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Obasanjo’s Bombshell: Group Petitions UN over Training of Killer’s Squad

Ayo Balogun, Lagos

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a petition to the the United Nations, UN, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions to compel the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government to halt any alleged training of snipers for political purposes.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

SERAP’s petition followed allegation last week by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo who accused the government of Jonathan of training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha, and training them where Abacha trained his own killers.

The organization called for the investigation of the allegation and for whoever is involved to be brought to justice.

The petition, signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP Executive Director, reads in part: “We are seriously concerned that the allegation, if true, amounts to a grave  breach of international law, and directly undermines the government’s responsibility to safeguard the safely and security of the citizens. It also constitutes an assault on the rule of law, and is entirely inconsistent with the practice of a democratic society, which Nigeria strives to become.”

“The government has a particular responsibility to protect all citizens and others resident in the country against human rights violations. The right to life is widely regarded as the supreme right. The training of snipers will invariably lead to a pervasive climate of insecurity and the absence of the rule of law.”

The petition added that the legal right to life and protection against extrajudicial execution is recognized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party, saying that Article 6 of the Covenant states that “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” This right is non-derogable even in times of emergency.”

The organization therefore urged the Special Rapporteur to thoroughly investigate the allegations, and to ask the Nigerian government to halt the training of snipers and other armed personnel as the continuation of this will be inimical to the citizens’ protection of their right to life and other associated human rights.

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