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AU Economic, Cultural Council Back Army on Human Rights
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AU Economic, Cultural Council Back Army on Human Rights

The African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) on Wednesday in Abuja, accused the global human rights body, Amnesty International of being sponsored to destabilise Nigeria.

Leader of the (ECOSOCC) delegation, Mr Tunji Ashaolu, told Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai at the Army Headquarters that far from the Army violating human rights, it is being professionalized and retrained through establishment of human rights desk in all its formations.

The AU delegation leader, told the Nigerian Army Chief that he has “reorganised theAarmy through professionalism and has retrained them. You have established human rights desk in all the Army formations. If you have been able to do this, I don’t see why some group would say that you are violating human rights. Someone violating human rights would not establish those desks.

“I think they have put this in place not only to undermine your office but the Nigerian government. The Amnesty International that is saying you are violating human rights is being sponsored by western people. I, on behalf of AU, Economic and Social Council, passed vote of confidence in the Nigerian Army. You have done it all, all you need is encouraging.”

Mr Ashaolu explained that “we are here to tell you that we are behind you. African Union is behind you. It means you have to do more. We are not partisan, we are not politicians. We can’t be used. Whatever we see, we say it. You have done a lot.”

He explained that the AU arm, (ECOSOCC), has the capacity and willingness to “step in in empowering the youths in the North East. Train them, empower them. Poverty has a link with poverty. We can partner with Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution to do this job.”

Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai said that the visit of the AU delegation “is a morale booster. This has increased our confidence that we are being appreciated not only in Nigeria but across the continent and globally. You have come with a message from the African Union. The AU Agenda 2063 of silencing the gun is a laudable initiative. It should be imbibed by all and sundry. We have had this challenge for a long time. The proliferation of Small Arms across the country.”

He said the Nigerian Army has been working with other security agencies to ensure that the menace of proliferation of small and light weapons are addressed.

Buratai further pointed out that the “border are properly being monitored to check smuggling, human trafficking and other vices. These are efforts supporting AU silencing the gun,” agenda.

“We are reinforcing the security at the borders.” He said the country has a national data on recovery of light weapons” and strategy to verify to know countries of origin of recovered weapons.

According to him, some Boko Haram terrorists that were captured had locally produced ammunition. He said such a situation is being addressed by the government. “We have taken steps to address the security situation across Nigeria.”

He urged everyone especially critics to have “a rethink and come to support the fight against insurgency. Come and focus effort to solve the socio-economic situation in the country; to ameliorate the suffering of the people instead of vilifying the men and and women working hard to make the country safe. We can’t go back to how it was. We cannot go back to 2015 until insurgency is eliminated.”

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