A prominent civil society advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to comply with clearly established constitutional norms and allow for unfettered enjoyments of the constitutionally safeguarded freedoms.
HURIWA has also carpeted the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guteres for aiding and abetting the rise of incipient tyranny in Nigeria and conferring global status on the Nigerian Government that currently keeps over a dozen political prisoners through a combination of reward system such as the appointment of Muhammadu Buhari’s Environment minister Mrs Amina Mohammed as Deputy Secretary General and another Northern Nigerian appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari as President of the United Nations General Assembly Professor Muhammad Bande.
The pro-democracy group (HURIWA) also reminded president Buhari that since his government has produced the president of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the person of professor Tijani Muhammad-Bande which is a phenomenal momentum in the life of the administration, it would be ironical that his government has become so repressive and intolerant of opposition views and has made the country a police state even amidst widespread insecurity and professional misconduct by the police. “Nigeria has never been this bad with a General collapse of law enforcement by the police and an unprecedented rise in arbitrary arrests and detention. We are a police state whose police operatives are grossly incompetent to be able to go after the criminals making life intolerable for millions of Nigerians and at the same time the police and the sister security service (DSS) have become willing tools in the hands of the Abuja tyrant who has since unleashed a regime of brutal CLAMPDOWN on civil activists and journalists brandishing choreographed charges that lack justification “.
“It is indeed a big irony that whilst Nigeria is becoming a police state due to the execution of well-coordinated attacks on pro-democracy activists and journalists using the security forces of Department of State Services (DSS) and a brutal but inefficient police force, the same administration is at the same time credited with reaching a global milestone in the specific case of a diplomatic achievement of having an appointee of the repressive and brutal regime ascending the prestigious seat of the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly for a whooping one year. It is either that the United Nation system is tolerant of dictatorship or the hierarchy of the United Nations is dangerously incompetent and uninformed about the stark realities of excruciating pains systematically inflicted by the current federal government on a massive scale targeting millions of Nigerians”.
In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the Rights group stated that there is no evidence anywhere in Nigeria to show that Nigeria is in a constitutional democracy.
“Huriwa wonders how a government that is produced through the ballots, will so regress to a level that free speech is criminalized and journalists and activists are hounded and thrown into detention for a long period of time even as the nation’s judiciary has capitulated to the coordinated firepower of repression using security forces and anti-corruption agencies”.
HURIWA recalled that a Nigerian journalist, Agba Jalingo, has been in police detention for over a week, over a report about an alleged diversion of N500 million by the Cross River governor, which he authored for which the Federal government has allowed the across Rivers State governor to deploy Federally funded security forces to arrest, detain and now institute a charge of treason.
HURIWA recalled that Jalingo, who is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, a Cross River State-based newspaper, was arrested and detained over a petition by the government’s owned microfinance bank following the report in his newspaper which has relentlessly criticised Ben Ayade, the state governor.
HURIWA recalled that the journalist who was arrested in Lagos and driven by road to Calabar, the capital city of the Cross River State, had sued the police over his arrest and detention, which he said were illegal and a breach of his fundamental human rights. He is asking a court to order the police to pay him N150 million as damages for the manner he was allegedly maltreated.
But while a judge is yet to hear Mr. Jalingo’s fundamental human rights case, the police have instituted a four-count charge of treasonable felony, terrorism, cultism, and the disturbance of public peace on the journalist.
The charges which were filled at the Federal High Court in Calabar, also indicated that Mr. Jalingo was working with the #RevolutionNow movement of the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, to destabilize the government and “undemocratically” force the government of Mr. Ayade to end through violent means.
HURIWA believes that the use of the Federal might to deal with the Journalist goes to confirm that there is indeed a well calculated agenda unfolding whose objective is to institute full blown tyranny at every levels of government and to curtail the enjoyment of constitutional freedoms.
HURIWA also accused the Federal government of crude vendetta against the publisher of Saharareporters.com going by the fact that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) accused Mr Sowore, a former presidential candidate, of planning to forcibly topple the government through his #RevolutionNow protest. Mr. Sowore who was arrested by the State Security Security (SSS) is being held on court-ordered extended detention for 45 days.
HURIWA recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS) says it suspected that Omoyele Sowore, a candidate in Nigeria’s last presidential election wanted to work with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to topple the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
HURIWA recalled that the federal government proscribtion of both IPOB and Islamic Movement of Nigeria as terrorist organizations shows that Constitutional democracy is under intensive attacks by elements embedded in the Federal government. The Rights group said it was also inconceivable that the Court agreed due to fear to grant indefinite detention order against Omoyele SOWORE even when the DSS said in an affidavit attached to its counter-argument against the application of Sowore challenging his detention that they have PROOFS of a plot by the activist to topple government just as the Rights group expressed shock that the judge refused the bail application even when under the constitution an accused person is assumed innocent until a contrary determination is reached through a court of law.
The affidavit read: “The respondent/applicant (Sowore) planned to violently change the government through the hashtag RevolutionNow.
HURIWA has therefore for the umpteenth time demanded the immediate release of all the political prisoners by the Federal government.