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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Over 40 Human Rights Group Petitions FG Over Asari Dokubo Private Army’s Atrocities In South-East

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A coalition of South East democracy, human rights, security and safety Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the aegis of the Coalition for the Defense of Southeast Citizens and Properties, has asked the Federal Government to prosecute Asari Dokubo for murder, arson, war crimes in the South East region.

The coalition, an amalgam of over forty advocacy organizations in Nigeria and diaspora, made the call in a press statement dated October 12, 2023, and addressed to the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.

The group also called on the attention of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, the Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, SAN, in the statement.

In the document entitled “RE: Asari Dokubo’s Royal Switch Services (private military company) – constitute a panel of inquiry for full investigation of its activities in the southeast between 2020 – 2023 with a view to prosecute him for murder, arson and war crimes within the period under review”, the group requested the Federal Government to constitute a Panel of Inquiry into Asari Dokubo’s Royal Switch Services (Private Military Company).

It could be recalled that Dokubo had claimed that he was officially engaged by the Federal Government to carry out covert operations in the South East, namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.

Reacting to the orgy of violence, destruction, devastation and other horrible crimes recently witnessed in the once most peaceful region, the South East of Nigeria, the coalition conducted an extensive investigation and information gathering and indicted Asari Dokubo and his Royal Switch Services.

The group urged the Federal Government to “set up a Panel of Inquiry to investigate the actual activities and level of involvement of Dokubo’s Royal Switch Servies (Private Militia) in the Southeast… identifying and determining cost of lives and properties lost” and if found culpable, make him to “face the full wrath of the law.”

The statement, signed by Mr. Okoro Chinedum Benedict of OCHIE Igbo and Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi of Intersociety, reads in full:

“We are a Coalition of Southeast Democracy, Human Rights, Security and Safety Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Coalition for the Defense of Southeast Citizens and Properties. The coalition is an amalgam of over forty (40) advocacy organizations’, both in and outside Nigeria.

The aim of the coalition is to tackle insecurity in the Southeast by focusing and addressing issues that gave rise to insecurity in the zone; with a view to proffering timeless solutions, whilst providing a roadmap for the economic reconstruction of the zone for meaningful engagement of the citizenry.

We write to request for the Federal Government to constitute a Panel of Inquiry into Asari Dokubo’s Royal Switch Services (Private Military Company) which he claims has the express imprimatur of the Presidency and was OFFICIALLY engaged by the Federal Government for covert operations in the Southeast; specifically in Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi States.

Clearly, under the Private Guard Companies Act of 1986 and the Private Guard Companies Regulations of 2018, section 1 states the mode of licensing and operation for Private Guard Companies. Similarly, Sections 35 and 36 designates the Minister of Interior or an officer authorized by him, to act as the licensing authority to any such company. Astonishingly, Asari Dokubo’s Royal Switch Services has NO SUCH APPROVAL.

Furthermore, under the Nigerian Law, Section II of the Firearms Act explicitly states that ‘No person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm ….except in accordance with a license granted by the President acting in his discretion.’ Strangely, Asari’s Royal Switch Company has NO PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL.

From the above extant laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria, it is abundantly clear that Asari Dokubo’s Royal Switch Services never met the above constitutional conditions and approvals. Therefore, it is an illegal gun running outfit designed for the execution of the people of the Southeast.

Indecently, in a viral video taken from one of his numerous loquacious media appearances. Asari was SPECIFIC that HIS MEN had carried out security and combatant duties naturally reserved for the Nigerian military in the Southeast.

We have diligently carried out extensive investigations on some of his outbursts, wherein he verily boasted of how he killed citizens of the Southeast during his ILLEGAL operations in the region.

Contemptibly, his comments were similar to the wild excitement often exhibited by wanton boys (in high tones and under some influence) when advertising their destructive and destabilizing tendencies.

Impudently, whilst boasting of his exploits and conquests, Asari employed quite derogatory, demeaning and incendiary remarks in describing the people of the Southeast and bragged about how he killed them during his ILLEGAL engagement in the Southeast.

Evidently, the Podcast of the interview anchored by Seun Okinbaloye of Channels TV on August 3, 2023, between Asari Dokubo and Deji Adeyanju is an Open-Source Intelligence material which is before the whole world. This evidence is more than sufficient for the Federal Government to approve our request for the constitution of a Panel of Inquiry.

Unarguably, the period under review (2020 – 2023) in the Southeast was nightmarish and bloody; and lives and properties worth billions of dollars were lost as a result of the operation of Asari and his men in the region.

 

Besides the civil war, the Southeast has never witnessed such scale of violence, destruction and devastation.

Consequently, on August 12, 2023 Daily Independent Newspaper reported that ‘the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, has denied this claim, saying, the Army had never conduct­ed an operation in any part of the country in collaboration with Asari-Dokubo’s men.’

On August 15, 2023, Sola Adebayo of the Leadership Newspaper wrote under the caption ‘Asari-Dokubo: Tinubu Bars N’Delta Ex-Agitator From Aso Rock’, he stated clearly how worried the President had become with Asari’s vituperations, whilst addressing the press after visiting him in Aso Rock.

The coalition frowns at the way and manner that President Tinubu and the Nigerian army have hurriedly distanced themselves from Asari Dokubo, without making it a point of duty to apprehend him and make him face the law.

We recount with pain the reckless and inchoate utterances of Asari each time he talks about Ndigbo. We dare to say that Asari MUST be made to face the law.

On August 13, 2023 Obi Nwakanma wrote in Vanguard Newspaper that ‘Asari’s contract clearly was to do what government cannot legitimately do, including killing of innocent Nigerians, and subvert an entire region, and provide the Buhari administration ultimate deniability.’ Obi Nwakanma’s words capture the burgeoning mindset and disposition of the people of the Southeast towards the Federal Government on this matter.

Going forward, it is important for the Tinubu-led administration to MAKE CATEGORICAL STATEMENT on the false flag operations in the Southeast, which is intended to put the region in chaos; as we have now resolved to explore all measures within the frame of the law to put a stop to it.

Sequel to the above, we demand as follows:

⦁ That the Federal Government should set up a Panel of Inquiry to investigate the actual activities and level of involvement of Asari’s Royal Switch Servies (Private Militia) in the Southeast; with a view to identifying and determining cost of lives and properties lost.

⦁ Given the comment of the army distancing themselves from Asari’s claim, there is need to investigate and confirm who engaged Asari, why and for what purposes? The Panel is to undercover the extent of damage and causalities of Asari’s private army’s operation in the Southeast.

⦁ Finally, if found culpable, we demand that Asari be made to face the FULL WRATH of the law.
We strongly believe that this would be the journey towards genuine healing, reconciliation and rehabilitation of those that have lost person(s), properties and means of livelihood as a result of Asari’s engagement in the Southeast.

We look forward to your impressive response. Please accept the assurances of our profound regards.”

The letter was copied to the President and Commander-in-Chief, Nigerian Armed Forces, National Council of State, Directorate of Military Intelligence, Abuja, Director General, State Security Services, Abuja, Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Abuja, Inspector General, Nigerian Police Force, Abuja, Chief of Defense Staff, Abuja, Minister of Defense, Abuja, American Embassy, Abuja, British Embassy, Abuja, European Union Commission, Abuja, and United Nations Office, Abuja.

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