Exactly two years as we speak being Monday October twenty sixth 2020 within the wake of the controversy over the dealing with of the endsars protests by the armed forces of Nigeria and the position performed by them on the peak of the protests solely six days again to that acknowledged date, the then Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai addressed the multifaceted points that advanced from these socio-political developments and gave sturdy responses to the fees made in opposition to the Army concerning the alleged violations of the elemental human rights of the residents.
We will very shortly return to guage these robust phrases of protection provided by the General then however first allow us to state that Nigeria has simply had the celebration of the 62nd anniversary of the nation’s independence and this was marked with pomp and fanfare together with excessive profile speech made as a nationwide broadcast by the President Muhammadu Buhari which he used to spotlight what he thought-about as his milestones since assuming energy in 2015 and his final tenure which ends subsequent yr May however which commenced after the 2019 General election which his celebration the All Progressives Congress received the Presidency.
However, what was lacking from that speech was the place of human rights in inside army operations or slightly the federal government of the day and the present Chief of Army Staff didn’t temporary Nigerians on how the army hierarchy is mainstreaming respect of the elemental human rights of all Nigerians within the ceaselessly performed inside safety operations. Nigeria is more and more battling every kind of armed non state actors constituting risks to the nationwide safety of Nigeria. On the final rely by the Security Tracker which is a assume tank of a strategic institutional platform of the USA, over 52, 000 Citizens of Nigeria have been killed by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and insurgents together with armed herders. These upheavals subsequently create the necessity for elevated ranges of inside safety operations in Nigeria and when these are operationalised, there’s certain to be explosions of accusations from the regulation abiding residents about their constitutionally assured basic freedoms being wantonly abused by males and officers of the Army basically.
This is essential to understanding the need for fixed civil army dialogues and relationships.
The Independence day anniversary may have been used to attempt to search the understanding of the populace and the nearer partnership with the army to understand efficient accomplishment of the Constitutional Mandates of the armed forces of Nigeria which in abstract is to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and defend and uphold nationwide safety pursuits. That auspicious alternative was missed.
Well, it’s not too late for the present Army chief to try this.
Indeed the Army chief of Staff has an even bigger platform to try this on December tenth 2022 being the worldwide Human rights day.
His media minders had higher desk this challenge earlier than him timeously.
Now to the query of how the previous and the longest served Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai mainstreamed human rights promotion and safety in all inside army operations, we are going to get the proper responses from that textual content of a media convention he addressed precisely two years as we speak.
Then we are going to conclude by recalling what the present Army chief has mentioned about what his males and officers should do to increase the frontiers of respect for the elemental human rights of all Nigerians.
This is essential as a result of there are lots of experiences documenting human rights violations by the Army underneath the present management of the army simply as all the time. But within the final two years the depth of the experiences in opposition to the Army are overwhelming no because of the sluggish response price from the hierarchy on such issues.
But there’s a explicit report that has simply hit the press about a whole lot of girls detained with out prosecution allegedly by the Army within the South East of Nigeria which should be addressed by the present hierarchy of the Army.
So understanding how the thoughts of the present Army chief of Staff works will in a great distance decide if the problems arising from the accusations of human rights abuses in opposition to civilians made within the over a dozen experiences, could be addressed satisfactorily.
Now to the press convention by the then Army chief of Staff coordinated by the then Army’s spokesman Colonel Sagir Musa.
He instructed Nigerians as follows-:
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai has simply completed an essential assembly along with his Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding(GOCs) and Field Commanders this morning right here on the Army Headquarters Conference Room.
At the assembly, the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai made it unambiguously clear to the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders that there might be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and troopers of the Nigerian Army (NA). He directed that they (PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders) should reiterate to all their subordinates that the NA is decided to make sure democratic stability in Nigeria as the one panacea for improvement and progress. General Buratai additionally mentioned – “The best system of governance is democracy and we must all ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remains stable and steady. We will not allow any force, elements or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire. We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilisation”.
General Buratai drew the eye of all of the contributors on the assembly that – “The events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilize Nigeria by all means. These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #ENDSARS protest marches resulting to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country. These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation” – he acknowledged.
He additionally mentioned that proper from the onset of ENDSARS protest, the NA has been conscious of the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to attract it into the disaster. The plan was to embark on huge propaganda to discredit the army and the federal government in order to set the folks in opposition to the NA as soon as it’s referred to as out to help the civil authorities. The NA being conscious of the devilish plan was cautious to not be dragged in and issued the preliminary warning by a press launch on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to safe and safeguard a United Nigeria. Now the detractors alongside their native and worldwide collaborators have mischievously and intentionally misrepresented troops’ efforts to make sure compliance with the curfew imposed by authentic civil authorities in Lagos and different states. These agitators are falsely accusing the NA of being answerable for the actions of the miscreants regardless of obtrusive proof on the contrary. They have frequently threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and additionally threatened numerous types of sanctions in opposition to personnel and their households. Thankfully nonetheless, a big proportion of Nigerians and the worldwide group have began seeing by the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of info being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications.
