Human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana SAN, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission on the January 17, 2017 killings of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Rann, Borno State which killed dozens of civilians.
The request was contained in a petition and addressed to the Executive Secretary of NHRC.
Falana in the petition asked the NHRC to investigate the killings which occurred after a Nigerian Air Force jet was reported to have bombed a camp in Rann, Borno State, where thousands of families displaced during the offensive against Boko Haram militants were sheltering.
He, however, added that the incident was not reported to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) which is saddled with the responsibility of investigating aircrafts incidents in Nigeria.
The petition reads in parts;
“On January 17, 2017, dozens of people were killed while several others were injured after a Nigerian Air Force jet was reported to have bombed a camp in Rann, Borno State, where thousands of families displaced during the offensive against Boko Haram militants were sheltering.
“A non-governmental organisation, Medicins Sans Frontieres, said its staff in the area had seen at least 200 people wounded and 50 dead following the bombing and expected the death toll to rise.
“But the chairman of Kale-Balge Local Government Area, Babagana Malarima, said, ‘We buried 234 persons in Rann after the bombs were dropped on the IDP camp. We have two other injured persons that died while in the hospital in Maiduguri.’
“Instead of reporting the tragic incident to the Accident Investigation Bureau which is saddled with the responsibility of investigating aircraft accidents in Nigeria, the authorities of the Nigerian Air Force decided suo motu to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the bombing of the IDP camp.
“Although the report of the inquiry was not made public, the Nigerian Air Force blamed the bombing of the camp on an accident. In a statement credited to the NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Olatunkubo Adesanya, it was said that ‘no NAF pilot leaves his base with the intention of going to kill the same set of people he greatly sacrifices day and night to protect.’
“Apart from expressing its deepest regrets to all concerned, the NAF promised that all necessary measures would be taken to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate incident.
“To cover up the humanitarian disaster, NAF claimed that the IDP camp was not properly marked! While soliciting the understanding and support of all Nigerians and members of the international community regarding the tragic incident, the panel of inquiry and the NAF authorities have failed to address the payment of compensation to the people who were injured and the families of those who were killed in the bombing incident.”