WANTS GOVERNMENT TO REVIVE NEWLY INSTITUTED POLICE TRUST FUND:
The recent public announcement by the Defence headquarters that it plans to reintegrate some surrendered Boko haram terrorists has been described as an unmitigated illegality, a treasonable felony and treacherous disobedience of the Nigeria grund norm which must be halted.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which made the observations in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said it was insensitive, irresponsible and heart-rending especially to the Wives and families of fallen heroes of the war on terror that the Defence headquarters is at the forefront of the campaign to reintegrate the same terrorists that inflicted heavy wounds on the psyches of the institution of the Nigerian military and made many widows out of the counter terror war by the gruesome murders of their breadwinners who were combatants that fought to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Besides, the leading civil society organization: – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to personally investigate why the Police Trust Fund he recently instituted can’t stand on its own financially talk more of providing logistical supports to the near- moribund Nigeria Police Force.
HURIWA recalled that the Army Spokesman Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu had stated thus-: “While the Nigerian Army (NA) does not want to be distracted from its main focus of dealing decisively with the threats against peace loving Nigerians, it has become necessary to put issues in their right perspectives.
“It is a known fact that in the recent past, over 1,000 members of Boko Haram and their families have surrendered to the troops due to the intense pressure from troops’ sustained offensive actions.“
Among those were key leaders of the terrorists group who have renounced their membership and have turned themselves in.
“The NA being a professional military organisation will continue to act in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as international best practices.
“ It must be known that the NA will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings.
“Accordingly, all surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of Government for further assessment in line with extant provisions.
“The ongoing Operation Safe Corridor is an outfit established by the Federal Government and not the NA. As such, it is absolutely wrong to say that the NA will free repentant terrorists.
“The NA therefore appeals to the public to disregard the deliberate distortion of facts by these online mediums and continue to support the NA in order to rid the country of terrorism and other forms of insecurity.”
HURIWA has however restated her call for a Law based War on Terror and Promotion of National Security In which case terrorists must never be pampered, reintegrated or rehabilitated without following the due process of the law which implies that anyone who participate in terror campaign that has led to the killing of nearly 40,000 civilians must be prosecution in the Competent Courts of law in line with section 6 of the Constitution.
HURIWA argues further: “In the same vein the government must engage in a law based war by enforcing anti-terrorism laws. Section 1A (4) of the TPA (as amended) empowers “the law enforcement agencies” to “enforce all laws and regulations on counter–terrorism in Nigeria”. Prior to the TPA, Section 46 of the EFCC Act 2004 defines “terrorism” to mean a violation of the Criminal Code or the Penal Code and with likelihood of endangering life, integrity or freedom, or causing serious injury or death with the intent to force the person(s) or body or government to do or not to do certain things or disrupt and includes financing or aiding terrorism. The punishment for the crime by Section 15 of the EFCC Act is imprisonment for life.”
“Section 1(3) of the TPA (as amended) defines an ‘act of terrorism’ as that deliberately done with malice aforethought and which may seriously harm or damage a country or an international organization. Any act also amounts to terrorism when it is done deliberately with malice aforethought and intended to unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act. A terrorist act is committed when done with the requisite intent; it seriously destabilizes or destroys the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structure of a country or international organization by intimidation or coercion. It also amounts to a terrorist act where it involves an attack upon a person’s life that possibly results in serious bodily harm or death. Intimidating or coercing a government or international organization is a terrorist act where it involves or causes: the kidnapping of a person, or destruction of a government public facility, or private property etc. This is particularly so where the act is likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss. By section 2 (b) (I), which defines terrorism as acts done to unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act the definition of terrorism is confined to non-state actors thereby excluding state terrorism from the ambit of its definition. There is an omnibus provision which criminalizes and treats as terrorist act ‘any act or omission’ in or outside Nigeria which constitutes an offence within the scope of a counter-terrorism protocols and conventions duly ratified by Nigeria”
“It is difficult to dismiss the general notion that the Nigerian State has not shown political will and commitment to the war on terror. It seems that not only have the real brains behind it not been prosecuted but are also being shielded. An ideology based crime does not end with the incarceration of the “foot soldiers”. Unfortunately usual extra judicial killing of high profile suspects suggests a pattern of cover up. Both Mohammed Yusuf and Alhaji Buji Foi, Boko Haram leader and the financier respectively, suffered the same fate while in police custody.”
“Closely related is the manner of enforcement of the law on the subject; enforcement must be within the arm bit of general sense of legality. This implies that government should be conducted within the framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict discretionary power as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion as held by the Court in the cases of Miscellaneous Offences Tribunals v. Okoroafor (2001) 10 NWLR (Pt. 745) P. 310 and All Nigerian Peoples Party v. Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (2006) 11 NWLR (Pt. 992) p. 597.”
“In the English case of Arthur Yates & Co. Pty. Ltd. v. Vegetable Seeds Committee9, Herring C.J held thus in this regard:
“It is not the English view of the law that whatever is officially done is law … On the contrary, the principle of English law is that what is done officially must be done in accordance with the law.”
HURIWA also spoke about the moribund nature of the newly inaugurated Police Trust Fund which was actually established by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to provide funding and logistical supports to the near moribund Nigeria Police even as the Rights group regretted that it’s been reported that the same Police Trust Fund is being sponsored by the Nigerian Police Force which it was statutorily set up to assist. “We are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to personally investigate why the Police Trust Fund can’t stand on its own many months after being inaugurated just as the Rights group said it is either that the central and state governments jointly REVIVE the Police Trust Fund or the agency should be folded to avoid frittered scarce public fund only paying salaries to employees who aren’t actually working in line with the statutory mandate of the Police Trust Fund.