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HURIWA accuses Nigerian Army of double standards over Asari-Dokubo



Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has accused the Nigerian Army of displaying double standards over recent comments and actions of former Niger Delta militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo which it described as undermining the security of the country as well as threatening people of certain regions.

HURIWA, in a statement on Friday night, particularly took exception to a statement by the Army distancing itself from any collaboration with Asari-Dokubo or his private security outfit, describing the denial as soft and not far-reaching.

The former militant, in a podcast interview, had claimed that he runs a private military company which collaborates with the government and operates alongside the military in various states including Niger, Plateau, Abia, Imo, parts of Rivers and Anambra, to tackle insecurity.

In another recent video, the former militant leader was seen parading a group of militants whom he claimed were members of his private army and in other videos, he has been seen parading the streets armed with weapons, acts HURIWA believes undermines the security of the country and one the Army and security agencies should take seriously.

Read also: HURIWA wants Buhari arrested over Asari-Dokubo’s ‘Army

However, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement earlier on Friday, distanced the Army from Asari-Dokubo’s claims, saying the veracity of such could only be ascertained by the relevant agency statutorily mandated to license such outfits.

Nwachukwu said the Nigerian Army had never conducted any operation with Asari-Dokubo’s private company.

But HURIWA has kicked against the stance of the Army saying its response falls short and urged the military authorities to provide concrete information regarding Askari-Dokubo’s claims and the legitimacy of his private military company and firearms possession.

“The toleration of any sort of a private Army in Nigeria by anybody, no matter how connected the head of such a private Army is to the President of Nigeria, is absolutely unconstitutional, unlawful, treasonous and intolerable,” the group said in the statement issued by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko.

“If Asari Dokubo is bigger than the constituted authority to warrant this level of treacherous pampering by the Nigerian Army, why is this same Nigerian Army at the forefront of pronouncing the hitherto unarmed pro-Biafra group headed by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu called the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group?

“Why is the Army now speaking from both sides of its mouth on the private Army set up by Asari Dokubo who has severally boasted that his Army is the primary combatants fighting the Islamic terrorist group of Boko haram in the North East?”

“Millions of Nigerians are losing faith on the need to support the unity of Nigeria if some persons are treated as sacred cows and can set up armed groups whose members brandish military grade weapons and others are clamped into DSS underground solitary cell for years for attempting to do the same thing or same thing but of lesser impacts.

“If the Nigerian Army was truly not engaged with Asari-Dokubo’s private army, why has he not been apprehended despite his threats to destroy the country if arrested for unlawful possession of assault rifles and his menacing threats to lives and property of the Igbo people in the country?

“The Nigerian Army should come clean on this Asari Dokubo’s private Army. Why is there a private Army in Nigeria when the Nigerian Constitution in Chapter 6, section 217 prohibits the creation of a private Army other than the Nigerian Army,” the group queried.

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