The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Wednesday, rebuked the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, over his justification for inviting the Military to the Orlu area of the State.
HURIWA described Uzodinma’s explanation as “feeble, illogical” and an “unwise decision.”
The rights group said inviting the military into a strictly internal security governance matter that does not require such military intervention was an indication that the “governor’s mandate is questionable.”
HURIWA condemned Uzodinma for his unguarded utterances and for his manifest failures to secure Imo State lawfully.
Uzodinma had invited the Military to the Orlu area of Imo State, following the crisis between security operatives and men of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, an arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The military operatives were alleged to have attacked locations believed to be camps of ESN operatives.
Following the backlash that accompanied his decision, Uzodinma had explained that he invited the Military to ensure peace in the troubled area.
Reacting to Uzodinma’s explanation, HURIWA disputed the claim that the Army was invited to forestall anarchy similar to the End SARS protests.
A statement by HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said the governor created what it termed “a chasm between the security forces and the people by inviting them at the slightest localized provocation that even the boy scouts movement of Imo State chapter can handle.”
According to HURIWA: “Mr. Governor of Imo State, you are so wrong to have rushed to Abuja to ask Mr. President to deploy armed soldiers and Air force to stage military actions in Orlu Senatorial Zone over the presence of some of your constituents who set up a platform to protect their lives and properties from attacks by marauding and invading armed Fulani herdsmen.
“What you ought to have done if truly your mandate is from Imo voters is to look towards the Imo State House of Assembly to make relevant laws bringing into being, a standardized armed vigilante to work in partnership with relevant security institutions like the Army, the Police and the DSS. Only someone coordinating a politically tainted occupying force can head to the nation’s capital to seek the assistance of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to send soldiers, Air force and Military Forces to stage any sort of military incident no matter how friendly in Orlu over a very simple matter of internal security governance.
“Mr. Governor is it not ridiculous that you are proudly telling Nigerians that you are not a governor with the real mandate of the voters because if you have the mandate of the people, you need not seek for external intervention to crush the Eastern Security Network when it is not a force seeking to overrun any territorial area in Nigeria but rather it is a creation of necessity which happened to fill the void of security governance in Imo State. You need to begin to govern the State and Imo people like a governor with the mandate and not a man heading an occupying force. You need to organize a parley of Imo politicians and stakeholders, to work out the best approach to salvage the situation of insecurity in Imo state.
“Besides, Mr. Governor of Imo State, the people of Imo must be part of the solution to the emerging security problems unless you do not have a mandate. So please get back to work in Owerri, leave Abuja, and govern Imo State well.
“The implications of over-utilizing the military internally are diverse including grave consequences of illegality, human rights violations, lack of popular support by the people and even the likelihood of its mode of operation robbing off on other civil security agencies in the light of inter-agency collaboration.
”This association can influence the police to become brutal or increase the sophistication and aggression of the terrorists who ordinarily should be weakened by intelligence of the police or other trained civil organizations in collaboration with the people with whom the criminals ordinarily associate and sometimes live among.