Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has thrown its weight behind the strategic national stabilization duties of the Nigerian Army especially at this critical time.
HURIWA in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said, as part of its constitutionally assigned roles, the Nigerian Army is obliged to adopt law-based and rights-based strategies devoid of undue use of force to restore national stability, peace and security.
The rights group tasked Nigerians desirous of advancing constitutional democracy to support all lawful measures put in place by the Nigerian Army to secure the country and restore order.
HURIWA said the Chief of Army staff Leut. Col. Tukur Buratai should direct his Chief of Civil-Military Relations to liaise with credible civil society stakeholders and platforms all over the country to observe the military operations and to file reports at the end of the exercise.
HURIWA restated its clarion call on the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army not to undermine the cumulative efforts it has made in the last five years towards mainstreaming the respect to the fundamental human rights of the citizens.
It said the army must not apply maximum force in trying to quell the pockets of criminal looting of national, state and private properties by armed hoodlums.
HURIWA lamented that due to widespread professional misconduct and indiscipline on the side of the operatives and officers of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army and other segments of the armed forces are being overburdened with internal security operations.
HURIWA said Nigerians are appreciative of the roles of the gallant soldiers who are fighting both external and internal terrorist networks and at the same time are over laboured with pressing internal security issues.
“We recognize the place of the army to be called in by civilian authority to restore law and order, particularly at these times that public confidence in the Nigerian police force has warned considerably but the army must at all times show restraints so the sanctity of human life is respected.
HURIWA called on the military authority to fish out the operatives and the commander that led the troops to Lekki tollgate.
“These persons who shot at peaceful protesters even when they are totally unarmed and were chanting the National Anthem need to face military prosecution. The soldiers who shot the protesters must be investigated, arrested, charged and prosecuted.”
HURIWA noted that the armed forces when deployed for either internal or external operations are bound by the laws of war and international law in the conduct of its operations.”