Human Rights Group Criticizes Nigerian Army Over Alleged Collaboration with Asari Dokubo’s “Private Army”

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly rebuked the Nigerian Army for allegedly tolerating the emergence of a “private army” led by Asari Dokubo, the former leader of the now-defunct Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF).

HURIWA expressed dissatisfaction with the recent statement made by the Nigerian Army, which distanced itself from any collaboration with former Niger Delta militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, and his purported private security outfit. The human rights organization condemned the Nigerian Army’s response as weak and criticized it for not taking a more resolute stance against Dokubo and his forces.

In an official statement released on Friday, HURIWA, through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, emphasized that the Nigerian Army’s mild disassociation from Asari Dokubo’s private army is insufficient. The group contended that the existence of any form of private army in Nigeria, regardless of the individual’s connections to political figures, is unconstitutional, illegal, seditious, and unacceptable.

HURIWA questioned the preferential treatment allegedly shown to Asari Dokubo, comparing it to the Nigerian Army’s previous classification of the unarmed pro-Biafra group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), as a terrorist organization. The organization called out the perceived double standards in the Nigerian Army’s approach, particularly in light of Asari Dokubo’s assertion that his private army plays a significant role in combating Boko Haram in the North East.

The human rights group demanded that the Nigerian Army provide more concrete information regarding Asari Dokubo’s claims and the legitimacy of his private military company’s possession of firearms. HURIWA highlighted the recent podcast interview where Dokubo claimed collaboration between his private military company and the government, operating alongside the military in various states.

Expressing concern over the potential covert alliances between Dokubo’s private military company and the Nigerian military, HURIWA raised alarms about the rise of “unknown gunmen” causing chaos in the South East. The organization stressed the urgent need for transparency and clarity from the Nigerian Army in addressing these allegations.

HURIWA urged a thorough investigation into Asari Dokubo’s claims, especially in light of the security challenges attributed to “unknown gunmen” in the region. The organization asserted that any entity involved in security operations must adhere to the highest standards of accountability and transparency, urging the Nigerian Army to engage with relevant authorities to invalidate the legitimacy of Dokubo’s private military company.

The association also called on the National Security Adviser to clarify the nature of Asari Dokubo’s firearms license and demanded action to address the alleged inaction surrounding Dokubo’s threats and possession of assault rifles.

In conclusion, HURIWA underscored its commitment to upholding the rule of law, transparency, and citizen protection, urging the Nigerian Army to act decisively to address these concerns. The organization stressed the importance of transparent investigations into potential covert collaborations and their implications for national security. HURIWA highlighted the constitutional prohibition against private armies in Nigeria and called for a thorough examination of the situation.

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