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HUMAN Rights Writers Association of Nigeria HURIWA, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to liberalise the access to gun licences to law-abiding Nigerians
According to HURIWA, this will enable the citizens defend themselves from those who are out to cut short their lives or kidnap them for ransom.
The rights group said it would be sending a letter to the National Assembly on the matter, where it will request that gun licencing be recognised as a human right.
The human rights group pointed out that the move has become imperative following what it described as the toxic and dangerous climate of fear and violence that Nigerian citizens are now exposed to.
HURIWA stated this during a press conference addressed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and its Secretary, Onwughalu Queen in Abuja on Friday where it also called on the Nigerian military to end its current operations in Orlu, Imo State and apply political resolution mechanisms to bring the situation under control.
According to HURIWA, the decision of the military to embark on the operation in Orlu should be reconsidered, adding that the military must not rely on hearsay or rumours to carry out such operations.
The group called on governors from the South East and other political leaders from the region to wake up and play their constitutional role of protecting the lives and property of the good people of Nigeria.
“The military operations in Orlu could not have been necessary if the civilian authority in Imo State is responsible and responsive to their constitutional duties of protecting the people,” HURIWA quipped.
The human rights group also called on the leadership and operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, to adhere strictly to the principles of rule of law and work to ensure that their operations are recognised by the laws to be passed by the State Houses of Assembly in the South East of Nigeria.
The military operation in Orlu needs to end or be carried in an open, transparent and accountable manner in such ways that the lives of residents of any part of Imo State are not endangered.
HURIWA asked the military to allow credible civil rights bodies to visit Orlu and assess the extent of damage and to interview the residents so as to stop the spread of information that may not even tally with realities on the ground
The group further called on political leadership in the South East to, without further delay, set up armed vigilante groups such as Amotekun in the South West to protect the people of the region.
HURIWA said the call for a lawfully established security outfit has become necessary because the Federal Government has no workable ideas on how to tackle insecurity in the country.
According to HURIWA, government officials are now speaking at cross purposes and making utterances that are in contrast with the law of the land.
The group recalled that the country’s minister of defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, retd., had during the week asked the citizens to protect themselves, wondering why such comments should come from an official of a government that has so far failed to stop the circulation of “sophisticated weapons of mass destruction that are wielded by terrorists and Fulani herdsmen.
HURIWA pointed out that the minister’s comment may be interpreted to say that all the security outfits in the country have collapsed.