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New Service Chiefs should hit the ground running, says HURIWA

..Charges them on mainstreaming Human Rights

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has tasked the newly appointed heads of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to consolidate on the structures erected by the immediate past Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to mainstream promotion and protection of Human Rights.

In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights Group praised the immediate past Army Chief for setting up the Human Rights department which he posted a full Fledge military General to take charge of continuous dialogues with credible leaders of the organized Human Rights community in Nigeria.

HURIWA said the department on civil military relations actually deepened national conversations on how best to professionalise the Army and to ensure compliance to global best practices even as the Rights group said the new service chiefs must expand and upgrade the internal mechanisms for constructive dialogues between the military and civilians.

HURIWA which acknowledged challenges related to violations of the Human Rights of Nigerians by military operatives during internal military operations charged the new service Chiefs to sustain and increase the momentum of establishing strong monitoring mechanisms to clean up the Human Rights records of some operatives and to be decisive in prosecuting Human Rights violators amongst military rank and file.

“On no account should the hierarchy of the military downplay the essence of respecting the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens clearlyspelt out in chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended. The Rights group said the new service Chiefs must put high premium on staff training, retraining, continuous capacity building and welfare of the men and officers of the Armed forces of Nigeria. There must be zero tolerance to indiscipline just as the immediate past Chief if Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai maintained so the World will respect the institution of the Armed forces “.

HURIWA also reminded the new service chiefs of the factual reality even unambiguously adumbrated in a scholarly law book by General T.E.C. Chiefe, Ph.D that the soldier is part of the society and also a citizen.

“Being a soldier does not remove him from the society but puts on him a specially conjured status called compact.’ He enjoys all the rights of a citizen except those he surrenders by virtue of his being a soldier”.

“Upon acquisition of military status both civil and military law govern him. In support of this position, Takai submits that “the soldier by becoming a soldier does not relinquish his identity or status as citizen with the rights and obligations contained in the constitution. He remains subject both to the civil and military laws a situation described by some jurists as a compact.”

“This duality of status was aptly described in Grant v. Gould, where it was stated that a soldier does agree and consent that he shall be subject to the military discipline, and he cannot appeal to the civil courts to rescue him from his own Compact”.

“The doctrine of compact was further explained by Justice Willes in Dawkins v. Lord Rokeby when he said “But with respect to persons who enter into the military state, who take His Majesty’s pay, and who Consent to act under his commission, although they do not cease to be citizens in respect of responsibility, yet they do by a compact which is intelligible and which requires only the statement of it to the consideration of any one of common sense, become subject to military rule and discipline”.

HURIWA therefore urged the new service chiefs not to fritter time in celebrations over their new found positions but to take their assignments as a national call to comprehensively continue the war on terror and resolutely restore national security and stability in a record time.

It further asked the Service Chiefs to open their doors to constructive criticism by credible non state actors and stakeholders in the organised civil society community in Nigeria because no man is an island.

“The new service Chiefs must not see themselves as ethnic bigots or Champions but first and foremost as Nigerians whose scope of constituency includes all segments of the Nigerian territory and so the practice of viewing any ethnic group as secessionist must never be allowed.

However, HURIWA commended the immediate past Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai for respecting federal character Principle in all the internal postings he made since becoming Chief of Army Staff.

“We appeal to the new service Chiefs to keep the tempo of nationalism and unity of purpose going forward”, the Right Group said.


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