By Ekamma UBA, Assistant Investigator Editor, Lagos/
LAGOS- APPARENTLY piqued by the manner in which President Muhammadu Buhari is handling the spate of insecurity in the country and the barefaced flagrance by which fundamental rights of the citizenry were trampled upon by agents of law enforcement under his watch, a rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria HURIWA has again, condemned the President’s stance in strong terms. Specifically, the group chides security agents for arresting a hapless Journalist with The Punch newspapers, Solomon Odeniyi who was carrying out his lawful duty as such even as it commends the verdict of ECOWAS court which slammed the federal government with a N30million damages for the unlawful detention and inhuman treatment of an activist, Agba Jalingo.
A statement by the President of the group, Emmanuel Onwubiko made available to CrimeWorld magazine online which carpeted the Muhammdu Buhari for the lackluster and inertia to the plight of the Nigerian Citizens in the hands of Fulani herdsmen and bandits lamented the kid gloves with which these enemies of society were being treated. Comrade Onwubiko noted, “For the umpteenth time, the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has blamed the apparent nepotistic enforcement of the relevant anti-terror law on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari and Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces for the proliferation of armed attacks by Fulani armed herdsmen and terrorists.
HURIWA has also tasked the heads of the security forces to remember that they will be held to account in the near future for their apparent compromises with terrorists just because these terrorists share same Ethnicity and religion with them even as the Rights group said it was unfortunate that persons in positions of authority in the armed forces of Nigeria are pandering to their Ethnicity and other clandestine considerations in total violations of the clear provisions of the Nigerian Constitution which is the nation’s Grand norm; adding, “It is regrettable that whereas the central government go about viciously attacking the likes of Sunday Igboho of the Yoruba nation agitation and has allegedly successfully plucked off the fugitive head of the proscribed indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from the streets of Nairobi in Kenya and brought him back to Nigeria, this same President Muhammadu Buhari is pampering his kinsmen the Fulani armed herdsmen and the mostly Fulani terrorists who are busy kidnapping school children and citizens directly from their homes but government has so far continued with the selective application of law enforcement measures.
This selective act of confronting those threatening the peace of Nigeria and challenging the authority of government is the reason for the unprecedented security challenges that we now face”. “It is unfortunate that the President approved the alleged forceful abduction of Nnamdi Kanu against the norms of international law and has so far invested substantial amount of resources and troops to crush members of the Eastern Security Network originally set up by Igbo youths to check the proliferation of armed attacks by Fulani armed herdsmen and then this same President sent DSS in the middle of the night to invade the home of Sunday Igboho in Ibadan and killed his supporters and family members but this President has failed to go after terrorists even in Katsina his home State and the North West only because these armed terrorists are Fulani Moslems. These terrorists have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of commoners and members of the security forces and still they are being pampered.”
Continuing, Onwubiko noted, “Now a media quoted the Nigerian Police Force as saying that the tracking machine has collapsed and so they can’t trace the armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists in the North West and these same Police from the Inspector General of Police had made a heavy weather of killing many members of the Eastern Security Network in the South East of Nigeria but now that they are tasked by Nigerians to go after armed bandits and Fulani terrorists that even a Moslem Cleric Ahmad Gumi often meet in their forests hideouts, the police authority is now being disingenuous by lying through their tongues that their tracing machine collapsed then the Army also lied by saying that bandits wear shoes made with cow legs even as there are evidence to show that the photos circulated as that of armed Fulani terrorists in the North West were the pictures procured from East Africa Forests guardsmen who caught some poachers of wild lives and discovered their innovative ideas of wearing shoes made with animal foot to beat the security measures put in place against illegal poaching of endangered species of wild lives in East Africa. The President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is not sincere with the fight on terror and especially in the North West of Nigeria “.
