By Dirisu Yakubu, Abuja
Concerned about what it called serial abuses of the fundamental human rights of citizens, a frontline rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on new Chief of Army Staff, General Farouk Yahaya to prioritize rules of engagement by men and officers of the army.
In a letter of solidarity addressed to Yahaya, HURIWA urged the army boss to follow the footsteps of Gen. Tukur Buratai given his “aggressive funding of the human rights desk and the department for civil and military relations,” noting that the initiative helped to keep the military in check in terms of military/civil relations.
HURIWA in the letter dated June 7th, 2021, and signed by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said: “The reason for writing you this letter is to encourage your good offices not to relent in mainstreaming the respect of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians in all internal military operations.
“We will conclude by thematically providing specific details on the strategic benefits of respecting human rights by your operatives and officers. But first, we are writing to inform you that millions of Nigerians are beginning to perceive that the army authority has abandoned the department for civil and military relations soon after Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai left as the Chief of Army Staff.”
“We recall vividly that your good self once worked as the Army Secretary under the auspices of the then Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Buratai, under whose administration the department for civil and military relations came alive and did wonderful things to bridge the gaps between soldiers and civilians.
“We, therefore, write this letter in good faith with the underlying expectation that your leadership will not totally abandon the department for civil and military relations but will endeavour to expand the frontiers of the duties of the human rights desks within the army,” it stated.