Security Network.

Read the full statement below:

Gentlemen of the press, we have become aware of the ongoing criminal attempts by elements working for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to provoke widespread ethnic strife across the country. They are doing this by giving ethnic colouration to terrorist activities and national issues to consolidate the separatist agenda of the proscribed IPOB.

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The latest of this pro-terrorist campaign is the allegation by an IPOB-affiliated Igbo group called Eastern Nigeria’s Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition that is spreading the fake news that six soldiers of Igbo extraction were executed on the eve of the retirement of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

This coalition, which has International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) in its lead, went ahead to make the harebrained claim that soldiers of other ethnicities were shielded and exonerated from the accusation of weapons theft for which the soldiers of Igbo extraction were allegedly executed.  Intersociety is incidentally the NGO wing of the proscribed IPOB terrorist group, which clearly indicates the direction this attack on the sensibilities of Nigerians is emanating from. 

We find it disheartening that the coalition made up of people parading bogus credentials have not been able to counter the Nigerian Army with concrete proof after it dismissed their claim as FAKE NEWS. All they have done is to keep alleging that soldiers were executed on the eve of General Buratai’s departure from service. They failed to give the names of the soldiers from another ethnicity that were shielded or exonerated neither did they give the names of the military tribunal that held the court-martial that condemned the said executed soldiers. 

In what can at best be described as self-indicting, the coalition quoted one Barrister E.R. Okoroafor, a supposed international human rights lawyer, who was allegedly denied the right to defend his client at the secret trial. Okoroafor was comically aware of the secret trial going on and never raised the alarm for several weeks but instead waited for the phantom soldiers to be executed before tepidly coming out to make his claims. This beggars belief and presents the lawyer as a collaborator assuming the executions took place. But he was able to assume this disposition only because there was no such thing. 

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We have since discovered that this spurious allegation was orchestrated to cause ethnic strife across the country in the long term while the short-term objective is to detract to the treasonable attack on the Nigerian Military by the element of Eastern Security Network, the militant wing of IPOB, which engaged troops in a gun battle in Imo state recently. 

On the surface, dragging General Buratai’s name into this matter tends misleading the unwary observer to conclude that the false accusations are a continuation of IPOB’s tradition of personal attacks on the retired military chief. However, IPOB’s propaganda against General Buratai has never been about his person but rather a roundabout way of undermining the credibility of the Army.

Note that affiliates of this coalition had floated another story earlier that five retired Nigerian soldiers have joined the ranks of Eastern Security Network (ESN). This is part of the attempt to create a sense of disaffection against the military institution while encouraging defection of soldiers of Igbo extraction to defect to ESN and fight for IPOB.

To further stoke ethnic strife, IPOB members took the pain of filming themselves killing cattle and burning the homestead of herders of Fulani ancestry in the hope that there would be retaliation against Igbos in other parts of the country and consequently set off a violent chain reaction that will ground the country in violence. The video was well-publicized, especially on the pro-IPOB Sahara Reporters news site. 

The farcical fake news about the execution of soldiers of Igbo ethnicity is therefore intended to spike a massive defection from the Nigerian Army to the criminal Eastern Security Network after the IPOB terrorists have learnt their lesson that they are no match for a sovereign state.

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We conclude that the so-called coalition of Igbo lying that soldiers were killed because of their ethnicity is nothing but IPOB propaganda to instigate Nigerians and the international community against the Nigerian Army as an institution.

If they truly have proof, we advise them to empower their lawyers to seek appropriate channels to represent their clients instead of using the media to whip up unnecessary sentiments against a national institution like the Army. They should desist from this ill-conceived of criminalizing and demonizing the Nigerian Army simply to cause defection to their terrorists Eastern Security Network.

We, therefore, urge Nigerians and the international community to dismiss the fake news being purveyed by the Eastern Nigeria’s Rights and Intelligentsia Coalition, a group that is nothing but a government-baiting terrorist sympathizing separatists cohort masquerading as activists.  

On its part, the Nigerian Army should approach the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and any other professional/legal association to which Barrister E.R. Okoroafor is affiliated to formally report him for misconduct such that he would be struck off their registers and prevented from further running errands capable of jeopardizing the peace of the country. His ilk should not be allowed to run amok spreading fake news that threatens the stability of the country. The same treatment should be meted out to all the known lawyers in the coalition because they pervert justice.

Thanks for listening. 

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