The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Army authorities to withdraw, with immediate effect, troops from Nko and Onyedama communities in Cross River State.
The troops were drafted there over a week ago to quell a communal clash.
The NBA alleged that the troops, rather than keeping peace in the community, had resorted to committing wanton brutality, raping of women and destruction of property.
Recall that the state government had, recently, dethroned two traditional rulers and demanded the communities to produce six soldiers feared killed during the communal clash.
The Nko youths allegedly shot an army commander alongside six other soldiers on Saturday evening, accusing them of taking sides with their opponents.
Although the youths had accused soldiers of going from house to house killing residents, the governor in a statement by his Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Linus Obogo, ordered the army to sustain its operation in Nko community until those behind the shooting of the six soldiers were produced.
But, in a statement yesterday, the NBA chairman in Cross River State, Attah Ochinke, and secretary, Eno Edet, called on the GOC of 82 Division, Enugu, to caution the soldiers against reprisal against the villagers.
According to the NBA, “We call on citizens with access to these institutions to intervene to stop the carnage. A scorched earth policy as is presently being conducted is a rebuke to the training and discipline of the Nigerian Army, and an affront to Nigerian law.
“Reprisal by the army, however self-righteous, cannot replace the due process of law.
“We appeal to the governor to countermand or withdraw his instructions to the army to avoid more loss of innocent lives. We urge the state government to revisit and implement the recommendations of the judicial panel of enquiry over the crisis.
“Perhaps this will bring the crisis to an end and save citizens the annual embarrassment and risk that these clashes pose to all of us.”