The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the National Assembly to establish an independent investigative commission to probe the use of firearms.
HURIWA said the National Assembly should ensure that the commission is manned by tested and trusted forensic scientists and analysts.
The rights group was reacting to concerns raised over the invasion of Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemi also known as Igboho’s residence in Ibadan by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Following the invasion, DSS paraded several weapons alongside charms allegedly found in his house.
But, Igboho, who denied owning the guns, insisted that he protected himself the traditional way.
Reacting, HURIWA pointed out that DSS had carried out many clandestine and late hour operations since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that graphically painted Nigeria as a Banana Republic that has no constitutional democracy in place.
The rights group said such unconstitutional operations by law enforcement officers may embolden kidnappers and men of the underworld to further escalate their daredevil attacks on unsuspecting members of the public.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group said it may be difficult to decipher which of these attackers are legitimate law enforcement officers and which are men of the underworld.
HURIWA said: “Concerned by the reports emanating from the purported invasion of the Ibadan home of the Yoruba nation activist Mr Sunday Igboho by armed operatives that were several hours later identified as officers of the Department of State Services (DSS), a call has gone to the National Assembly to create an independent investigative commission on the use of firearms by security forces to be manned by tested and trusted forensic scientists and analysts.
HURIWA maintained that “these kinds of clandestine operations conducted by DSS and all other arms-bearing government institutions must come under the investigative authority of an independent body that would within a short period of time, use scientific means to determine if the security forces used their firearms in compliance with the laws and the rules of engagement.”
The statement reads partly: “HURIWA has also asked that in the time being before such an institutional mechanism can be actualized in Nigeria, the National Assembly should investigate the invasion of the home of Sunday Igboho because as it is now, there are doubts amongst millions of Nigerians regarding the transparency of that exercise and there’s the need for accountability which the DSS can not on their own give since nobody should be a prosecutor and a judge in its own case.
“We strongly recommend the observation by the armed security forces of the recommended rules on the use of firearms as set out by the office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of the United Nations Human Rights Council. These Special provisions are that;
“Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.
“In the circumstances provided for under principle 9, law enforcement officials shall identify themselves as such and give a clear warning of their intent to use firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed, unless to do so would unduly place the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a risk of death or serious harm to other persons, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstances of the incident.”