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2019 polls: Military deployment for election legitimate – Rights group

.Condemns El-Rufai’s outburst

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA has backed the proposed deployment of troops by the Nigerian army to stave off electoral violence in the coming general elections.

From left: Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai, Deputy Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Zannah Umar Mustapha and other service Chiefs during the familiarization visit of military formations at Konduga Local Government Area of Borno Maiduguri troubled Borno State yesterday ( Sunday). Photo by Ndahi Maiduguri

HURIWA made the position known at a press briefing held in Abuja on Friday.

Addressing newsmen, the National Coordinator of the group, Comrade. Emmanuel Onwubiko, said HURIWA took the decision to support military deployment in response to the recent death issued by El-Rufai, the Kaduna State Governor against foreigners.

He said the proactive role of Nigeria Army is crucial because the army is a professional outfit and the Army chief is aware of the significance of his operatives working under the legal frameworks of adherence to rules of engagement and in absolute compliance to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution.

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‘‘HURIWA has observed with monumental disappointments some of the statements coming from some office holders with regards to the election which is summed up as hate speeches.

‘‘We note the threat to kill off foreign observers as made by the Kaduna governor and the unconditional backing of this despicable, reprehensible and hate-filled language of Governor Nassir El-Rufai by President Muhammadu Buhari.

‘‘We totally condemn these statements calling for bloodbath during the election targeting foreigners as made by El- Rufai and the support of this satanic statement by President Muhammadu Buhari.

‘‘We support the pro-active roles of the Army as adopted by the COAS to stave off electoral violence. To that extent, we support the Army Chief and urge him to always maintain professional decorum and check any excesses on the part of his operatives that will soil his illustrious career. ‘’

According to him, the Nigerian constitution authorises the military to play these roles and the provisions as enshrined in section 217 (1) of the 1999 constitution goes thus: “There shall be an armed forces for the Federation which shall consist of an army, a navy, an Air Force and such other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly.”

“Gentlemen of the media, you will agree with me that the threats of insecurity are real, genuine and frightening because even those who hold positions of authority like the governor of Kaduna state has issued a death threat against foreign observers.

‘‘The Nigeria police force has spectacularly failed to carry out its obligation thereby compelling the military to step in. But doing so, the Nigerian Army being a professional institution created by the constitution must not breach the fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in chapter 4 of the constitution,’’ he stated.

He urged Nigerians to reject violence and charged the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to view Gov. Nassir El-Rufai as a terror suspect and keep him under surveillance.

On the call for election boycott by the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB,  he said HURIWA acknowledged that as citizens individuals have the human right to take part or withdraw or boycott an election, but pointed out that the right to boycott election must not be enforced by extra-legal means and nobody must be stopped from participation in the coming election.

“Any attempt to use crude tactics to stop the electorate from voting is hereby totally and absolutely condemned. We urge all Nigerians who are tired of the poverty situations that afflict millions of Nigerians to stand up and be counted in the historical decision to elect a new set of political leaders to deliver good governance; restructure the unworkable federation that Nigeria represents at the moment and deliver rapid economic growth.

“All Nigerians who boycott election are public enemies because their action will foist on us a choice of leadership that will keep us as slaves in perpetuity.”

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