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HURIWA accuses military of harassing South East residents, threatens petioning ICC

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The International Criminal Court in The Hague | File photo: Reuters

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused soldiers posted to major roads in Imo and Abia states of escalating the “harassment, intimidation, physical humiliation and inconveniencing road users from enjoying the constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens.”

It blamed Governor Hope Uzodimma for “militarising Imo State and allowing the troops to continue to unleash gross human rights violations.” 

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The group claimed that the military was “openly displaying these tendencies of abuses of the constitutionally-protected fundamental freedoms of the citizens.”

In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said its chief executive was leading a delegation from Abuja to monitor first-hand the experiences of residents in the hands of the Nigerian Army across the region. 

It alleged: “The Army has constituted itself into an occupying force in the South East of Nigeria and has converted its checkpoints cash-collecting points, just as they (military personnel) have started subjecting commercial bus drivers to the ordeal of extortion and maltreatment which constitutes gross violations of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended).” 

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The group added that it had notified its legal to draft a petition against the military on the “abuses of the human rights of citizens in the South East, including cases of extra-judicial killings which would be compiled and sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, within the week.k.

It continued: “HURIWA specifically condemned the gross human rights violations being committed by armed security forces against civilians of the South East of Nigeria because in its words, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Section 41(1) provides thus: ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.

“(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.”

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