Don’t kill ballot box snatchers, HURIWA warns security agencies
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, cautioned the security agencies, especially the Army, Police and Department of State Services (DSS) not to commit extralegal execution of citizens including those of ballot box snatchers.
HURIWA said it was concerned about trending videos on the social media in which soldiers were threatening to kill snatchers of ballot boxes during the poll, saying it is unlawful, unconstitutional and a crime against humanity for security forces to disregard their rules of engagements governing all Internal Security Operations and go ahead in trigger happy episodes of extrajudicial killings of Nigerians on the election as a demonstration of the so-called show of strength.
The group said Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution makes right to life sacrosanct and prohibits unlawful execution of offenders absolutely unless authorised by Courts of law.
HURIWA also blasted the Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba for infringing on the fundamental Human Rights of freedom of movement of citizens by unilaterally imposing ban to all movements of vehicles during the election when the office of the IGP is not a legislative chamber in line with Section 4 of the Constitution charged with law making.
It affirmed that only the legislature has the Constitutional powers even during national emergencies to pass a legislation abridging the freedom of movement but the police being an enforcement agency, fall under Section 5, an executive arm of government.
Following the practice by almost all holders of the office of IGP, the rights group said it would soon challenge this persistent violation of the constitution by different IGPs during elections over the years in the Court of law.
“We may need to test the waters in the court of competent jurisdiction to ascertain why the IGPs of all epochs have consistently taken the law into their hands and churned out illegal limitations to the enjoyment of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement,” the group in a statement made available to The Guardian.
HURIWA pointed at the Section 4 (1) of the Constitution, saying, “The legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”
On the threats by some lawless soldiers to kill at will, those political thugs, who would snatch ballots boxes, HURIWA warned them that illegal killings of Nigerians even those in conflict with the law and do not constitute mortal threats to the lives of the security agents, will be challenged before the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands just as it warned Service Chiefs to ensure that their operatives comply absolutely with the clearly stated rules of engagement.
HURIWA cited Section 217 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution and Section (8) (1) and (3) of the Armed Forces Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (LFN) 2004 which copiously provide code of conduct and rules of engagement for the armed forces in internal security.
HURIWA argued that: “For instance, no officer or soldier must be found aiding or abetting any act of arson, vandalism or unprofessional conduct; and troops are duty bound to intervene in any situation to avoid a breakdown in peace, stability or law and order of an area where they are deployed.”