The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly rebuked the Nigerian Army for what it perceives as a lenient stance towards the “private army” reportedly formed by Asari Dokubo, the former leader of the defunct Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF).

In an official statement released by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Friday, the organization expressed dissatisfaction with the Nigerian Army’s recent declaration distancing itself from any collaboration with Asari Dokubo or his private security outfit. HURIWA believes that this statement falls short of addressing the gravity of the situation and amounts to treating Dokubo and his forces with undue leniency.

HURIWA emphasized that the existence of any form of a private army in Nigeria is constitutionally unlawful and intolerable, regardless of the individual’s connections. The group questioned the Nigerian Army’s seemingly contradictory stance, pointing out that while they had previously labeled the unarmed pro-Biafra group led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as a terrorist organization, they now appear to be handling Dokubo’s private army with less severity, despite his claims of actively engaging against Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.

The human rights organization further pressed the Nigerian Army to provide comprehensive and transparent information regarding Asari Dokubo’s claims, especially those concerning the alleged collaboration between his private military company and the government forces. HURIWA expressed concerns about potential covert connections contributing to the activities of “unknown gunmen” causing havoc in the South East region.

HURIWA demanded a thorough investigation into Dokubo’s assertions and urged the Nigerian Army to engage with relevant agencies responsible for licensing private security outfits to ascertain the legitimacy of his private military company. The organization called for transparency and accountability in upholding the nation’s security and citizen well-being, urging the Nigerian Army to align with the prohibition of private armies stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution.

The association also questioned the Nigerian Army’s actions, highlighting the apparent lack of apprehension or action against Dokubo despite his threats and brandishing of assault rifles. HURIWA underscored the importance of the National Security Adviser clarifying the nature of Dokubo’s firearms license, emphasizing the need for strict regulations and procedures for possessing such weaponry.

HURIWA reiterated its commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting Nigerian citizens, emphasizing the urgency of transparent investigations into potential covert collaborations. The organization called on the Nigerian Army to address the concerns promptly and maintain the trust of the Nigerian people by upholding constitutional principles and safeguarding national security.

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