The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Makurdi Branch, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order probe into the invasion of Konshisha and Gwer East local government areas of Benue State.
The appeal was contained in a statement yesterday in Makurdi by its branch chairman, Justin Gbagir.
The Defence Headquarters had claimed that unknown men killed an Army captain and 11 soldiers on Achoho-Oju road in Konshisha.
According to the Defence Headquarters, the soldiers were on special operation to bring peace to the warring communities of Bonta and Okpute.
But, Gbagir appealed to President Buhari to urgently caution the military and order investigation into the invasion of the two local government areas.
He said the military had on April 7 and April 8 invaded eight communities in Konshisha and Gwer East local government areas, killing and destroying property worth billions of naira.
Gbagir named the communities as including Bonta, Gungul, Adoka, Guleya, Agidi, Gbinde, Agune in Konshisha and Mbayase of Ullam in Gwer-East Local Government Area.
He said NBA condemned the killing of innocent people in whatever guise by either the security operatives or civilians.
“Consequently, we are worried given the explanations offered by the military on the assignment of the military officers and the length and the depth the operation nosedived and the armoury employed on helpless civilians.
“We call on President Buhari and the Military High Command to conduct an investigation into the real intent of the operation, which has brought in a load of humanitarian crisis that left innocent citizens homeless.
“The incident also led to the destruction of foodstuffs, economic trees and alleged loss of human lives.
“This is one destructions too many, which fuels the thinking that it is premeditated, properly planned and executed with the agenda to decimate and exterminate the Tivs,” he said.
Gbagir questioned the operational guidelines issued to the officers on the said rescue mission of the missing soldiers as they were currently destroying villages and killing people in areas outside the scene of the act.
“If this was actually the mission of these officers as designated by their superiors, then switching the touch pads of the trigger on helpless communities outside the warring areas of Bonta and Okpute is a matter of concern.
“This also leads to solemn contemplation as to the real motive of the Army.
“We further lament the brazen, uncivil, beastly and commando approach of the Nigerian Army on the lives and properties of the communities.”
According to the branch chairman, the NBA would continue to respect the rule of law and promote the sanctity of human life in the country.
“The proper thing to do in an allegation of crime is for the accused/perpetrator as the case may be to go through the full procedure of criminal trials as provided under the country’s law,’’ he said.
He appealed to the Benue Government to urgently provide shelter and relief materials to the affected communities.