Believing that the deployment of armed police operatives to the Benue State house of assembly by the Inspector General of police is meant to scuttle democracy in Benue State by instigating the unconstitutional impeachment of the governor who just defected from APC to PDP, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the Presidency’s instigated armed police interference.
HURIWA also warned the Presidency not to contemplate illegally reconvening the adjourned Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with the subterranean plots to illegally unseat the Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki and his deputy Professor Ike Ekweremadu. In the wake of the recent clampdown on the Principal Officers of the Senate, the Upper chamber had legally adjourned till sometimes in October to allow parliamentarians take part in their respective party primary elections preparatory to coming pills next year. There were reports of moves by the Presidency to sponsor the impeachment of the Principal Officers of the Senate for purportedly facilitating the recent massive defection of 15 Senators from the former majority party in the Upper parliament to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party. HURIWA has also condemned the political manipulations of the police to destabilize the National Assembly and make way for a one party authoritarian dictatorship.
The Rights group also took a swipe at the presidency and the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr. Adams Oshomhole for politicizing the armed Fulani massacre of farmers in Benue State, HURIWA has warned that there would be consequences should the popular will of Benue people be thwarted using crude police tactics to instigate the impeachment of the Benue governor. The Rights group cautioned against forcing the people to wage violent civil disturbances to protest against perceived external interferences from the Presidency to unseat the democratically elected governor Mr. Samuel Ortom.
Relatedly, the Rights group has condemned the poor response mechanisms by the federal government towards stopping the rapidly expanding mass killings by armed bandits in Zamfara state which has so far led to the killings of thousands of peace loving people of Zamfara State.
HURIWA believes that the current national security architecture is not working even as the Rights group has asked President Buhari to respect the constitutional principle of federal character by appointing competent, efficient professionals from all parts of Nigeria to head the diverse sectors of the national security team. “The current national security team are not representatives of the broad federal Character of Nigeria because all of them are drawn from one Ethnicity and one religion thus violating the fundamental constitutional principle and also negates merits, professionalism and competences given that the appointments of the currently serving security chiefs was based purely on nepotism and favouritism. This is the underlying reason behind the manipulation of the security and military institutions to protect suspected armed Fulani herdsmen who are carrying out mass murders in North Central states including Benue state just because they share same Ethno Religious interests with those who wield military and executive powers at the center now.”
Besides, the Rights group says it is not rational to employ same failed security strategies and expect a different result even as the Rights group stated that the expanding frontiers of mass killings all around Nigeria shows that the government’s current methods of safeguarding national security has failed. HURIWA has asked for immediate resigning of the nation’s internal security system.
“We think that the central government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has substantially failed Nigerians by not effectively putting in place fool proof methods of combating the widening spectre of terror attacks and armed Fulani violence all around Nigeria. The ongoing propaganda and manipulative use of security forces to conceal and fail to arrest and prosecute the real armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for the attacks is a major act of treachery and treasonable.”
On the emerging scenario in Benue State, HURIWA has condemned the politicization of the serious problems occasioned by armed Fulani attacks in Benue state even as the Rights group totally condemned the attempt at revisionism by national chairman of APC based on misplaced angst against the defection of Benue state governor to PDP. The group expressed doubts that the current government has the political will to allow law enforcement institutions exercise the authority and powers granted them by the constitution by allowing them to go after the mass murderers irrespective of the fact that they are mostly armed Fulani herdsmen sharing same religion and language with those controlling and commanding national security at the moment.
HURIWA recalled that the extant police Act clearly provides that: “The Police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the due enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged and shall perform such military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the authority of, this or any other act.”
HURIWA also stated that the constitution’s absolutely prohibits the political manipulation of the police against opposition governors because section 215 of the constitution concedes the powers of chief security officer of a state in the governor and therefore resorting to self-help by the Presidency to unseat an opposition governor.
HURIWA specifically quoted Section 215 (1) as affirming thus: “There shall be –
(a) an Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216(2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force;
(b) a Commissioner of Police for each state of the Federation who shall be appointed by the Police Service Commission.
(2) The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and 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 authorise 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 direction 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 state as he may authorise 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 authorised in that behalf by the President for his directions.
(5) The question whether any, and if so what, directions have been given under this section shall not be inquired into in any court.”