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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.
Army had at the weekend made it clear that the military operatives are not being deployed to attack peaceful protesters.
HURIWA, in a statement to DAILY POST on Tuesday, expressed optimism that the military operatives will not deviate from their professional line of duties and become antagonistic towards the peaceful marchers.
The group noted that citizens are obliged by the constitution to participate in the governance of their nation.
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.
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”.