A pro-democracy and non-governmental body – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the reported siege by armed police operatives of the government house in Ekiti State and the reported attack of the governor and his deputy.
HURIWA has also condemned as unconstitutional the reported invasion of armed police operatives of the campaign office of the governorship candidate of Ekiti state Professor Olushola Kolapo and the disruption of the campaign rally of the People’s Democratic Party. The Rights has therefore expressed consternation that men and officers of the Niferia police force beginning from the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpodum Idriss have become members of the armed wing of the All Progressives Congress.
Besides, HURIWA has cautioned the armed security forces to respect the rule of law and abide by the statutory demands of their duties to the people of Ekiti State and halt any further attempts to employ intimidation, harassment and psychological torture all in an attempt to scuttle a free, fair, transparent and peaceful conduct of the governorship poll scheduled for this Saturday July 14th 2018 in Ekiti State. HURIWA described the physical attacks on the persons of the governor and his deputy by the armed police as an ‘assassination attempt’ and has called for a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate this grave crime and bring the perpetrators and their political sponsors to book.
HURIWA in a statement by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director miss Zainab Yusuf stated that: “We have just been alerted by our members in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State of the unusual large numbers of armed security forces parading the streets of Ekiti State just few days to the much anticipated governorship poll in which the Presidency has openly declared her determination to win by all means. We were also informed of a reported siege of the Ekiti State government house by armed police and the direct physical torture by the police of the duo of the Ekiti state governor and his deputy in clear violation of section 308(1). We view the attempt on the lives of these two gentlemen as serious crimes that must not be swept under the carpets. We absolutely condemn this primitive resort to self-help by the presidency that has decided to unleash brute force on the people of Ekiti State so as to manipulate the electoral process to favour his political party (APC) and to deny the electorate their constitutional right to elect their own governor that will promote and protect their general interests.”
Citing section 39 (1) and 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, HURIWA said it was unlawful and unconstitutional for armed police to invade the government house in Ekiti on the instruction of the Inspector General of Police to inhibit and violate with reckless abandon and crass impunity, the enjoyment by the people of their freedom of movement and association which are guaranteed under several international human rights laws and the supreme law of Nigeria which is in the 1999 Constitution that have unambiguous and binding human rights provisions in chapter 4″. “The attack on the governor and his deputy should be considered attempted murder and the culprits must be arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned in the competent courts of law. The police which is a creation of a statute is not above the law.”
Specifically, section 39 (1) provides that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information without interference, “even as section 40 provides that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and to associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.”
HURIWA believes that it is criminal for armed police maintained at public costs to become slaves to some forces and to be employed in Ekiti State to curtail the constitutional rights of the citizenry.
HURIWA said by virtue of several constitutional provisions must operate with the invitation of the State governor who is the Chief security officer of the State just as the Rights group faulted the decision of the President to deploy the police to achieve pre-determined political goal.
HURIWA stated that Section 215 (2) (3) (4) (5) stated thus: (2) “The Nigeria police force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and any contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a State shall, subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of police, be under the command of the commissioner of Police of that State. (3) “The President or such other Minister of the Government of the Federation as he may authorize in that behalf may give to the Inspector-General of Police such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order as he may consider necessary, and the Inspector-General of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be compiled with.” (4) “Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a state or such commissioner of the Government of the State as he authorize in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of police of that state such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the State as he may consider necessary, and the commissioner of police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with – provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection the commissioner of police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorized in that behalf by the President for this directions.”