*URGES PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI TO DECLARE AS POSTHUMOUS NATIONAL HEROES THE PROTESTERS KILLED BY ARMED HOODLUMS:
Foremost Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has applauded the prompt clarifications made by the Army hierarchy on the commencement of the yearly military operations code named OPERATION CROCODILE SMILE in which it was made abundantly clear that the military operatives are not being deployed to attack peaceful protesters.
HURIWA expressed optimism that the military operatives will not deviate from their professional line of duties and become antagonistic towards the peaceful marchers since the Civil Rights to peaceful protests is legal, constitutional and provided for by the relevant provisions of the Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution Section 40 which guarantees the RIGHT TO PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY even as the Rights group said the citizens are obliged by the Constitution to participate in the governance of their nation in line with section 14 of the Nigerian Constitution.
HURIWA said further: “From available scholarly articles, we are told that under the International Human Rights Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly, Nigeria being a State party to several human rights laws is obliged to protect the sanctity of this legal framework.
Nigeria is a state party to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 21 governs the right of peaceful assembly, providing that: The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Nigeria is not a state party to the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which allows individuals to petition the Human Rights Committee if they believe the state has violated their human rights as protected under the Covenant. At regional level, Nigeria is a state party to the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Article 11 provides as follows: Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others. The exercise of this right shall be subject only to necessary restrictions provided for by law in particular those enacted in the interest of national security, the safety, health, ethics and rights and freedoms of others.
Nigeria is a state party to the 1998 Protocol on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, but has not allowed the right of petition to the Court by individuals and non-governmental organisations.”
HURIWA recalled that Colonel Musa Sagir, army spokesman, In a statement on Sunday, said it is wrong to say the exercise is targeted at protesters who are out in major cities across the country. He said “The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to some social media stuff wrongfully condemning the Army and its Leadership over the announcement of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI particularly the Cyber Warfare Component of the Exercise. This year’s Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is scheduled to commence from the 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020 has no relationship with any lawful protest under any guise whatsoever,” the statement read. “For the records, Exercise CROCODILE SMILE is a yearly exercise in the NA Calendar/Forecast of Events which traditionally holds from October to December of each year. “Thus, to now insinuate that it is an exercise meant to stifle the ongoing ENDSARS protest is to say the least highly misinformed. Exercise CROCODILE SMILE VI has nothing to do with the ongoing protest and the NA has never been involved in the ongoing protest in any form whatsoever. So far, the army has acted professionally since the civil protest started over two weeks ago. “The army hereby enjoins all law-abiding Nigerians to go about their lawful activities unhindered as the Exercise has nothing to do with ENDSARS protest, but a yearly event set out to train NA officers and soldiers in its efforts to ensuring safety and security of Nigeria and her citizens.”
Reacting to the prompt clarifications, the Rights group said the Army in the last five years has made a lot of milestones in the area of consolidating the department of civil and military relations which supervises the HUMAN RIGHTS DESKS of the Nigerian Army just as the Rights group said the Army under the current Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has demonstrated the unambiguous evidence of a disciplined and professional institution with many acts of misconduct by operatives being strongly frowned at and offenders punished sternly through the legal frameworks of Court marshal sessions. ”
HURIWA strongly believes that the Nigerian Army under the current administration has grown in leaps and bounds on the aspects of adherence to the Principles of the Rule of law and respect to the fundamental human rights of Citizens. We have the confidence that the Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has the strong will to effectively command his men and officers to stick to the best global practices and the ethics governing internal security operations which also embodies the respect for the provisions of the chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended, the International Covenants on civil and political rights; Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights including the Vienna convention and declarations on conducts military operatives during conducts of internal military operations”.
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has also written to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to immediately compile the list of peaceful protesters amongst the #endsars PROTESTERS KILLED unfortunately by either the armed police or armed thugs during the protests and then DECLARE THEM NATIONAL HEROES AND CONFER POSTHUMOUS NATIONAL HONOURS ON THEM and pay N30 million (thirty million Naira) compensations each to their direct families left behind by the deceased who paid the Supreme price whilst positively and constructively advocating and crusading for justice, best global practices by the Nigerian Police Force and an end to the cocktails of criminal police brutality and extrajudicial killings of citizens by the defunct SARS.