Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has assessed the performance of the Nigerian Army in its battle against Boko Haram and other forms of insurgencies in the country.
The group canvassed the sustenance of the current solidarity and support from the civil populace for the Nigerian military in the current counter-terrorism battles in the North East.
HURIWA also attested to the verifiable and concrete evidence that the Nigerian military has witnessed impressive change in the observations of human rights in internal security operations in the North East of Nigeria contrary to some insinuations making rounds that the Army violates child rights in the flashpoints of counterinsurgency warfare in the North East of Nigeria.
Besides, the rights group has affirmed that there have been phenomenal improvements in the respect for the fundamental human rights of Nigerians in the flashpoint of the counter-terror war in the North East of Nigeria by the Army following series of intensive human rights capacity-building strategic sessions organized between the Army and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Also, the rights group applauded the Army hierarchy for decisively dealing with the rogue operative who shot dead a commercial Tricycle operator in Aba city of Abia State recently just as the Rights group said with consistency in this kind of effective remedial actions, the Nigerian people will be motivated to support the military in their efforts to maintain a rights-based approach to keeping national security.
HURIWA, in a media statement issued to DAILY POST in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said facts-finding investigative reports sent to its secretariat by some of her members in the North East of Nigeria indicates empirically that the decision of the Nigerian Army to set up human rights desk and the department for civil and military relations have paid off.
The group, however, tasked the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to continue in the positively constructive stride of massively training operatives of the Army on their responsibility towards the promotion and protection of human rights of all citizens.
HURIWA also charged the National Human Rights Commission to continue to offer capacity-building support for the military.
It also criticised the commission for not doing enough to create a platform of national interactions between the institution and credible civil Rights advocacy groups in the Country.
HURIWA said under no circumstances should the National Human Rights Commission continue to be administered as a pure civil service department in clear breach of the statutory provisions obliging officials of government to be accountable and transparent.
The group added, “May we appeal to all Nigerians, irrespective of political and ideological differences, to rally round our military as they continue to wage decisive and result-oriented battles against terrorism in the North East and armed banditry in the North West.
“This is because of our primary roles as citizens as spelt out in section 24 of the Nigerian constitution are as follows:
“It shall be the duty of every citizen to – (a) abide by this Constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the National Flag, the National Anthem, the National Pledge, and legitimate authorities; (b) help to enhance the power, prestige and good name of Nigeria, defend Nigeria and render such national service as may be required; (c) respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood; (d) make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides; (e) render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order; and (f) declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”
HURIWA specifically noted that in the recent weeks the military has made positive impacts in the counter-terror war in the North East of Nigeria because of credible information received from well-meaning Nigerians about the presence of terrorists at Gworege village in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State, troops of 22 Brigade/Super Camp Dikwa in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force, Local Vigilantes and Hunters, conducted a successful raid and clearance operations to Gworege community to clear the village of the crouching terrorists reportedly hibernating in the area.
The group said it is “impressed with the Nigerian Army for rising to the challenge of statesmanship and effective delivery of their statutory mandates because as we gathered when the terrorists engaged the troops in a firefight but they were forced to flee as a result of superior firepower from the troops.
“Consequently, troops cordoned and searched the village and recovered the following: a) 6 x AK 47 Rifles b) 66 x 7.62 MM ammunition. We commend the Army that no soldier was killed, wounded or missing in action. Unfortunately, a hunter was wounded, is receiving treatment at the 22 Brigade medical Centre in Dikwa, he has been stabilized and is fast recovering.”
“We must commend the exemplary leadership qualities of the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, who alongside his team made up of some Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters, Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other Commanders, visited the troops and those wounded in action.
“HURIWA agrees that the merits of the new concept (super Camp) in the operational arena have already started yielding results with troops becoming more mobile, agile, robust and unpredictable. Hence, troops continue to dominate the Theatre with mobile patrols, ambushes, deliberate attacks and raids thereby denying the terrorists/criminals freedom of action. Nigerians must support the Army.”