FG’s failure to secure Abuja-Kaduna highway shameful – HURIWA
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria HURIWA has expressed concern over the Federal Government’s reliance on mercenaries for the security of Abuja-Kaduna highway.
HURIWA calls for the dismissal of service chiefs and heads of security agencies, urging President Tinubu to take decisive action.
In a statement, HURIWA, a civil rights advocacy group, criticized the Federal Government’s approach to securing the notorious Abuja-Kaduna highway.
The group expressed dismay at the government’s decision to employ mercenaries associated with Asari Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, to safeguard the road plagued by terrorists.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, emphasized that the government, including the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force, had failed in their fundamental duty of protecting citizens as mandated by the 1999 Constitution.
The group demanded the immediate removal of all service chiefs and heads of security agencies by President Bola Tinubu, stating that their continued presence in office was unwarranted if non-state actors were being entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding Nigerians and national assets against internal and external threats.
This call for action follows Asari Dokubo’s recent disclosure after meeting with President Tinubu where he asserted that it was his personnel, employed by the Nigerian government, and not the Nigerian Army, who were responsible for the security of the Abuja-Kaduna road.
He further claimed involvement in various military operations across several states.
The deteriorating security situation on the Abuja-Kaduna highway was highlighted by a devastating attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train in Katari, Kaduna State, on 28 March 2022. The incident resulted in numerous casualties and the abduction of several individuals, with a significant ransom paid for their release over six months later.
In addition, reports have indicated that the Muhammadu Buhari administration awarding a substantial pipeline surveillance and protection contract to a private firm, Tantita Security Services, led by former militant leader Government Ekpemepulo, popularly known as Tompolo.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko called on the Federal Government to provide transparency regarding the nature of the quasi-military contracts awarded to Asari Dokubo and his operations in various parts of the country.
The group questioned the legal basis for these mercenary activities and raised concerns about the government’s decision to employ private mercenaries while withholding gun licenses from organizations such as Amotekun, Ebube Agu, Benue Guards, and other Nigerians seeking self-protection.
Highlighting the contradiction, HURIWA questioned the distinction between these mercenaries and the so-called unknown gunmen operating in the South-East, as admitted by Asari Dokubo.
The group also sought clarification on whether the Federal Government had deployed private mercenaries to the South-East and other regions of the country.
HURIWA urged the newly elected President to dismiss all service chiefs and heads of security agencies. This move it says would enable the new administration to take decisive action against terrorists, kidnappers, and freelance armed criminals who continue to pose a threat nationwide.