Rights groups allege plot to derail anti-terror war

Nigerian-ArmyPro-democracy groups, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and Association of African Writers on Human and Peoples Rights (AFRIRIGHTS) yesterday expressed support for the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai over his bid to ensure security of lives and property of the citizenry.

They also alleged that there was “a well-coordinated plot by some forces opposed to the counter-terrorism war in the North East to plant sponsored but false newspaper stories to impugn his character.”

HURIWA and AFRIRIGHTS particularly claimed that some forces in and outside the military establishment have concluded plans to sponsor lies alleging violations of the assets declaration made by the Army Chief with specific reference to an offshore housing property in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. A joint statement by Emmanuel Onwubiko (HURIWA) and Esther Orok (AFRIRIGHTS) said: “Just recently, some faceless individuals under the aegis of concerned citizens tried to drag the good name and reputation of the Chief of Army Staff into the fray of the ignoble arms procurement deal. That effort fell flat on the face. They again embarked on another round of smear campaign, alleging that he has investments outside the country.

“Being concerned about the conduct of public officers and the need for propriety, our organization took it upon itself to investigate this allegation just like several others, and found out that they are untrue. The said investment was legitimately cumulated over long period of time and was declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau on his assumption of duty as Chief of Army Staff in July 2015. The records are there at the Bureau for all those interested to check.

“General Buratai has nothing to hide and leads by personal example which he encourages his subordinates to emulate. He was the first military service chief to declare his assets and asked all officers to do so. This is unprecedented and no doubt gave credence to the government’s anti-corruption crusade. Possibly, this and several other accomplishments are some of the reasons why the faceless detractors want to drag his name into the mud.

“ It is an attempt to distract him and the Army from clearing the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists and other good works. The welfare of troops has been enhanced. They now have uniforms and boots and other equipment, while training is being intensified. What is more appealing is the improved civil-military relations and respect for human rights.”

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