Mutiny: HURIWA throws weight behind court martial, restates need to probe Defence budgets

Posted by News Express | 8 October 2014 | 3,861 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has thrown its weight behind the just-concluded court martial, and the recently inaugurated second court martial by the Nigerian military authority, which tried and convicted some indicted military operatives for acts of indiscipline, ranging from mutiny, cowardice and attempted murder of the erstwhile General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Borno State.

 The rights group also called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to initiate a transparent, open, accountable and comprehensive investigation of the opaque procurement processes in the Nigerian Defence and police sectors, from the advent of civil rule in 1999, to ascertain how the state of combat readiness and the equipping of the nation's security outfits deteriorated to such a sorry state that the country finds it cumbersome to confront and defeat the armed Islamic terrorists (Boko Haram), who have waged war of attrition against the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2009.

In a media statement made available to News Express and endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was imperative that while the Nigerian system struggles to re-establish strict disciplinary regime among the ranks and file of the Nigerian Armed Forces, as it battles the bloody insurgency and terrorism in the North-East, it is equally important for the Federal Government to deliberately initiate a fearless probe into the immediate and remote causes of the   deep-seated decline that have afflicted our troops, and how the once respected Nigerian military organisation has suddenly found it almost a huge task to defeat the seemingly ragtag Islamic rebels that have threatened the corporate existence of the country.

HURIWA has also cautioned Nigerians who hastily condemned the recently passed verdict of the military court in Abuja, which tried and convicted over 12 junior ranks; for offences ranging from mutiny, cowardice to attempted murder of a senior military commander. The group thinks that the groundswell of impulsive condemnation of the military judicial system, which is grounded in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is tantamount to justifying rascally and atrocious acts of criminal indiscipline, which are alien not only to the Nigerian military tradition but to the military as a unique institution around the world.

As a result, HURIWA equally carpeted the Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch of the United Kingdom, and the United States of America for condemning the General Court Martial in Nigeria, by the military authority. It challenged these groups to show Nigerians why acts of indiscipline by military operatives should be tolerated, when even their home nations have most often sanctioned erring military operatives for the same kind of offences in recent times, especially while carrying out military assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch should stop crying more than the bereaved and allow the legal and constitutionally permitted mechanisms in the Nigerian military to take its full course.”

HURIWA noted: “Although we may not completely be in agreement with the judicial decision of the Court Martial, which turned in death penalty on some indicted military operatives, we are not against any legal process supported by the grundnorm of Nigeria, which is the 1999 Constitution, meant to infuse strict discipline amongst the members of the Nigerian military. We advocate lesser punishment but, certainly, we are not ready to board the impulsive bandwagon of groups opposing any disciplinary moves to restructure and reposition the Nigerian military to assume its rightful position as the professionally competent and effective defenders of the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

“Nigerians must be conscious not to jump into irrational condemnation of the military hierarchy for doing what is right and just. We hereby also advocate immediate and comprehensive investigation of all the expenditures invested in the procurement of military soft and hardware since 1999, to determine what happened to the humongous amount of money said to have been released to the Defence and Police sectors. We propose the death penalty for convicted thieves (especially military generals and top police ministry officials) of Defence and police budgets of Nigeria. These persons are the worst saboteurs of the corporate entity called Nigeria.”

•Photo shows HURIWA National Coordinator Onwubiko.

Source: News Express

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