The COAS additional mentioned -“Despite all these, the NA has continued to exercise restraint applied all the Principles of Internal Security Operations and fully abided by the internationally recognized Rules of Engagement as contained in our published Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Security Operations which are derived from the International Human Rights Laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force”. He used the chance to re-emphasize that not one of the PSOs, GOCs, Field Commanders and different officers and troopers of the NA must be afraid of the ICC for finishing up their authentic duties as acknowledged within the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and different extant legal guidelines, guidelines and rules of Nigeria. He additional averred that -“They have each proper underneath the Constitution to hold out assigned and authentic roles of sustaining regulation and order in assist of civil authorities and different safety businesses. He reiterated that anybody who doubts their dedication to their constitutional tasks should be made to know that they continue to be dedicated, loyal and unwavering in making certain the unity, stability and safety of our expensive nation Nigeria. He charged them to point out the detractors and different parts of destabilization that they’re neither a part of them nor in anyway supportive of their actions always. He directed that any act of arson or try to kill or maim any army or safety personnel and different regulation abiding civilians should be responded to shortly and decisively.
According to him -“In dealing with any security threat, they must fully cooperate with personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies and must ensure that everyone is in full compliance with imposed curfews and any other extant security instructions in force”.
General Buratai additionally alerted the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders that -“The recent activities by unscrupulous elements have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel. No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past 2 weeks across the country with attendant lost of lives of personnel. He charged Commanders to nip in the bud this emerging trend at all cost, and directed them to warn their troops on internal security or on guard duties outside the barracks to be at maximum alert at all times and to also deal decisively with any attack on their duty locations”. General Buratai concluded that – “There is no choice between a democratically United, strong and prosperous Nigeria and a nation disunited in a state of anarchy and retrogression. We must all strive for a united, strong, stable and progressive Nigeria”.
At the top of the assembly, the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders resolved to: Remain Loyal to the Federal Government of Nigeria underneath President Muhammadu Buhari; Ensure the unity and indivisibility of our nation; Assist the Federal Government to deliver an finish to insecurity throughout the nation and to forestall miscreants and criminals from hijacking the ENDSARS protest nation broad; Remain focus and to not be deterred by any native or worldwide threats; All Commanders have been directed to accentuate joint coaching with the Nigerian Police and different Sister Security Agencies to reinforce interagency collaboration and cooperation; Finally, I want to prolong the appreciation and finest regards of the COAS.
Fast ahead to the current time and the main target might be on what the Army mentioned it’s doing to make sure that human rights of residents are maintained by troopers throughout inside army operations.
This is even because the Nigerian Army launched three subject coaching workout routines to deal with the safety challenges in 4 geopolitical zones of the nation.
These workout routines – Still Water, Enduring Peace and Golden Dawn – are to be performed concurrently in South-East, South-South, South-West and North-Central areas.
“They will be conducted in collaboration with sister security agencies, including the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, Air Force, Immigration, NDLEA, NSCDC, FRSC, Federal Fire Service, as well as other stakeholders who will provide the necessary support for the exercise,” mentioned the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya.
Yahaya, who flagged off the workout routines at an occasion on Monday in Enugu State, believes the workout routines will confront the multifaceted and modern safety challenges prevalent in numerous elements of the nation.
The military chief defined that the goal of the workout routines was to revive regulation and order within the affected areas, in addition to create enabling setting for socio-economic actions to thrive.
He requested officers and troopers to stay skilled, steadfast and diligent within the discharge of their tasks in consonance with the goals of the workout routines.
Yahaya additionally urged troops to make sure the respect and safety of basic human rights of the folks according to the provisions of the Constitution as they discharge their tasks.
He referred to as on the folks to be law-abiding and cooperate with safety businesses with a view to restore regulation and order within the nation.
The military chief acknowledged that the workout routines, which might later metamorphose into actual operations, would witness collaboration with different safety businesses within the space of alternate of concepts and sharing of intelligence.
In his remarks, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, assured the military chief of the readiness of the Division to fight all safety threats and crimes inside the area.
He additionally warned all criminals inside the space of accountability to desist from their atrocious actions or get able to face the wrath of the regulation.
Meanwhile, Yahaya offered a patrol automobile to the 82 Division, saying the gesture was to empower Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSMs) of the military.
“This empowerment scheme will enable the RSMs to effectively carry out their duties as custodians of traditions and regimentation of the NA,” he was quoted as saying in an announcement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.
The flag-off was witnessed by numerous commanders, heads, and representatives of different safety businesses in Enugu state.
It is heartwarming that the Army has mentioned it would respect human rights.
The problem for the Army as I write is to show that it’s not simpler mentioned than executed however that motion speaks louder than phrases.
There is want for openness and accountability in coping with points which can be about human rights violations so it’s identified by all and sundry that the authority of the Army imply each phrases which have been acknowledged on the commitments and readiness of the army establishments to function inside guidelines of engagement and international vest practices. It is not going to augur nicely for the picture of the army establishments if the concept is globalised that the operatives despatched out on inside safety operations are left to hold out these assignments in such a manner that the tenets of the legal guidelines are abused and then MIGHT BECOMES RIGHT. The onus is on the present holder of that prime workplace of Chief of Army Staff.
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.
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Author: Daily Post Staff