The Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch, Cross River State, has decried Governor Ben Ayade’s directive to the Nigerian Army to sustain the military operation in Nko community.
A statement signed by the branch Chairman, Attah Ochinke, and Secretary, Eno Edet, said “The attention of the Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar Branch, has been drawn to the directive issued to the Nigerian Army by the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, in respect of the army’s operations currently being conducted in Nko and Oyadama communities.
“In a press statement issued by his Deputy Chief Press Secretary, the governor ordered the sustenance of army operation in Nko community until those behind the shooting of six military personnel are produced or fished out.
“While we join the governor in condemning the embarrassing and seemingly intractable communal clashes between these neighbouring communities, we view the directive of the governor to the army to sustain its operations in Nko community as appalling and ill-advised.
“It is common knowledge that the army is currently engaged in a reprisal action against the Nko community over the alleged shooting of six military personnel in the course of the crisis.
“The army is alleged to be currently engaged in indiscriminate shooting, summary execution and rape of hapless citizens in Nko community under the guise of fishing out the perpetrators responsible for the shooting of the military personnel.
“Houses and other properties are being burnt or destroyed by the military in the operation to fish out the culprits. The reprisal attacks are raw vengeance and not an investigation.”
The association noted tha the crises between Nko and Oyadama have become an annual embarrassment to the state.
“We particularly condemn the attack and killing of military personnel drafted to the scene to help bring the situation to order. While the details of the events are awaited, no excuse will justify the shooting of army personnel on a peace keeping operation.