“The death of Mr. Adams is one extra-judicial killing too many in Edo State. Human life is sacred and so, should not be taken by a fellow human being under whatever guise.”
The Nigeria Army in Edo State has called on the relevant security authorities to probe the circumstances that led to the alleged extra-judicial killing of a voter during the rescheduled All Progressives Congress, APC ward congress election in Edo South District on Saturday.
The Commander of 4 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Benin City, Okwudili Azinta, a Brigadier-General, made the call during a meeting with officials of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and members of some civil society groups in the state.
During the meeting, Mr. Azinta denied any plans by his officials to arrest and detain the Chief Correspondent of National Mirror in Edo State, Sebastine Ebhuomhan.
Mr. Ebhuomhan had petitioned the Edo State government and security agencies in the state over alleged order by Mr. Azenta to arrest and detain him following his report about the killing of a voter identified as Mattew Adams on April 13, 2014 at the Edo South ward congress of the APC.
Family members had claimed that the late Mr. Adams was shot and killed at Isiuwa Primary School in Ward 8 of Ovia North East Local Government Area by a security personnel in Army uniform in a van marked “Operation Thunderstorm 028” during a violent commotion at the election venue.
But speaking during the meeting, Mr. Azinta said his men denied that a soldier released the shot that killed Mr. Adams.
The Army Commander claimed the fatal shot could have come from any person or security agent other than a soldier during the exchange of gunfire at the election venue.
He, however, expressed regrets that his attention was not drawn to the false information about his men, saying all arms and ammunition signed and taken out of the Command on the day of the election were returned with lot and serial numbers intact in the boxes they were supplied.
Besides, Mr. Azinta said the bullets used by the Nigeria Army, if fired within a distance below 300 meters, could not have achieved low impact, like the one that killed late Mr. Adams.
He said he had requested for the spent pellet of the bullet that killed Mr. Adams to ascertain is source, especially as it was still lodged in the deceased head.
“If you look at the picture very well, you will see that the bullet is still in his head. You will also see the mark on his head where it entered. If the ammunition (that of the Nigeria Army) is fired within a distance of 300 meters or less, it will burst the skull of the victim and leave an impact four times more than when it enters the body,” Mr. Azinta said.
In a reaction, a human rights activist and Executive Director, African Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, ANEEJ, David Ugolor, described the incident as one too many, saying he totally condemned all forms of extra-judicial killing in Edo State.
Mr. Ugolor, who said extra judicial killings showed the lack of value for human lives, called on the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to urgently constitute a panel of credible persons to unravel who killed the APC member and why.
“The death of Mr. Adams is one extra-judicial killing too many in Edo State. Human life is sacred and so, should not be taken by a fellow human being under whatever guise. If this death is not probed by the government and security agencies and those responsible prosecuted, it will encourage more deaths like this,” Mr. Ugolor stated.
“ANEEJ hereby calls on the Edo State Governor to immediately probe this death with a view to securing the lives of the people of this state. We further condemn the move by the Army, or any other security agent to harass and intimidate journalists doing their lawful duties with threats of arrest for exposing societal evils.”
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