HURIWA To Gov. Wike: Banning Igbo Meetings In Rivers State Is Unconstitutional And An Apartheid Policy, Must Be Rescinded

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

Rivers State Governor Mr. Nyesom Wike’s  ban placed on a proposed meeting by a group, United Igbo Community in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state has been described as unlawful,  unconstitutional and a policy akin to an apartheid. 

HURIWA has also counselled Governor Wike to desist from actions that portray him as a lawless emperor who has scant regards for the constitutional rights and freedoms of the Nigerian  citizens.

The Rights group said the actions of Governor Wike is not so different from the expulsion of Femi FALANA (Esq) from PortHarcourt Rivers State in an attempt to frustrate the vigorous defence been put forward by the legal team that represented the then Ogoni rights activist Dr Ken Saro Wiwa. The Rights group then reminded Nyeson Wike thus: “Political power is transient. Any governor throwing around some imaginary super man power should know that soon they will be out of power  and they will be appropriately addressed as former governor “. 

HURIWA recalled that in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications of Rivers State, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, Wike directed security agencies to ensure that the planned meeting does not hold in a bid to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the area.

The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) recalled that the governor had in October, 2020, declared a 24-hour curfew in Oyigbo after a police station was attacked by hoodlums just as the the group quoted the media as stating that the governor, who said Rivers won’t allow troublemakers to take the law into their own hands also declared a N50 million bounty on a leader of the pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra, in the state, one Stanley Mgbere.

Reacting to the reported ban of the Igbo meetings in Rivers State, the Non Governmental Organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said it violates several constitutional provisions including those constitutional rights guaranteed by the chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution that are fundamental human rights such as the Right to freedom of association ( section 40); Freedom of Movement (section 41)and importantly section 42 (1) which unambiguously provides  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.”

“We condemn this apparent display of dictatorial tendencies by the governor and his clear disregard of the Rights of the citizens to meet in a convivial and peaceful atmosphere to advance their common interests which AREN’T necessarily offensive to the collective interests of the State.  This crude show of tyranny by Mr. Nyesom Wike like someone deeply power drunk that he can barely rationally take a decision that won’t run counter to the clear provisions if the Grund Norm of Nigeria which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended)”. 

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