HURIWA said the Federal government has extended to even the modality of fighting war against insecurity the persistent observation by President Buhari of the illegal and treacherous act of implementing a policy of appointing only Fulani/Hausa/Kanuri Northern Moslems into all sensitive internal and external security architectures of the Nigerian State; stressing, “There is now nepotism and favouritism on the application of the law against terrorists and agitators. Whereas peaceful agitators are treated as terrorists and crushed decisively, the real terrorists now baptised with a soft name of bandits only because they are Fulanis are being treated like sacred cows who are above the law.
The selective attitudes and tendencies of President Muhammadu Buhari and heads of internal security institutions of pampering Armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists destroying the entire North West of Nigeria have led to the heightened statistics of recorded terrorists attacks in parts of Nigeria. Only few days back, no fewer than 42 persons were reportedly killed in separate attacks in two local councils of Benue State just as it was gathered that the attacks took place in Katsina Ala and Gwer West local councils of the state.” HURIWA which quoted media reports said residents in the affected communities of Shikaan, Mbagena and Kpav, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attackers suspected to be Fulani herdsmen invaded their communities in the early hours of Thursday and started killing people just as the numbers of Casualties were put at 36.
HURIWA recalled too that few days back suspected herdsmen allegedly killed a youth leader known as Olori Odo, injure two others in Ibadan. The youth leader, who is popularly known as Olori Odo, was shot by the Fulani herdsmen who invaded Akinkunmi village, in Akinyele local government area. Akinkunmi village is close to Kara market where cattle, rams and other livestock are being sold. HURIWA recalled too that terrorists otherwise called Armed bandits by the government had in a raid last night (Saturday) abducted the Emir of Kajuru and 13 members of his family.”
The rights group stated further while citing media reports which says that the latest terror attack in Kaduna was confirmed by a cabinet member of the Emir even as it can be recalled that terrorists bandits have in the recent time, in Kaduna and its environs, intensified their terrorist activities by killing and kidnapping innocent people for ransom in the State. It condemned the kidnap of the 2nd class Emir, about 85 years old who was kidnapped with three women, two of his grand children, three of his aides and five others to an unknown destination just as credible report said: “Just a day before the incident, the Emir summoned a security meeting about a potential ploy to kidnap him but, unfortunately, the security agents didn’t act on it.”
The Kajuru Emirate is about 40 minutes drive to Kaduna town. The civil rights organization said it is now clear that there are moles embedded within the Federal government and the security forces that actively provide moral assistance to the terrorists which is why they have the boldness to now operate inside metropolis of Kaduna and Zaria to kidnap people; maintaining, “It is unfortunate that the Nigerian President is actually not been sincere with the fight against insecurity because the failures of the security forces to actually confront these terrorists shows that they may have received internal instruction not to go hard on the terrorists only because they share same religious and ethnic affiliations with the President and most of the heads if the internal and external security institutions”.
We must restate that the Chiefs of Army, Navy, Comptroller Generals of Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Inspector General of Police, Director Generals of Department of State Services and National Intelligence Agency are all Fulani and/or Kanuri Northern Moslems and yet the armed terrorists destroying all of North West are Fulanis and are been allowed to carry on with attacking Nigerians including school children and all we get from the man in charge of the operations of the armed forces as their Commander-in-Chief who is the President of Nigeria is empty rhetorical statements just as the same President goes out of his way to personally ensure that the armed operatives carry out clinical attacks against Indigenous peoples of Biafra and Sunday Igboho only for agitating for self determination”.
The reported arrest by the law enforcement officers of the reporter of The PUNCH Newspapers from the premises of Dunamis Church in Abuja has been described as another level of persistent attacks of the media by the unruly goons working for President Muhammadu Buhari just as the Rights group has asked that the reporter be released unconditionally. HURIWA recalled that security operatives had reportedly arrested a PUNCH Newspapers correspondent, Solomon Odeniyi at Dunamis Church in Abuja. The journalist was at the church on Sunday to cover a live event, saying, “We want the international community to take special note that there is an ongoing move to install a full blown dictatorial regime in Nigeria and the steps adopted against the media are in tandem with systematic approach to institutionalization of tyranny in Nigeria.
