The group demands capital punishment for corrupt public officials in the defence and policing sectors.
Following allegations of widespread corruption in the procurement system of the nation’s defence and policing institutions, The Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked the Presidency and the National Assembly to invite internationally reputable auditing firm to undertake comprehensive forensic audit of Defence and police budgets from 1982 to date.
The group also canvassed the speedy amendments of Acts establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to specifically make it a capital offence punishable by the death penalty for any proven case of corruption and economic crime established against any public official in the Defence and policing sectors.
In a joint statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, the group said that corruption in these two key national sectors have not only undermined national security, but also constitute grave threat to the sovereignty of Nigeria.
It stated that the recent allegation by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shetima, that the outlawed armed insurgency group is better armed than the Nigerian military made it imperative that the huge defence and police budgets over the years be audited to ascertain why these critical sectors are still grossly ill-equipped and ill-motivated.
The group said, “As a pragmatic way out of this quagmire in which we have found ourselves, we urge the presidency and the National Assembly to Commission Independent reputable firms of forensic auditors from across the developed world to undertake comprehensive audits of the defence and police budgets from 1982 to date to determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegation that it was since 1982 that the last major procurement of modern combat weapons for Nigerian armed forces officially took place.”
HURIWA also said the forensic investigation of the activities of the officers of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, should be undertaken to determine how divergent freelance armed hoodlums obtain small arms and assorted weapons which they deploy to systematically destabilize Nigeria through calculated terrorism and other criminal acts of brigandage and large scale killings of villagers in different parts of Northern Nigeria.
The group stated that it was inconceivable that the border communities would be heavily flooded by assorted weapons currently in use by armed insurgents without the collaboration of officers of the NCS and illegal arms importers and smugglers.
“We are disturbed by the ongoing campaign of terrorism and brigandage going on at different parts of North East Nigeria which have unfortunately resulted in the killings of over 5000 innocent Nigerians, including the forced abduction of teenage school girls in Chibok Local Council Area of Borno State,” It said.
The group lamented the spectacular failure of intelligence and the apparent inability of the Nigerian security agencies to sufficiently defeat these divergent armed freelance fighters who have gravely undermined Nigeria’s national security and threatened in a very serious way, Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
HURIWA demanded the introduction of the death penalty for criminal act of corruption in the defence and police sectors.
“From abundance of evidence, it has been scientifically proven that a nation that cannot defeat armed hoodlums is on the verge of surrendering her sovereignty.
“Our current crises of widespread insecurity came about because of a groundswell of corruption in the opaque procurement mechanisms in practice in Nigeria’s defence and police sectors.”0