The Osita Chidoka Campaign Organization is assembling a team of lawyers and Rights activists with a view to monitoring rights violations by troops deployed to the South East for military operations.
The organisation in a statement issued on Monday in Awka signed by its Director of Media, Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie, said it has noted the heavy deployment of troops and weapons to South East states by the military for its operation, code-named ‘Exercise Egwu Eke II’ (Python Dance II) in the region.
“Already, we have lawyers and human rights activists who have volunteered to work with us on pro bono basis to ensure that any act of infraction against the constitutionally guaranteed rights of any of our people is immediately taken up through legal and constitutional means,” the organisation said.
It recalled that earlier on September 3, 2017, “We had issued a statement cautioning the Federal Government and security agencies against the use of force in handling issues related to the agitation in the region.
“Whereas we are not against any genuine effort to ensure security of life and property and rid our region of criminal elements, we are equally concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our regular citizens who are now falling victim of reported abuses and infractions by unscrupulous uniformed men as usually associated with such operations, some of such resulting in avoidable loss of lives, as now being witnessed in the region.
“The Osita Chidoka Campaign Organization is therefore not leaving anything to chance regarding this operation, which involves raids, stop and search, roadblocks, checkpoints and show of force, even when the region is not at war.
“While we call on all our citizens to be peaceful and law-abiding, we will definitely not accept any deliberate act of provocation, harassment or infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of our people by uniformed men, and for this we demand from the military high command, assurances of utmost professionalism and strict observance to international best practices and approved rules of engagement.
“Consequently, our campaign has set up strong machinery that will closely monitor issues and ensure that cases of infraction against the constitutionally guaranteed rights of our people are immediately taken up whenever and wherever they occur during this trying time.
“In the light of this, our citizens are availed of our campaign website (www.ositachidoka.com.ng) and mobile app (ositadinma2017 on play store) to upload pictures and videos, and report any infringement on their rights. They can also make use of phone numbers on our website, mobile app and fliers to share useful information accordingly.
“Our sole aim is to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of innocent and law-abiding citizens are ultimately guaranteed. On this, we are ready and willing to work with all relevant government agencies as well as well-meaning individuals and groups.”
The statement added that the “Osita Chidoka Campaign and our great party, the United Progressive Party (UPP) believe in the people. We believe in their dignity and will therefore do all, without fear, to ensure that their rights as individuals under the constitution are not infringed upon.
We are aware of the enormous confidence our people repose in us and we will not let them down, even as we work hard to ensure the success of the candidate with their mandate, Chief Osita Chidoka in the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election.”