The Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna), has condemned the naming of the newly-established Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies of the Ebonyi State University after the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai.
Concise News reports that ICCA describes the approval given by the Ebonyi State Government to name the newly established institute after Buratai as “a disgraceful and ill-advised decision that spits on the graves of Nigerians who have been killed by the army under Buratai”.
Recall that Col. Sagir Musa, the Army spokesman, had in a statement, quoted the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Chigozie Egbu, as saying the university was naming its newly-established Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies after the Chief of Army Staff, for his selfless service to the nation and humanity.
According to Musa, the Vice Chancellor states this when he led a team from the university on a courtesy visit to Buratai in Abuja recently.
The VC, during the visit, disclosed that the state governor and the State Executive Council had approved that the institute be named “Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies”.
However, the President of the socio-cultural and political group, Chief Ugochukwu Okoro, insists that the Army failed in its duties under Buratai.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Ahaoma Kanu, reads: “It is incomprehensible and unconscionable that a serving governor will take the very inhumane decision to name a building after a man whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent Nigerians killed in broad daylight by Nigeria Army soldiers under the command of a despicable officer like Buratai who not only has blood on his hands but pungently oozes of corruption and has failed in his duties as the Chief of Army Staff as his tenure can only be described as a total failure.
“Governor Dave Umahi has shown, by his decision to solely select Buratai, his short-sightedness in selecting honourable Nigerians dead or alive that would have been more befitting to wear the honour of selfless service to humanity more appropriately.”
The socio-cultural group states that from the vague reasons given by the Ebonyi government why Buratai was selected to be honoured, it shows that the governor and the Executive Council failed to take into consideration the actions of the Nigerian Army under Buratai.
“We find it unbelievable that the Ebonyi State government wants to reward failure; cloth dishonour with honour; encourage the indiscriminate killing of the innocent citizens by the Nigeria Army or tell the world that Ebonyi rewards bloodshed.
“Does it mean that during the selection discussion that the Executive Council failed to look into the human rights records of the Nigeria Army under the leadership of Buratai? Have they forgotten so soon that just some six months ago the Army under the command of Buratai killed 42 Shiite Muslims in Abuja; the gruesome lethal attack on protesting Nigerian citizens some of which was captured on video.
“Has Governor Umahi and the Executive Council of Ebonyi forgotten that on December 12, 2015, the Nigeria Army killed 348 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria with 347 bodies buried in secret. Are they not aware that the Judicial Commission for Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government in January 2016 under the chairmanship of Justice Mohammed Garba, presiding justice of Court of Appeal, found the army gunned down 348 Shiites and urged for prosecution?
“How can Governor Umahi and his Executive Council forget that about 150 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were killed in a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions by the Nigeria Army under the command of Buratai between August 2015 and August 2016?
“Does it mean that Gov. Umahi and his Executive Council have forgotten Operation Python Dance; the infamous military exercise that left over 100 Igbo youths dead? What inspiration did the Ebonyi Governor see in a man that has questionable properties obviously acquired through proceeds from corrupt acts in the United Arab Emirates, and who, under his leadership, horrendous calamity is constantly befalling officers and men of the Nigeria Army under his command?
“Is Gov. Umahi aware that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in December 2018 indicted the Nigeria Army under Buratai for committing war crime varying from murder, torture, and intentionally attacking the civilian population?
“We beg to ask Gov. Umahi which face of Buratai that has a resemblance of humanity for which he is been honoured.
“There are several families across the South East that are still mourning; there are families that have lost breadwinners in Kaduna; there are many youths whose lives have been cut short by the orders of Gen. Buratai and yet Gov. Umahi chose to name a building after him in Ebonyi State to be a constant reminder to the families that lost loved ones in the South East of the pain they feel and are still feeling.
“If Gov. Umahi had truly wanted to name a building after a deserving Nigerian, dead or alive, perhaps Late Gani Fawehinmi would have been more befitting to have his name on that building; or maybe coming home to the Ndigbo, Late Dr Dozie Ikedife name would have stood tall on that building; or if he needed to give that honour to a soldier who has given great service to the nation, then no other would have been more appropriate than late Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Abu Ali who paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of this nation. Late Col. Ali represents everything Burutai isn’t.
“Maybe, having that building named after Mrs Josephine Agwu, who returned a large sum of money at a national airport would have gone a long way to show our children that integrity has many rewards.
“Naming such a building after Buratai is shameful, immoral and condemnable.
“We are therefore calling on Governor Dave Umahi to immediately strip Gen Buratai of that honour and look for a more worthy Nigerian to bestow it on. Having the name of a man who ordered for the death of our brothers, sisters, fathers and children is shows a direct disconnect the government has with the pains and anguish of the people.”