Issue: Urgent Need To Investigate The Murder Of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe And Other Unarmed Civilians By Men Of The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) And The Nigerian Army In Rivers State
By Rep. O. K. Chinda
The House notes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in line with its statutory mandate recently conducted Presidential and National Assembly elections on the 23rd of February, 2019, whilst the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly held on 16th March, 2019.
Also notes that during the said elections, there was palpable presence of heavily armed men of security agencies, including the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the Nigerian Army in several places across the country, including Rivers State, with clear cases of harassment and intimidation of voters and electoral officials, and sporadic shootings by men of the security agencies, with aim to instill fear in the people.
Further notes that there were reports and viral video clips of cases of intimidation, harassment, torture and shooting to death of innocent, unarmed civilian voters by men of FSARS and the Nigerian Army in several parts of Rivers State, including in Bori; Abonnema in Akuku Toru, Bonny, Emohua, Ikwerre and Okrika local Government Areas of Rivers State.
Aware that government owes its citizens the duty of protecting and securing their lives as enshrined in SS.14(2)(b) and 34(1)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), 1999 which states that:
S.14(2)(b) : “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
S.34(1) : “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly
(a) no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Also aware that on or about 9th March, 2019 at the Khana local Government Area Collation centre, Dr. Ferry Gberegbe, a lecturer with the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori in Rivers State was shot in his lower abdomen by men of the FSARS led by ACP Akin Fakorede and he died a few days later from the gun wound. Also, at Degema, one Mrs. Ibisaki Amachree was shot dead by men of the Nigerian Army.
Further aware that the Nigerian Army has no mandate to participate in elections- a purely civil exercise under the provision of S.217(2)(a)-(d) CFRN, 1999 which states the functions of the Armed Forces to be:
(a) “defending Nigeria from external aggression;
(b) maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air;
(c) suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly; and
(d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly”.
Also aware that the provision of S.1(3) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap.A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 provides that “the Armed Forces shall be charged with the defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by land, sea and air and with such other duties as the National Assembly may, from time to time, prescribe or direct by an Act”.
Worried that the recent killings of innocent, unarmed civilians in Rivers State by men of the FSARS and Nigerian Army is one too many in cases of extra-judicial killings across the country and ought to be investigated.
Concerned that the killings if not immediately checked, could lead to anarchy and in turn negatively affect society and cause despondency in the minds of teeming civilian Nigerian masses.
Also concerned that the said killing by men of the FSARS and the Nigerian Army is not only callous and inhuman, but has also adversely affected and reduced the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army before the rest of the world and indeed compromised our National security.
(i) Observe a minute silence in honour of the deceased.
(ii) Condemn very strongly the killing of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe; Mrs. Ibisaki Amachree and scores of others by men of the FSARS led by Akin Fakorede and the Nigerian Army respectively.
(iii) Mandate the House Committees on Army, Human Rights, Justice as well as Police Affairs to investigate the matter and report back to the House within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.