Leaders of the Tiv community in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State on Wednesday appeared before the National Human Right Commission to narrate how soldiers, attached to a plant of the Dangote Cement, killed seven of their youths. According to the Tiv leaders, the youths, including a lady, lost their lives when the soldiers shot indiscriminately at unarmed members of the community who were protesting against
the earlier shooting of one of them –Terhile Jirbo. The Tiv leaders’ delegation, acting under the aegis Concerned Gboko Indigenes, were led by the Deputy Chairman of Gboko Local Government Area, Bem Nenge, and their lawyer, Yandev Amaabai. They presented a petition to officials of the NHRC, in which they accused the army of extra-judicial killings in their community. Speaking while presenting the petition to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof Bem Angwe, Amaabai explained that the killings took place after a youth, Jirbo, was shot in the mouth by the soldiers when he refused to eat his excrement, as allegedly ordered by one of the soldiers stationed at the cement plant. Noting that the incident was among a series of atrocities perpetrated against the Tiv by soldiers, he urged the NHRC to ensure that the culprits paid for their crime. Amabaai said, “It all began when one young man, Terhile Jirbo, went to defecate in a bush around the company and one of the soldiers demanded he remove his feaces with the use of his mouth. “It was the inability of the young man to comply with this obviously unlawful ‘order’ that infuriated the soldier, who shot him in the mouth with an AK 47 assault rifle. “The victim is being attended to in a private hospital in Gboko.” “It was well after the severally wounded young man was taken to the hospital that aggrieved youths, who started protesting, were directly shot at by the soldiers attached to DIL, Gboko Plant. “Seven defenceless, unarmed youths, including a young lady, were cut down in their prime, while several others, with varying degrees of injuries are being treated in various hospitals in Gboko.” The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Angwe, assured the elders that the commission would investigate the allegation. “The Commission will take up this case, investigate all the allegations and ensure that justice is done,” he said. Angwe explained that the NHRC will begin its investigation by first, ascertaining who authorised the deployment of soldiers to a private company, and the reason behind such deployment.