Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as gross abuse of power and double standard the failure of the department of State Services (DSS) to interrogate Kaduna Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi for meeting severally with armed terrorists and bandits in their hide-outs in Northern Nigeria but the same secret Police has reportedly invited for interrogation the Enugu Catholic Cleric Reverend father Ejike Camilius Mbaka for preaching a religious Sermon in which he prophetically recommended the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to contain heightened insecurity.
HURIWA says the invitation of the Christian leader for using his pulpit to interrogate the state of the nation amounted to an egregious attack against the Constitutionally guaranteed Religious freedoms of a citizen whereas the same secret Police has stood by as the Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi continues to dialogue with terrorists and branding them as good bandits all of which violates section 5 of the Terrorism prevention Act of Nigeria.
HURIWA said this crude display of discriminatory invitation is tantamount to a breach of section 15 (5) of the 1999 constitution; section 42 (1) of the constitution and if carried through could be interpreted as a violation of the constitutional oath of office by President Buhari who controls the operations of the secret police.
Specifically, section 15 (5) of the 1999 constitution: “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” even as section 42 (1) of the constitution states thus: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or
(b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.”
HURIWA affirmed that the abuse of power by President Muhammadu Buhari through the discriminatory invitation by DSS against a Christian Cleric is a breach of the Oath of office of the President contained in the Seventh schedule of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, the President swears as follows amongst others that: “…that I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions; that I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; that I will not directly or indirectly communication or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President; and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God”.
HURIWA is therefore seeking the following clarification: “Why has the DSS CONSISTENTLY looked the other way whilst an individual in the person of the Kaduna Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi continues to dialogue with terrorists, defending the terrorists and branding them as good bandits all of which violates section 5 of the terrorism prevention Act of Nigeria but now a Catholic priest is been harassed just for constructively using his religious podium to call for good governance and for interrogating the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to discharge his primary constitutional duty of protecting lives and property of Nigerians?”.
HURIWA cited Section 5 of the terrorism prevention Act which states as follows; 5. (1) Any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support –
(a) for the commission of an act of terrorism, or (b) to a terrorist group,
commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, “support” includes –
(a) incitement to commit a terrorist act through the internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information;
(b) receipt or provision of material assistance, weapons including biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, training, transportation, false documentation or identification to terrorists or terrorist groups;
(c) receipt or provision of information or moral assistance, including invitation to adhere to a terrorist or terrorist group;
(d) entering or remaining in a country for the benefit of, or at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; or
the provision of, or making available, such financial or other related services prohibited under this Act or as may be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to this Act.
(3) In this section, it is not necessary to prove that the material or information or facilities or financial assistance was actually collected or provided if it can be reasonably established that the person collected or provided the material, information or facilities or financial assistance to terrorists, or terrorist groups.”
HURIWA states that the activities of the Kaduna Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi directly offends the aforementioned provision of the Terrorism prevention Act but the DSS and all other internal security institutions have overlooked it apparently because he shares same religious faith with all the heads of the nation’s internal security architectures but the Secret police is quick to invite a Christian Cleric for purportedly criticising the Nigerian President in exercise of his freedoms of religion, freedom of expression and information which are Constitutionally guaranteed and the Sermon has in no way offended any provisions of any known law in Nigeria.
HURIWA gathered through the media that the DSS operatives visited the church to drop the letter of invitation. However, they didn’t meet the cleric at the church premises just as the details of why the intelligence unit summoned the priest were not stated but it might not be unconnected with Mbaka’s criticism of the Buhari government in recent times.
Reverend father Ejike Camilius Mbaka, the Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry Enugu, has attracted attention lately with his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari government.
HURIWA recalled that the priest recently said God had rejected the President and unhappy with his leadership. Reacting to the summon in a video obtained by an online publication, Fr. Mbaka said, “I got a call that the DSS people from Abuja came here (Enugu) with a letter of invitation to Abuja. Over what? What I cannot understand is that the mother church in Nigeria should be “cowed down” to lilliputian.
“The church is a lion and lamb. The bible says if the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do. Every priest is a prophet and a king. We must protect the sheep. In this time, when killings are every day story, when there is hunger everywhere, people do not have hope again. The only hope I have is God. Anybody who will stop people from worshipping here will regret it.
“I am the servant here. They don’t understand history. I spoke against Abacha. I went to Minna to tell Babangida what was wrong in his time. I spoke to Obasanjo face to face. I perform under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I ministered to the late President Yaradua. I am being used by a higher being called the Holy Spirit.
“If they are attacking me here and there, no wahala (no problem). The Bible says if God is for us, who can be against us? Only God can be God. I heard the security people did not accept the letter. They asked them to come on Monday to give me the letter. If they know the anointing here is too hot for them, let them change. I will not keep quiet.”
HURIWA has therefore called on the President of the USA, the Prime ministers of Canada, UK and head of the European Union Parliament to take note that the Nigerian Government has continued to suppress religious freedomsbof Christians in addition to looking thebother way whilst armed Fulani herdsmen and boko haram terrorists destroy Churches and kill Christians.