A certain Emmanuel Otairu who identified himself as someone attached to Center for international and strategy studies Abuja penned a vexatious, libellous, false and jaundiced piece which he apparently syndicated a shortwhile ago which i have just read on the website of an online media in which this fictitious or hired hack writer made a number of allegations which are not just ridiculous, laughable, fictitious and infantile but criminally libellous.
This brief rejoinder to those unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations made up of diatribe and inuendos will not descend to the gutter level that the so-called Emmanuel Otairu took himself and his opinionated hogwash to because as a professionally trained media practitioner with over two decades of experience, I’m vast in media law to know when not to elevate pure fabrications to the media space which ought to be objective, balanced and truthful.
But the import of this rejoinder is to make quick points to first and foremost inform this delusional writer that HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is a reputable civil society organisation set up about ten years ago as the mouthpiece of the oppressed, disaffected, distressed and abused persons and to partner with corporate individuals and institutions to engage in constructive dialogues on how best to promote the human rights of Nigerians of all Ethno religious orientations and even those who profess no religion because we are totally non-religious and non-political.
HURIWA has been around long enough all through the periods of the Obasanjo, Yaradua/Goodluck and now Muhammadu Buhari’s administrations and we have consistently preached the message of human Rights and the supremacy of the Rule of law and the Constitution.
We have in the last ten years organised over two dozen human rights lectures covering extensive thematic areas including human trafficking, energy rights, media rights, Gender and equality and disability rights amongst others..
Only last year we organised a well reported national HUMAN rights lecture during which time we honoured many distinguished personalities and institutions including but not limited to the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai for the introduction of the HUMAN RIGHTS DESK for the Nigeria Army. Our last book made up of 1014 pages titled WHO CARES ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS? was bought in great quantity and circulated to Army formations. We don’t want to believe that the PR/Media department of the Army made up of intelligent people or the Chief of Army Staff, a well learned officer could have procured this poor writer Emmanuel Otairu to originate these falsehoods against a very credible organization like HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA). We never wanted to honour this writer with a filthy response like the way he wrote but we decided to correct some absolutely and unacceptable falsehoods he has succeeded in deceiving the online publishers to upload so the readers will have the benefit of hindsight. We are not perturbed by his threat to circulate our call logs because as a well known human rights campaigner my telephone communications are minitored by the intelligence community.
In our human rights and strategic media interventions we have had to defend the Internally displaced persons, Women in abusive marriages, soldiers and members of the security forces whose rights are abused and relationships, communities experiencing human rights violations and we have also defended the poor and unemployed. We have very often condemned attacks and killings of soldiers and Police by assailants and criminals. We believe in the sacredness of life. We have also thrown our weight to the fight against corruption and the counter terror war against boko haram terrorists. We have defended educational rights of children on the streets and we have defended girls forced into early marriages. We defended the people of Zamfara state who were attacked by cattle rustlers. So in all of these why didn’t this Emmanuel Otairu also brand HURIWA as the NGO wing of the ARMY or IDPs or Almajiris? Wonders shall never end especially with cash-and- carry hack writers.
We defended the petty traders in Lagos when the Lagos state government banned street trading and we have continued to defend petty traders in Abuja. We defended the current Director General of the Department of State services when some politicians kicked against his appointment because of allegations that he was the Security head of the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential campaign council. We defended President Muhammadu Buhari when he spent many days in foreign hospital and people were playing politics with his health status. We canvassed the appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari of the representative of the millions of physically challenged persons. We are also defending the human rights of members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) who have had brushes with the police and soldiers.
We are opposed to the military occupation of the South East of Nigeria and we have criticised the lethargic attitudes of the federal governments of Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards checking incessant violent attacks of farming communities by armed Fulani herdsmen. We criticised Jonathan for not battling comprehensively the boko haram terrorists even when the then opposition party members including the current President and governor of Kaduna State lambasted Jonathan for going after boko haram terrorists and imposing emergency rules in three states of North East of Nigeria.
HURIWA defended the people of Agatu of Benue:Dogo Nahawa in Jos, and Barkin Ladi of PLATEAU STATE and Southern KAduna and indeed Tivland when they were attacked by armed Fulani herdsmen.
We criticised jungle justice and parade of suspects and we have been at the forefront of defending the rights of citizens who canvassed for self determination because we know that international human rights law so recognised this right.
We have done over 100,000 media interventions on diverse issues which this lazy writer could have easily Googled from the World Wide Net(INTERNET).
We have authored Monthly magazines ICONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS and we run regular columns locally and internationally. We run an online newspaper- www.thenigerianinsidernews.com.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is a membership organisation opened to those who are qualified. We are independent and we are not the NGO wing of any group whatsoever and we do our work without demanding payments.
As a Non- profit body we welcome donations even from Emmanuel Otairu if he is moved by the Holy Spirit and if he is credible and without EFCC case.
This writer therefore needs to do more research to understand how we operate. We fear no threats even as we have on many occasions being attacked directly and indirectly but God has always been on our side because we are on the side of truth and the oppressed.
For the fact that we had partnered with the Army doesn’t mean we should be silent in the face of gross human rights violations like what have happened in the South East of Nigeria.
Lastly, We believe in Nigeria but we also believe in a thoroughly restructured NIGERIA where equality of rights, Equity, Social Justice will reign supreme.
We believe that the Nigeria Army must be professionalised and not administered like an Ethnic or religious contraption and also we believe that the strategic assets of the Army must be decentralised since the Army is the NIGERIAN peoples Army and not NORTHERN NIGERIA OR HAUSA/FULANI/KANURI Army.
The irrational inference to some hate-filled fears for not locating these military assets across the six geopolitical zones of the country as made by this Emmanuel Otairu doesn’t hold water.
He has exposed the reason for attacking us to be that he is Igbophobic. He deserves psychological and emotional healing so he can see all citizens as equal. We sympathise with him.
Lastly, it makes no sense accusing whoever defends any group members’ constitutional rights not to be extrajudicially killed by the armed security forces as a sympathizer of such groups’ ideas. Mr Emmanuel Otairu you are still in the bad old days of Abacha military dictatorship whereby critics are tagged as coup plotters. Wake up and read good books on modern trends on human rights and constitutional democracy. Wake up and stop your reactionary rhetorics.
Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ www.emmanuelonwubiko.com; email@example.com.