Rights Group Condemns Military Siege on South-east

The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, CRRAN, has asked the federal government to tell Nigerians the reasons for the current siege on the South-east by the military when there was no major political or civil unrest in the region, saying that the development was a major assault on the freedom of movement of Ndigbo as a people.
The military suddenly deployed troops in the whole of the South-east under its “Operation Python Dance,” last week, leading to angry reactions from a cross-section of the Igbo.
In a statement in Enugu last night, CRRAN president Olu Omatayo  noted that, “The Southeast states of Nigeria which had hitherto been under Kings’ peace has come under siege as the men of Nigerian Army took over major roads of the states with massive deployment of its personnel in its so-called ‘Operation Python Dance’.
The statement was entitled “Militarization of South-East Nigeria: A Clear Case of Grave Violation of the Rights to Freedom of Movement and Freedom from Discrimination.”
The statement reads:“The question that readily comes to mind is, what is the reason for this deliberate assault on the freedom of movement of the inhabitants of this region?
“To enter the south-east of Nigeria through the only road from western Nigeria, the Head Bridge, Onitsha, is like a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Massive presence of the military which mounted several roadblocks in this region suggests a region under siege.
“The several roadblocks have created terrible traffic hold-ups in the affected areas.
The present federal government led by General Muhammadu Buhari, rtd, though a civilian regime, has not come to terms that, in any democratic society, the fundamental rights of the citizens prevail. There has not been any incident or glaring acts of threat to the peace by any group in the region to support this invasion.
“The services of the Nigerain Army are needed more in northeast Nigeria where the dreaded armed militia Boko Haram holds sway.
“Section 42 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides thus: A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
“(b) Be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions are not made subject.
“It is submitted that the present action of the Federal Government, through the Chief of Army Staff is discrimination against this region, which has resulted in grave infringement on the right to freedom of movement of the people of the zone thereby creating untold hardship on the people and also curtailed business activities in the zone.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately remove this army of occupation in order to stop the untold hardship on the innocent people of the zone. The federal government should be wary of its worsening human rights record, which has within less than two years witnessed the worst rights violation since the advent of democracy in this country in 1999. From Zaria killings to Onitsha killings, it shows an unrepentant regime.
“The Nigeria Police which is the lawful security outfit to maintain internal law and security in a democratic setting has not stated that it is incapable of maintaining law and order in the zone. We therefore, in unequivocal terms, condemn the continued siege on southeast Nigeria by the Nigeria Army.”

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