Posted by News Express | 14 May 2021 | 394 times
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the military chiefs who took a decision on what they called “new security measures” for South-East and South-South of Nigeria to be mindful of the constitutional obligations of adhering strictly to the rules of engagement and absolute respect for the fundamental human rights of civilians.
It carpeted the President for his persistent and lawless marginalisation and scheming out of South-East from any commanding position of significance in the defence institutions to such a ridiculous extent that no Igbo military officer attended the last security meeting during which a decision to introduce new security measures for the zone and the oil rich Niger Delta region was taken.
The rights group said Buhari’s legendary aversion for respect of the fundamental freedoms of the citizens will continue to haunt the government and make it impossible for civilised nations to sell weapons to the government.
“This government is notorious for gross human rights violations and this is the fundamental reason the United States and most First World countries do not want to provide technical assistance or sell arms for the prosecution of the war on terror because it is believed that a tyrannical regime could divert the weapons to kill civilians like is the case with the Buhari’s junta.
“This is why this government has to make sure that the operatives to be deployed to the South East and South-South do not, under any circumstances, resort to the use of such self-help measures like shoot on sight, which constitutes a gross violation of the right to life of the citizens provided for and protected under section 33(1) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended).
“We condemn in totality any decision to adopt a shoot on sight policy by the military. This policy is a crime against humanity and must never be tolerated,” HURIWA affirmed.
The rights group warned the government to take note that the activities of the soldiers on internal security operations are diligently monitored by many international and local non-government individuals and platforms in such a professional manner that all the violations of the human rights of the citizens by soldiers and security forces would be exposed to the world and if the perpetrators are not prosecuted, then Nigerian military chiefs will inevitably be dragged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague Netherlands for crimes against humanity.
“We had already drafted a petition on the recent extra-judicial killings of Imo citizens that the Nigerian Army committed and the hierarchy has refused to name and prosecute the perpetrators just as the petition is about to be despatched to the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands after the Moslem festivity,” HURIWA said in a media statement signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Ms Zainab Yusuf.
The rights group further stated: “The Military under the democratic setting is governed by constitutional norms. The Nigerian Constitution being the grundnorm absolutely prohibits the use of extralegal killings of citizens under section 33 (1). Under section 36 (5) citizens are guaranteed fair hearing.
“There is no legal support for the infliction of mass killings as a consequence of the deliberate attacks on security formations and operatives by unknown gunmen in the South-East and South-South of Nigeria.
“The Military authority is not allowed to resort to self-help because Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation governed by laws. The soldiers are not immune from prosecution for offences of genocide.”
HURIWA reiterated that the Nigerian armed forces, when deployed for either internal or external operations, are bound by the laws of war and international law in the conduct of the operations.
It submitted that the laws regulate and limit the conduct of operations by acting as checks against arbitrary use of force. The rights group said these rules of engagement are intended to minimize unnecessary suffering by combatants and non-combatants during internal military operations.
HURIWA reminded the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, that the Nigerian military does not perform its roles in a vacuum as it derives the roles from the constitution, presently the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
It also affirmed that: “The Constitution is the grundnorm or supreme law that voids any other law that is inconsistent with it to the extent of the inconsistency. Sections 217-220 provide for the establishment, roles, command and operational use of the armed forces and related matters.”
HURIWA further maintained that constitutionally, the Federation shall subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of (a) Defending Nigeria from external aggression; (b) Maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air; (c) Suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly; and (d) Performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.”
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