HURIWA cautions military against extra judicial killings in Southeast
Rights group, the Human Right Writers of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the National Human Right Commission of Nigeria and Credible Civil Rights Advocacy Group to investigate security operations of the Nigerian Army regarding the extra judicial killing of innocent citizens, particularly in Anambra State.
The group’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, in a statement yesterday, called for an immediate supervision of military operations in Anambra State as well as other areas of internal military operations as a result of the attitude of the military towards extra judicial killings.
While the Rights group recalled and commended the military who had engaged in many peacekeeping operations in foreign countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia etc., it pointed out high handedness and insensitivity in the handling of issues with the civilians, particularly in the South East as its flaws.
While stressing that domestic law provides the ground for military involvement in internal security, HURIWA warned soldiers to respect the law.
The group said: “In Nigeria, the first law is the Constitution, which empowers the President to use federal forces to combat domestic disturbances. These disturbances only serve as threats to the rights of some individuals or groups in some particular areas of a nation, these are not threats to national security.
“Section 217 of the 1999 is to the effect that the military, under the directive of the President, can in the aid of civil authorities restore law and order. Pursuant to this section, the military has often been called upon to suppress acts of riots, demonstrations and terrorism to restore peace, law and order.
“Section 305 of the Constitution, which empowers the President to issue a proclamation of state of emergency is another basis for military internal security operations.”
HURIWA continued: “This section provides that a state of emergency shall be declared in the following situations: When there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security.
“Also, if there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public safety in the federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger; or there is an occurrence or imminent danger or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity affecting the community or a section of the community in the federation, or there is any other public danger which clearly constitute a threat to the existence of the federation.
“These provisions above all refer to the breakdown of public order and public safety and the need to restore the same. Although the duty to restore law and order within a country is that of the civil authorities , which is the Nigeria Police, the provision of section 217 of the 1999 Constitution comes in handy here as it is to the effect that the military can be called upon to the aid of the civil authorities to restore public order in any part of the country”.
HURIWA cautioned that the military only comes into play when a state of emergency is declared and they should respect the provision of the 1999 Constitution, which clearly safeguards human right to life, right to human dignity and right to privacy among others.