A prominent civil rights body – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to take concrete measures to ensure the respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry to justify his recent affirmations during his meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States.
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Miss Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) faulted the statement by president Buhari that the military respects human rights but tasked the administration to go beyond mere rhetorics and implement concrete remedial processes to right the many wrongs that are going on now.
HURIWA said that from all indications, human rights violations by members of the armed security forces have worsened including arbitrary arrest of citizens, illegal detention, extortions and extralegal executions just as the Rights group challenged the president to reconstitute the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission.
HURIWA which reacted to the joint press conference between the United States and Nigerian presidents contended that the current administration has continued to illegally detain the leader of the Islamic movement of Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim El Zackzacky and former National security Adviser Colonel Sambo Dasuki in violations of binding court’s orders.
The Rights group reminded president Buhari that whilst the administration announced that it has paid compensation for the extralegal killings of some persons killed by security forces in Apo, Abuja, the same government has neither charged to court soldiers who allegedly killed over 300 members of Shiites Islamic movement nor has anybody been charged for the extralegal killings by armed security forces of over 600 unarmed members of the hurriedly proscribed indigenous people of Biafra.
“We are shocked that our president has professed his administration’s respect for human rights when this same government has watched as thousands of people are killed by armed Fulani herdsmen and soldiers reportedly set on fire a town of Naka in Benue state following the killing by hoodlums of a soldier. The level of impunity and lawlessness amongst members of the security forces in this dispensation is unprecedented.”
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari claimed that the Government of Nigeria remains deeply committed to the principles of human rights as well as the promotion and protection of people’s freedom, even in the process of fighting terror.
HURIWA recalled that Buhari also stated that his administration will ensure that all documented cases of human rights abuses are investigated and those responsible for violations held accountable for their actions.”
HURIWA quoted President Buhari as stating that “In addition, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria inaugurated the Nigerian Military Human Rights Dialogue in August 2015 to provide the Nigerian Military and Para-Military with necessary tools to integrate human rights practices into their code, education systems, field training and disciplinary systems.”
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari noted that the victims of a criminal law enforcement operation that occurred in 2013 (otherwise known as Apo-six) were compensated in April this year based on the findings of the National Human Rights Commission. Two of the police officers responsible were convicted for culpable homicide arising from the extra-judicial killings.
HURIWA recalled that Buhari also told President Trump thus: “Mr. President, this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that the Federal Government compensated the victims of extra-judicial killings. It also provides a sustainable platform for local and international human rights organizations to constructively engage the Nigerian security forces on human rights concerns. We also look to share best practices in this area with the United States.”
HURIWA however said the evidence on ground in Nigeria does not justify these claims because human rights situations in Nigeria have taken a dive for the worst since the last three years.