HURIWA RAISES THE ALARM ON MISUSE OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE NIGERIAN AIRFORCE IN ENUGU STATE FOR ALLEGED LAND GRABS

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HURIWA RAISES THE ALARM ON MISUSE OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE NIGERIAN AIRFORCE IN ENUGU STATE FOR ALLEGED LAND GRABS
(FULL TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE)
Gentlemen of the media,
We in the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) have been inundated with petitions from all over the Country on the apparent professional misconduct of men and officers of some military outfits which goes against their constitutional mandates as clearly spelt out in sections 217-220 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended. These sections which comprehensively addresses the legal roles and functions of the Armed forces of Nigeria which are summed up thus:” THERE SHALL BE AN ARMED FORCES  FOR THE FEDERATION WHICH SHALL CONSIST OF AN ARMY, A NAVY, AN AIRFORCE AND SUCH OTHER BRANCHES OF THE ARMED FORCES FOR THE FEDERATION AS MAY BE ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY “.
Gentlemen of the media, we will list out the aforementioned sections of the Nigerian constitution at the end of this statement so Nigerians are made aware of the exact intendment and the mind of the law as the legal framework concerns the operations of the Nigerian military which  is basically to maintain the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is not the first time we are been alerted that the military are veering off into purely civil matters even when there are grave threats to  the nation.
Only two days ago there were demonstrations in the North including the home state of the President Muhammadu Buhari which is Katsina by Nigerians who were demonstrating the breaches of security and the violent attacks of their communities by armed hoodlums.
The entire Northern Nigeria are under one form of attacks or the other with thousands of civilians getting killed with communities getting burnt and destroyed. Armed Fulani herdsmen have killed inmocent farmers in Oguta in Imo State and many other places.
The President has also reportedly expressed disappointment that the military is not doing enough to check the expanding frontiers of terror attacks.
Yet, we are been told that officers of the Air Force of Nigeria are been misused and deployed to chase land owners around  Enugu because they (Air Force officers)  were allegedly bribed  by the Housing ministry officials to take people’s lands to sell to land SPECULATORS.
We will also give you examples of Benin City in Edo state and other instances of invasions of Nigerian communities by armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists which the Nigerian Air Force and the military should be rightly deployed to stabilize these places and allow citizens have unfettered enjoyment of their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms and Rights as enunciated in chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution but instead the Air Force of Nigeria is being deployed for illegality.
The following is a text of a petition sent to us from Enugu State accusing the Nigerian Air Force of being misused to chase land owners all around so as to extort these assets for the benefit of some godfathers in the Enugu State ministry of Housing who allegedly  sell dubiously to land SPECULATORS thereby depriving rightful owners their Right to own immovable property as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
The presentation goes thus: “RE: PROPOSED ILLEGAL TAKEOVER OF A PORTION OF OUR LAND PROPOSED NEW ENUGU CITY PROJECT  located at Ugwuaji Awkunanaw. Enugu South LGA. BY ENUGU STATE MINISTRY OF HOUSING ENUGU STATE: SOS APPEAL TO HURIWA”.
It says: “The attached letter to the Hon. Commissioner of Lands was indeed written at a time when the Ministry of Housing didn’t have a substantive Commissioner responsible for the smooth running of the ministry. Sole supervision of the Ministry was left in the hands of the Permanent Secretary who had to be “attentioned” in that letter.
Different level of resistance have had to be mounted against the actors of State who, in the guise of some false promises of development have turned Enugu State into the new epicenter for land grabbing activities.
In this particular instance, the situation was somewhat contained until Mr. Vitus Okechi was named the substantive Commissioner for Housing. He has, since then, sworn to annex all community lands to himself and a few cronies.
Unsurprisingly, besides the many disappointing moves he has made thus far, he has recently gone as far as engaging the services of men of the Nigerian Airforce, whose focus and objective should have been on external and territorial incursions into the Nigerian Airspace. How he manages to drag this expected-to-be-highly-disciplined officers to the role of land grabbing beats the imagination of the ordinary mind.
HURIWA is kindly requested to appeal to and to task the dear Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, whose antecedents suggest, is peace loving and subservient to the dictates of the rule of law to call this his lieutenant, Commissioner of Housing Mr. Vitus Okechi, to order, before hapless citizens resort to self-help and anarchy sets in.
HURIWA is equally kindly requested to draw the attention of the Heads of Security agencies to wit; The Chief of Air Staff, to this dangerous trend of men and officers of the Security architecture, abandoning their core responsibility and becoming undertakers for land grabbers in Enugu. Examples are rife everywhere.
PS: FYI ONLY
Members of the community have concluded arrangements to send petitions to the Office of the NSA, the Minister of Defence as well as to the Chief of Army Staff by Monday. A peaceful protest will follow immediately on the same day.
Now we have these allegations against the segment of the Nigerian Military at a time of grave threats to national security. Nigeria burns but those who should quench the fire are busy chasing rats literally. We read that
“As we speak, there are reports of the Fulani herdsmen converting forest reserves and farmlands in Ovia and Orhionmwon, from where they are said to launch alleged criminal attacks on unsuspecting farmers and travellers.
“Of note is the occupation of the Odighi forest where an unconfirmed report has it that there are over 2000 Fulani herdsmen who have forcefully occupied a vast expanse of the forest as their habitation and fortress.
“Apart from eye witness reports, the social media has been awash with videos of these young men either being offloaded in their hundreds from long haulage trucks or streaming in a dreadful surge in the streets of Benin City.”
