The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly criticized the Nigerian Army for what it views as leniency towards the “private army” reportedly established by Asari Dokubo, former leader of the defunct Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF).
HURIWA’s condemnation comes in response to a recent statement issued by the Nigerian Army, where it distanced itself from any collaboration with Asari Dokubo or his purported private security outfit. However, HURIWA finds the army’s response insufficient, accusing it of treating Dokubo’s actions with kid gloves.
In a statement released by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group contends that tolerating any form of a private army in Nigeria, regardless of the individual’s connections, is unconstitutional, illegal, and treasonous. HURIWA expressed bewilderment over the perceived preferential treatment of Dokubo by the Nigerian Army, juxtaposing it with the army’s earlier classification of the unarmed pro-Biafra group led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as a terrorist organization.
HURIWA called for a more comprehensive response from the Nigerian Army and demanded concrete information regarding Asari Dokubo’s claims about his private military company’s collaboration with the government and its involvement in security operations across various states. The group raised concerns about potential covert collaborations between Dokubo’s private military company and the Nigerian military, suggesting a connection to the rise of “unknown gunmen” causing turmoil in the South East.
The association stressed the importance of transparency and accountability in security operations and urged the Nigerian Army to engage with relevant agencies responsible for licensing private security outfits to ascertain the legitimacy of Dokubo’s private military company. HURIWA cited constitutional provisions that prohibit the existence of a private army in Nigeria, calling for strict adherence to these regulations.
HURIWA also questioned the Nigerian Army’s inaction in the face of Asari Dokubo’s threats and provocative actions, including brandishing multiple AK-47 rifles in a video. The association called on the National Security Adviser to clarify the nature of Dokubo’s firearms license and the regulatory framework surrounding it.
In conclusion, HURIWA emphasized its commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting Nigerian citizens, urging the Nigerian Army to address these concerns with utmost seriousness. The association underlined the urgency of transparent investigations into potential collaborations and their implications for the country’s security landscape, asserting that maintaining the trust of the Nigerian people is paramount. HURIWA called for clarity on the existence of a private army, questioning its compatibility with the Nigerian Constitution’s provisions.