HOUSE SUMMONS DEFENCE, ARMY CHIEFS OVER ALLEGED KILLING OF BENUE RESIDENTS

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The House of Representatives has summoned the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, and Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, to appear before it over alleged assault on a member of the House, Hon. Kpam Sokpo, residents of Gboko and guests of Old Barn Hotel, Gboko by men of the 401 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army.

The security Chiefs are expected to explain the circumstances behind the unprovoked attack and why these military officers did not carry proper identification or inform the civilians about their mission.

They are to also tell the House the military’s rules of engagement during election monitoring and other engagements with the civilian population, especially considering the extrajudicial killing of two young men in Gboko by the same 401 Special Forces Brigade on March 18, 2023 for alleged ballot snatching.

In addition to this, the House urged the CDS and CAS to commence a comprehensive investigation of the incident (ensuring evidence is obtained from civilian witnesses) with the view to identifying the soldiers that were responsible for this mayhem.

The resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Mark Gbillah at plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion, the lawmaker noted that the operational use of the Armed Forces in Nigeria is for the purpose of maintaining and securing public safety and public order in accordance with Section 8 (3) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The lawmaker expressed concern over the worsening spate of military and police brutality, extra-judicial killings by security operatives on civilians and unarmed Nigerians.

He further expressed concerns over the unfortunate incidence of Saturday, March 18, 2023 at Old Barn Hotel, Gboko, Benue State, where at about 2:30 am, men of the 401 Division of the Nigerian Army viciously assaulted and brutalized several persons and guests.

Adopting the motion, the House condemned the assault and mandated its Committee on Army to ensure compliance with the prayers and report to the House within two weeks for further legislative action.

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