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Civil Societies, Groups, Petition Buratai’s Appointment

Peter Jerome

Over 44 civil society organizations from Nigeria have petitioned the appointment of Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.) as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic.

The group backed this up with an express petition written to the President of Benin Republic, Patrice Athanase Talon, and Beninese key ambassadors asking them to reject the appointment of the former service chief, listing 19 massacres and human rights violations under the former army chief, adding that he should be made to answer for his war crimes, rather than be given diplomatic immunity.

The letter titled, “Posting Of Retired Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, A Serial Rights Violator, As Nigeria’s Ambassador To Benin Republic: Your Excellencies’ Country Must Watch Her Back And Int’l Reputation,” was copied to Jean-Claude Felix, the Head of Mission, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations, Eusebe Agbangla, Head of Mission, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, and Ambassador Hector Posset, Head of Republic of Benin Mission to the United States.

The letter was also sent to Paulette Marcelline Adjovi-Yekpe, the ambassador of the Republic of Benin in Nigeria.

It partly reads, “Our writing is to draw Your Excellencies’ attention to the posting of Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.), a serial rights violator, as Nigeria’s ambassador to Your Excellencies’ country and to also protest his acceptance by the President of the Republic of Benin, Patrice Talon.

“We had on February 10, 2021, sent strong-worded but appealing letters to 31 key foreign missions in Nigeria, who are mostly the world respected democracies and powerful countries. The petitioned included the Head of Delegation of EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS and the Ambassadors of Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Sweden.

“Others are the High Commissioners of the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada and the Ambassadors of the United States, Israel, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria.

“There are about 19 massacres perpetrated under Buratai as the army chief; they include: (1) the 30 August 2015 massacre of 40 during peaceful protests in Onitsha, Enugu, Yenagoa, Uyo, Port Harcourt and Asaba; two, December 2015 massacre of 30 citizens in Onitsha; three, December 2015 massacre of no fewer than 1000 unarmed Shiite Muslims during their religious processions in Zaria.

“Also, the 2016 starvation to death of 240 civilian detainees including 29 children with ages between newborn and five years at Giwa Army Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State (Amnesty International report, 2016); January 2017 massacre of 20 unarmed protesters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“October 2018 massacre of 47 Shiite Muslims in Abuja; October 20 massacre of over 20 protesters in Lekki, Lagos State; October and November 2020 massacre by an army of some 120 in Obigbo, Rivers State.”

The civil societies include International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Concerned Elites for Better Society Initiative, International Society for War Against Lawlessness (USA), Human Rights Social Dev and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF), Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, Foundation for Environment Rights Advocacy & Dev. and Human Rights Organization of Nigeria.

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