Also Emeka Alex Duru, a senior Editor writing about breakdowns of law and order in the Country has the following words to tell us:
“The recent resolution by the House of Representatives on the Federal Government to check the influx of herdsmen from other African countries to Nigeria, demonstrates the extent of frustrations Nigerians have encountered in the hands of these unscrupulous pastoralists. Obviously flustered at the nefarious activities of the herders, the lawmakers are waking up to action after years of glossing over the precarious situation.
The House has thus, mandated its Committees on Police Affairs, Army and Interior to “interface with the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, respectively, on the best ways of policing and securing the Nigeria borders.”
Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje had earlier raised similar alert, calling on the Government to seek the review of the West African Protocols that allow free movement of citizens of member states, in order to check migration of herdsmen into the country. The governor observed that such movements always cause conflicts and destruction of human lives, stressing the need for the government to use the international restrictions created by the COVID-19 to stop the inflow of armed herdsmen to Nigeria”.
The Senior Editor also rightly stated that:
“Elsewhere, suspected herdsmen had struck in Ukpabi-Nimbo community of Enugu State on Monday, April 25, 2016, leaving in their trail 50 persons dead and properties destroyed.
Even the recent May 15 and 16 clashes in Lamurde Local Government Area, Adamawa State that left 73 killed, 81,110 displaced, houses and businesses destroyed, were attributed to activities of the foreign herdsmen. Similar ugly incidents had taken place in other parts of the country at various times. Many lives had been lost and property destroyed on such occasions, especially as responses to the crisis at both the federal and state levels had been very poor and ineffective.”
Gentlemen of the media, Nigeria is under imminent threat of war and there is a spike in violence all across as stated above, yet as we have seen the petition from Enugu State, the Air Force of Nigeria are being used for commercial Land related civil matter by the officials of Enugu State ministry of Housing. We urge the Chief of Air Staff to Step and stop these abuses and professional misconduct of his officers who are disgracing their esteemed uniform and professional careers.
We will end by quoting from Sections 217 to 220 of the Nigerian constitution thus:
Section 217 states: “ (1)  There  shall  be  an  armed  forces  for  the  Federation  which  shall consist of  an  army,  a  navy,  an  Air  Force  and such  other  branches  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation  as  may  be  established  by  an  Act of  the  National Assembly. (2)  The  Federation  shall,  subject to  an  Act  of  the  National  Assembly  made  in  that behalf,  equip  and  maintain  the armed  forces  as  may  be  considered  adequate  and  effective  for  the  purpose  of  – (a)  defending  Nigeria  from  external  aggression; (b)  maintaining  its  territorial  integrity  and  securing  its  borders  from  violation  on  land,  sea,  or  air; (c)  suppressing  insurrection  and  acting  in  aid  of  civil authorities  to  restore  order  when  called  upon  to  do  so  by  the President,  but subject to  such  conditions  as  may  be  prescribed  by  an  Act  of  the  National  Assembly; and (d)  performance  such  other  functions  as  may  be  prescribed  by  an  Act  of  the  National  Assembly. (3)  The  composition  of  the  officer  corps  an  other  ranks  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation  shall reflect  the  federal character  of  Nigeria.”
Section 218 states: “(1)  The  powers  of  the  President as  the  Commissioner-in-Chief  of  the  Armed  Forces  of  the  Federation  shall include  power  to  determine  the  operational  use  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation. (2)  The  powers  conferred  on  the  President by  subsection  (1)  of  this  section  shall include  power  to  appoint the  Chief of  Defence  staff,  the  Chief  of  Army  Staff,  the  Chief  of  Naval Staff,  the  Chief  of  Air  Staff  and  heads  of  any  other branches of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation  as  may  be  established  by  an  Act  of  the  National  Assembly. (3)  The  President may,  by  directions  in  writing  and  subject to  such  conditions  as  he  think  fit,  delegate  to  any member  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation  his  powers  relating  to  the  operational  use  of  the  Armed  Forces  of  the Federation. (4)  The  National  Assembly  shall  have  power  to  make  laws  for  the  regulation  of  – (a)  the  powers  exercisable  by  the  President as  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  Armed  Forces  of  the  Federation; and (b)  the  appointment,  promotion  and  disciplinary  control of  members  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation.
Section 219 states : “The  National  Assembly  shall  – (a)  in  giving  effect to  the  functions  specified  in  section  217  of  this Constitution; and   (b)  with  respect to  the  powers  exercisable  by  the  President under  section  218 of  this  Constitution,  by  an  Act, established  a  body  which  shall  comprise  such  members  as the National  Assembly  may  determine,  and  which  shall have  power  to  ensure  that  the  composition  of  the  armed  forces  of  the  Federation  shall reflect  the  federal  character  of Nigeria  in  the  manner  prescribed  in  the  section  217  of  this  Constitution.
Section 220 states: “ (1)  The  Federation  shall  establish  and  maintain  adequate  facilities  for  carrying  into  effect any  Act  of  the National  Assembly  providing  for  compulsory  military  training  or  military  service  for  citizens  of  Nigeria. (2)  Until an  Act  of  the  National  Assembly  is  made  in  that behalf  the  President  may  maintain  adequate  facilities in any  secondary  or  post-secondary  educational  institution  in  Nigeria  for  giving  military  training  in  any  such  institution which  desires  to  have  the  training.”
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO; NATIONAL COORDINATOR  OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
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