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+HURIWA ENDORSES COURT MARSHAL: RESTATES DEMAND FOR PROBE OF DEFENCE BUDGETS:

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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A pro-Democracy Non-Governmental Organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has thrown its weight behind the just concluded court marshal and even the recently inaugurated second court marshal by the Nigerian Military authority which tried and convicted some indicted military operatives for acts of indiscipline ranging from mutiny, cowardice and attempted murder of the erstwhile General Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Besides, the Rights group has for the umpteenth time called on the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Assembly to initiate a transparent, open, accountable and comprehensive investigation of the opaque procurement processes in the Nigerian Defence and police sectors since the advent of civil rule in 1999 to ascertain how the state of combat readiness and the equipping of the nation's military and police deteriorated to such a sorry state that the country is finding it cumbersome to confront and defeat the armed Islamic terrorists [Boko Haram] who have waged war of attrition against the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 2009.

In a statement to the mass media endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] said it was imperative that whilst the Nigerian system struggles to re-establish strict disciplinary regime among the ranks and file of the Nigerian Armed Forces as it battles the bloody insurgency and terrorism in the North Eastern segment of Nigeria, it is equally germane that the country deliberately open a fearless probe of the remote and immediate circumstances surrounding the deep seated decline that have afflicted our military troops and how the once feared military organization in the World has suddenly found it almost a huge task to defeat the seemingly ragtag Islamic rebels that have threatened the corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

HURIWA has also cautioned Nigerians who have rushed to condemn the recently passed verdict of the military court in Abuja which tried and convicted over one dozen junior ranks for offences ranging from mutiny, cowardly and attempted murder of a senior military commander because in the thinking of the group the groundswell of impulsive condemnation of the military judicial system which is grounded in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is tantamount to justifying rascally and atrocious acts of criminal indiscipline which are alien not only to the Nigerian military tradition but to the military as a unique institutions around the World.

HURIWA has similarly carpeted the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch of the United Kingdom and the United States of America for condemning the General Court Marshal in Nigeria by the Nigerian Military Authority and challenged these groups to show Nigerians why acts of indiscipline by military operatives should be tolerated when even their home nations have most often sanctioned erring military operatives for the same kind of offences in the recent times especially while carrying out military assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. ''Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch should stop crying more than the bereaved and allow the legal and constitutionally permitted mechanisms in the Nigerian military to take its full course.''

According to the Rights Group: ''Although we may not completely be in agreement with the complete judicial decision of the Court marshal which turned in death penalty on some indicted military operatives, we are not against any legal process supported by the grundnorm of Nigeria which is the 1999 constitution which are meant to infuse strict discipline amongst the members of the Nigerian military. We advocate lesser punishment but certainly we are not ready to board the impulsive bandwagon of groups opposing any disciplinary moves to restructure and reposition the Nigerian military to assume its rightful position as the professionally competent and effective defenders of the territorial integrity of Nigeria. Nigerians must be conscious not to jump into irrational condemnation of the military hierarchy for doing what is right and just. We hereby also advocate immediate and comprehensive investigation of all the expenditures invested in the procurement of military soft and hardware since 1999 to determine what happened to the humongous amount of money said to have been released to the Defence and Police sectors. We propose the death penalty for convicted thieves [especially military Generals and top police ministry officials] of defence and police budgets of Nigeria for these persons are the worst saboteurs of the corporate entity called Nigeria.''