The World must act to stop Nigeria from collapsing because once dictatorship takes firmed ground, the nation will inevitably collapse”. The Rights Advocacy Group said the journalist Mr. Solomon was carrying out his job when he was identified and whisked away just as he has not been allowed to either pick his calls or contact anyone, an action the Rights group described as unconstitutional and unlawful. HURIWA recalled that penultimate Sunday, the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested some activists at Dunamis also during church service, for wearing “BuhariMustGo” shirts and are still been kept in solitary confinement.
Reacting to this latest act of systematic and methodical violations by the federal government of the Constitutionally guaranteed function of the media as spelt out in Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended which confers on the media the role as the Vanguard and conscience of the nation, HURIWA said it is totally absurd, crude, primitive, reprehensible and is an indescribable and egregious assault to the constitutional democracy that we claim to be practicing. In a statement by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the National Coordinator and the Director of Media Affairs Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA upbraided President Buhari’s government for finding obscene satisfaction in violently denying media workers their rights to practice their legitimate duties.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to order the release of the PUNCH correspondent and we ask the government to stop all kinds of coordinated attacks against media freedoms and media practitioners because the media is an essential element of constitutional democracy without which we will slide into anarchy and tyranny of one man’s brute force and dictatorial oppression and suppression of the fundamental human rights of the citizens of Nigeria who by law made clear in the Constitution by virtue of section 14 are the owners of the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and who have donated the legitimacy to government officials to exercise authority for a tenured period after which they must hand over to another set of elected officials who have the mandate of the people of Nigeria.
Relatedly, HURIWA has commended the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja for the landmark verdict that “ordered the Federal Government to pay journalist Agba Jalingo N30m as compensation for ill-treating and torturing him while in detention in Cross River state.” HURIWA quoted the ECOWAS court as ruling thus: “Agba Jalingo was arrested and chained to a deep freezer for about 34 days without being charged to court, brutalized and dehumanized. This action taken on Jalingo’s behalf by SERAP seeks from this court reparation for inhuman treatment and torture meted out to him. We have looked at the evidence before us. There was no answer as to the facts that Jalingo was arrested and illegally detained, brutalized and dehumanized.” “This is against international human rights treaties, particularly the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party. The Nigerian government has flouted the provisions of these treaties on international fair trial standards.”
For these reasons, on the claims of compensation for ill-treatment and torture, SERAP has been able to establish the claims. We condemn the Nigerian government for these acts, and hereby award compensation of N30m to Mr Jalingo for violations of his human rights. The Nigerian government must comply with the order of the court within three months, and file a process to this court to this effect.” HURIWA recalled that in the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/10/2020, SERAP argued that: “The sole objective of the government of Nigeria and the Cross River state government of governor Ben Ayade is to perpetually keep Agba Jalingo in arbitrary detention and to silence him simply for expressing critical views and carrying out his legitimate job as journalist.”
The suit, read in part: “The harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecution and arbitrary detention of Agba Jalingo simply for exercising his human rights violate Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, including under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which the country is a state party.” The government of Nigeria and the Cross-River state government of Governor Ben Ayade have via the charges of terrorism and treason and denial of bail to Agba Jalingo, violated and continued to breach his human rights.”
SERAP had contended successfully that Agba Jalingo is being unfairly prosecuted because of his reporting in his online news outlet, Cross River Watch, which alleged that the Cross Rivers State Governor diverted the sum of N500 Million, belonging to the Cross-River Micro Finance Bank.” “On 22nd August 2019, the Nigeria Police, through its special anti-robbery squad arrested Agba Jalingo.
On 23rd August 2019, Mr. Jalingo was transferred to a detention facility run by the anti-cult and anti-kidnapping police in Calabar, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Cross River state and was held there for days before his arraignment on 31st August, 2019.” HURIWA has therefore asked President Muhammadu Buhari to comply forthwith and meet the obligations imposed on government by the unambiguous judgment by the ECOWAS Court as aforementioned.”