The Coalition of Human Rights Groups has backed the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai for exposing those behind the unrest in the country.
Lt. Gen. Buratai had on Wednesday said embittered politicians, who were bent on destabilising the country were responsible for the rising activities of bandits.
He gave this assertion while hosting members of the 10-man Committee on Army of the House of Representatives, who were in Maiduguri on a two-day oversight function.
He said, “There are myriads of security challenges we are facing right now in the North-West, North-Central and other parts of the country. I want to believe, and rightly so, that with the fallout of the just-concluded general elections, there are politicians who saw their defeat as a means of revenge, sponsoring these criminal activities and even banditry and clashes between the farmers and herders.”
Speaking on the revelation, the human rights group warned those behind the serial acts of banditry, kidnapping and killings must desist from these evil acts and change their ways.
Maxwel Gowon (Esq), Executive Director of the group in a statement obtained by our reporter on Thursday, appealed to defeated political players in the last election to use proceedings in expressing dissatisfaction with election outcomes without resorting to bloodletting.
The statement reads below.
Permit us to say that we are not in any way surprised by the revelations made by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai while speaking before a committee of the House of Representatives this week. In summary, General Buratai asserted that politicians are behind the new wave of attacks against Nigerians by Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and other killer groups.
He also said some politicians who were defeated during the General Elections sponsor criminal as their own way of revenge for their rejection by Nigerians.
The Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria want to categorically state that what General Buratai have disclosed is not really new. Political support for Boko Haram is something that our coalition expressed concerns about shortly before the elections.
Our concerns at that time were validated when the Federal Government raised the alarm about how the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar were procuring the services of these terrorists and foreign mercenaries to make the country unsafe. We had also, after the elections, revealed that the opposition, following their election losses, had given a fresh mandate to the terrorists to make the country ungovernable.
The favor General Buratai has done for Nigerians is to confirm that the threat from politicians that lost election is real. The Chief of Army Staff, by virtue of his position has access to the best intelligence about the dynamics of the politically motivated acts of terror being committed against Nigerians by those that want to take over the government at all cost. The affirmation by General Buratai that the Boko Haram threat is real is therefore a well-founded fear and informed position as he neither known for being flippant nor alarmist but has always been sounded patriotic in his intervention.
On the heels of what the Chief of Army Staff has said, we are drawing the attention of Nigerians to five critical points:
The opposition backed terrorist groups and foreign mercenaries to cause insecurity in several parts of the country prior to the elections in the hope that the resulting chaos will either allow them rig the polls or deplete potential votes for President Muhammadu Buhari in his strongholds.
The attacks by Boko Haram, bandits and other criminal elements are centered on areas where the opposition had predicted they would win but were roundly defeated, which could mean that Nigerians in these affected places are being punished by the opposition for voting their choice.
The opposition, especially Atiku Abubakar, categorically told the world that they will ensure that killings continue across the country because President Buhari was re-elected. The killings are fitting this predicted pattern.
Captured terrorists, victims and security agencies have repeatedly identified political players as drivers of the acts of terrorism that have been recorded.
The opposition had never hidden their glee each time there was an attack anywhere. They are quick to exploit the attacks for launching verbal and media attack on the government. This insecurity is what they are now leveraging on to plot a coup against the government as have been exposed by the Nigerian Army.
We are calling on the politicians that lost elections to have a rethink and immediately desist from sponsoring killings and supporting Boko Haram or any terror group to unleash deaths on Nigerians. There are legal proceedings to expressing dissatisfaction with election outcomes without resorting to bloodletting.
Not only is the Coalition of Human Rights Groups in Nigeria asking these politicians to withdraw support for the killers they have commissioned, they must also, because they engaged these terrorists to carry out the killings, come up with modalities for decommissioning and demobilizing the killer gangs while handing over inventories of weapons they issued to these killers so that law enforcement agencies can properly mop up the illegal firearms that are being used to carry out the killings.
Those that have been contracted to take the life of others must know that they face reckoning. Time has practically run out for them to repudiate the bloody contracts assigned to them by disgruntled politicians. They should immediately turn themselves in and name the politicians that gave them dirty jobs to do while also surrendering weapons in their possession. They must know that the military in Nigeria is capable of dealing them mortal blows once the era of persuasion is over. This will lead to certain death for the killers while their political masters are able to slink into the shadows to enjoy the proceeds of their corrupt past.
In conclusion, we are calling on the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, notably the Nigerian Army, to consider that the period of grace is over for those that have decided that Nigerians cannot or will not know peace. The battle should be taken beyond the theatre of operation; the identities of Boko Haram terrorists, bandits and killer mercenaries gunned down in battles should henceforth be investigated and confirmed so that those they are linked to can be tracked down. The military should co-operate with the Nigerian Police Force and Department of State Services (DSS) in this regard so that politicians or anyone found to be connected with these killers.
We want to urge the Nigerian Army and other branches of the Armed Forces not to relent in the commendable efforts they have made in saving the country from the killers unleashed on the rest of us by the failed politicians. It is apparent that the situation would have been far worse if Nigeria does not have committed leaders in the military.
Our appeal to the Federal Government is to repeat an earlier stated position that the situation at hand has gone past the one for political consideration. People that are devious enough to send killers after the electorate as punishment for not being voted do not require pampering; what they need is the activation of the full powers of the Nigerian state against them and the military and security agencies should be allowed to deploy this. They should get the backing to go after anyone found to be sponsoring these killers irrespective of whether there will be cries of clamp down on the opposition or not.
Thank you for listening.