The prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has carpeted the federal and Imo State’s governments over the handling of the aftermath of the attacks at the Federal Correctional Centre in Owerri Imo State and the Imo State command.
HURIWA has therefore called for a transparent probe by a judicial commission of inquiry of the reported invasions of Awo-Omama in Oru East local government area of Imo State and the activities of the combined security forces which led to the killing of an alleged Southeast Commander of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), six-armed militias and arrested several others during a deadly encounter in Imo State.
The Rights group said the danger of believing the single narrative packaged by the Nigerian Army on the circumstances of the combined operation in Imo State in which 6 members of IPOB were killed and some armed security personnel got wounded or killed unfortunately without investigating the incident, is that impunity will be unleashed if the security forces can just attack and kill some persons and then frame up some tales by moonlight and then the media will circulate the one -sided propaganda as if it’s a scriptural fact. HURIWA said that in saner climes, there are independent bodies that monitor the military and police to stop their misuse by any politically exposed and influential persons including the President.
Besides, the Rights group has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against only using the armed security forces to attack alleged adversaries that share no Ethno-Religious affiliations with the President but has so far failed to direct and ensured that the armed forces confront the armed Fulani herdsmen wreaking havoc all over the Country including the recent attacks targeting Tiv farm settlement in Nasarawa state and parts of Benue state in which dozens of citizens were killed.
It wondered why these same combined team of security agents that purported invaded Awo-Omama in Imo state have never been despatched to rescue the abducted students in Kaduna kidnapped by Fulani militia nor have they captured the armed Fulani militia kidnapping students in Zamfara, Katsina and Niger State.
The Rights group which warned the Federal Government and governor Hope Uzodinma not to turn the usually peaceful Imo State to a theatre of military actions and kinetic battles accused both the Imo state government and the Central government of double-speak and for contradicting each other on the exact persons responsible for the recent daredevil attacks at the Correctional centre in Owerri and the police command facility in Owerri which ironically was allowed to happen for three good hours without any counter action by all the security forces in the state to prevent or repel those attacks during which hundreds of inmates of both facilities were freed. HURIWA maintained her earlier suspicion that the attacks at the correctional centre and police command in Owerri was done likely by members of the deep state from Abuja wondered why no transparent action has been taken to investigate the attacks using modern day forensic skills and facilities to ascertain the exact characters behind those attacks.
HURIWA accused the dismissed Inspector General of Police Adamu Mohammed of rushing to a hasty conclusion on those responsible for those abominable attacks that targeted strategic national security assets in which case without any forensic investigations the then Police boss blamed the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) for those attacks but this line of accusation was countered by both the spokesman of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) who denied involvement of his banned group in those attacks and even the Imo State governor Mr. Hope Uzodinma who maintained that he knew the politicians who plotted and imported armed thugs to attack those national security facilities in Imo State.
In a media statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said the statement Yesterday by the Army that it attacked the camp of the Eastern Security Network and killed the alleged commander and then linked the so-called ESN commander to the attacks at the Federal Prisons in Owerri and the Police facility is a direct contradiction of the statement made by the Imo State governor Mr Hope Uzodinma who absolved IPOB of blame of the Monday April 5th 2021 attacks at the correctional centre and police command in Owerri.
The Rights group quoted the Imo State’s governor as categorically saying as follows: “Their (attackers’) tactics is that they try to identify grievances of people in a particular area. If it is in Imo State and probably there are some IPOB people who are not happy, they hire hoodlums from outside Imo State, they bring them in pretending to be IPOB and they commit these crimes and they go away.
“So, it is not about IPOB. Yes, we agree, we have aggrieved IPOB members but I can tell you those who are doing this destruction, most of them were brought in from outside Imo State.”
“What is important for Nigerians to know is the plot by a group of aggrieved politicians to destabilise the government of APC (All Progressives Congress).
“I have done some thorough investigation and I have some credible lead as to those who are sponsoring these activities of these hoodlums.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the investigations of other security agencies but I can tell you we are working hard to ensure the sponsors of this dastardly acts must be brought to book.”
HURIWA therefore expressed the following position: “We think that there is a total disconnect between what the Imo State governor claims as aforementioned and what the Federal Government chose to believe which is purely based on mere conjectures crafted by the dismissed Inspector General of Police Adamu Mohammed who did not carry out any sort of forensic investigations of the attacks in Owerri but went about making claims based on hear-say which is exactly the same tale that the Army Spokesman has repackaged and sold to Nigerians as the reason for invading Awo-Omama in Imo State”.
The Rights group says: “In as much as we do not condone the use of violence by any group of people and we have absolutely condemned the attacks on the security operatives in the South East and South South but we wonder what kind of unorthodox methods that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are adopting in seeking for the truth regarding those dastardly acts of criminality in Owerri.”
“We have severally called for the creation of an independent Ombudsman that will be charged with investigation of all use of lethal force to ascertain that the armed forces are not using those maximum force arbitrarily and in a way that is unconstitutional’, HURIWAaffirms.
“Our main concern is that the armed forces must not be allowed to turn Imo state into a theatre of war. The issues surrounding the setting up of Eastern Security Network are such that military force is not necessary since the measure is put in place to protect the region from attackers masquerading as armed Fulani herdsmen but there are possibilities that Eastern Security Network and the Ebubeagu Security Network can be synchronised and made to work as one for the interest of helping the law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order and stop the incessant attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.”
HURIWA says: “If the Central government has evidence that ESN is behind the Owerri attacks why have the suspects not been prosecuted? This scenario of invading Awo-Omama and also the burning down of the private residential property of Governor Hope Uzodinma need to be thoroughly investigated “.
HURIWA recalled that operatives comprising the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and soldiers of the Nigerian Army were said to have stormed Ikonso’s Umuokwe country home late on Friday and engaged suspected IPOB members till early Saturday when they took over the premises.
Relatedly, the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has challenged the armed security forces to efficiently confront armed Fulani herdsmen who have persistently unleashed bloody violence all over the Country and not help to perpetuate the perception amongst millions of Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari only uses the armed forces to go after perceived adversaries that do not share same religious belief and ethnicity but plays double standards when it comes to the need to comprehensively tackle the grave threats to national security posed by the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen.
HURIWA lamented that as late as Saturday, Suspected Fulani herdsmen, allegedly attacked Yogbo – Mbayev Council Ward of Guma Local Council of Benue State, killing 17 persons. Several others were injured.
The Rights group said a witness, who pleaded anonymity, said to the media that the attackers invaded the communities at about 2.00 a.m. and killed nine persons at Ajimaku, one at Ayeri, and four others at Tse Gborigyo, near Udei, all in Guma Local Council even as the former Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Makurdi, David Iorhemba, whose village was also attacked, attributed the upsurge to relaxation of soldiers posted there to maintain law and order.
HURIWA is therefore demanding explanation why soldiers always behaved like compromised agents whenever armed Fulani herdsmen are attacking others who are neither Moslems nor Fulani but these same security forces are desperately deployed to go after other people only because they are not Fulani.
Also, suspected Fulani bandits, on Saturday, killed eight persons, including women and children, in an early morning attack in Ajimaka, a Tiv settlement in Doma Local Council of Nasarawa State. Scores were injured. The bandits, carrying sophisticated weapons, invaded the community at about 2.00 a.m., shooting sporadically and chanting war songs.
HURIWA is therefore demanding to know from President Muhammadu Buhari when he intends to send combined team of security agents on the so-called sting operation or are the armed Fulani herdsmen above the law of Nigeria?