Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Sunday, said it is shameful the Federal Government employed mercenaries working for leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, to protect the notorious and terrorist-saturated Abuja-Kaduna road.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the government, especially the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force have failed in their primary duty of protection of the citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
The group also demanded the immediate sacking of all service chiefs and heads of security agencies by President Bola Tinubu, saying they don’t deserve to be in office if non-state actors are being employed to do their constitutional responsibilities of protecting Nigerians and other assets in the country against internal and external aggression.
HURIWA’s call for action is coming days after Dokubo told reporters at the State House on Friday after meeting with President Tinubu that his men “employed by Nigerian government” are the ones securing Abuja-Kaduna road and not Nigerian Army as we are made to believe.
The former militant said, “I am a participant in this war. I fight on the side of the government of the Nigerian state in Plateau, Niger, Anambra, Imo, Abia and Rivers. And in Abuja today, you are travelling to Kaduna on this road. It is not the army that makes it possible for you to travel to Abuja or travel to Kaduna, and vice versa. It is my men, employed by the government of the Nigerian state, stationed in Niger.
“Today, you travel to Baga, you go to Shiroro, you go to Wase. We have lost so many men and in all these engagements, we don’t even have one per cent of the armament deployed by the Nigerian military. One per cent and we have had resounding success.”
On 28 March 2022, an Abuja–Kaduna train was attacked in Katari, Kaduna State, killing scores whilst hundreds were kidnapped and millions of naira paid before the marauders release their hostages over six months later.
Earlier, there were revelations that the Muhammadu Buhari administration gave multi-billion pipeline surveillance and protection contract to a private firm, Tantita Security Services led by a former militant leader, Government Ekpemepulo, popularly known as Tompolo.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The Federal Government owes Nigerians the obligation of disclosing the nature of quasi-military contracts given to Asari Dokubo that he said he is doing in parts of the country.
“On what legal footing are those mercenary duties carried out by Asari Dakubo and why is government making use of private mercenaries but has not openly granted gun licences to Amotekun, Ebube Agu, Benue Guards, and other Nigerians interested in procuring such to protect themselves?
“What is the difference between these mercenaries and the so-called unknown gunmen in the South-East going by the admission of Asari Dakubo and is it the Federal Government that deployed private mercenaries to the South-East and other parts of the Federation?
“Secondly, we ask that the new President sack all the service chiefs and heads of security agencies so that the new government can begin a clean sweep of terrorists, kidnappers and freelance armed killers still operating all across Nigeria.