The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the Nigerian Army to adopt more non-kinetic methods to address the security challenges in the South-East region just as the right group has cautioned the military authority against media propaganda about resolving the disturbing spate of killings in the South East region.
The group also urged the army to assure the people of the region that its duties are national, not sectional, and that it is not an occupying force in the South East.
HURIWA made this call through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement issued on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, while reacting to the claim by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, that the sit-at-home order in the South East has ended due to the efforts of the troops and other stakeholders.
The sit-at-home order was initially imposed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), to demand the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing treason charges.
However, the order became a source of fear and intimidation for many residents and businesses in the region, as unknown gunmen attacked and killed those who defied it. The order also affected the region’s economy and social life, as schools, markets, banks, and other public places were shut down.
Lagbaja said that through Operation Udoka, the army and other security agencies have restored normalcy, law, and order in the region. He said that law-abiding citizens of the region could now go about their businesses and everyday lives without fear or harassment.
While commending the army for the improvement in human rights observance in its internal security operations in the region under his leadership, the civil rights advocacy group said there is a need for sustainability and constructive partnership between the army and the people of the South East.
HURIWA said that the army should adopt more non-kinetic methods, such as dialogue, persuasion, education, and enlightenment, to win the confidence of the people and address their grievances.