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Army’s clarification on Operation Crocodile Smile heartwarming, says HURIWA

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, applauded the clarifications made by the Nigerian Army on the commencement of this year’s Operation Crocodile Smile in which it was explained that the operation would not be targeted at protesters.

HURIWA expressed hope that the military operatives would not deviate from their professional duties and antagonise youth protesters since the civil rights to peaceful protests were legal, constitutional.

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It explained that such rights were provided for in section 4 (40) of the 1999 Constitution, which guaranteed the right to peaceful assembly, adding that in line with section 14 of the Constitution, citizens were obliged to participate in the governance of the country.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, recalled that Army Spokesman, Colonel Musa Sagir, had said it is wrong to say the exercise was targeted at protesters who are out in major cities across the country.

“HURIWA strongly believes that the Nigerian Army under the current administration has grown in leaps and bounds in adhering to the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights of citizens.

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“We have the confidence that the Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has the will to effectively command his men and officers to stick to global best practices and the ethics of internal security operations, which also embodies respect for constitutional provisions and other international covenants on civil and political rights,” the statement added.

HURIWA, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to compile the list of peaceful demonstrators among the #EndSARS protesters, who were either killed by armed police or armed thugs during the protests and declare them ‘National Heroes.’

It said the Federal Government should also confer posthumous national honours on them and pay N30m as compensation to each of their families.

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