By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has strongly criticised the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the Nigeria Police Force for incessantly physically tormenting and harassing the Civil Rights campaigner and publisher of saharareporters Mr. Omoyele SOWORE only for carrying out peaceful protests.
The Rights group said the arrest of the activists confirms the intelligence it got before the New Year that the year 2021 will be tough for the organised community of civil rights campaigners in Nigeria because the Federal government will unleash what it calls scorched-earth anti-activists policies whose components will include forced disappearances, armed abductions and mass arrests of human rights activists.
The Rights group said the reported threats to the lives of OMOYELE SOWORE and his associates by armed police from the Federal Capital Territory’s command who rounded the protesters up during their solemn CROSS OVER CIVIL RIGHTS CANDLE LIGHTS PROCESSION was not just unconstitutional and illegal but amounted to the violation of the Rights to religious freedoms, Freedoms of Movement, Association and PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY as guaranteed by chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.
“This Nigerian Police Force has indeed refused to heed to the voice of reason by decisively changing their terrible modus operandi as a force for evil and as an anti democratic reactionary elements. The Nigerian Police Force needs to be tailored and refocused to confront and combat the widespread violence tearing apart the fabrics of our nation State and join the men and officers of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to battle the expanding frontiers of TERROR attacks in the North East of Nigeria and the North Western Southern Kaduna State. The Police should learn to respect the Constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens such as Rights to civil and PEACEFULASSEMBLY and PROTESTS. What OMOYELE SOWORE and his associates did by assembling in Gudu junction in the nation’s capital has in no way constituted any threats to the National Security interests of Nigeria. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to order that the Police should immediately release unconditionally the publisher of saharareporters Mr OMOYELE SOWORE and his associates”.
HURIWA recalled that the media reported that the Nigerian police have again arrested the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, for leading a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
HURIWA said Sowore and some activists were arrested at the #CrossoverWithProtest, a planned procession across the country on New Year eve just as Some of the protesters who escaped arrest confirmed to the media that Mr Sowore was whisked away in one of the seven vans of the Nigerian police mobilised to the protest ground.
Recall that HURIWA’S NEW YEAR MESSAGE dated December 31st 2020 titled :”PREPARE FOR SCORCHED- EARTH ANTI-ACTIVISTS POLICIES BY GOVERNMENT” had stated the following:
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has expressed disappointment and consternation at the declining respect for the fundamental human rights of Citizens and the fast shrinking civic spaces in Nigeria under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari just as the Rights group said the coming year of 2021 may be the toughest one for independent minded opinion moulders and activists in the Country.
HURIWA also expressed fears and anxieties that the declining state of governance in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory would push millions of Nigerians into absolute state of poverty even as youth unemployment, persistent strikes in tertiary educational institutions, armed violent cult groups, lack of respect to Child Rights will worsen the standards of living of over 150 million Nigerians and lead to a spike in violent crimes with blood cuddling consequences.
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) stated that millions of frustrated youngsters will take the inevitable risks of embarking on illegal and irregular migration to foreign jurisdictions just to beat the widening spectre of violence, anarchy and collapse of Law and order in Nigeria in the year 2021. TERRORISTS will also expand the frontier of attacks on soft targets because of the non availability of sustainable counter terror measures to deal with the armed Islamists who had in the Christmas season increased the rate of attacks targeting Christian minorities in North East of Nigeria and North West region.
In a short new year message, the Rights group said there are ominous signs that there could be a deliberate activation by the Federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari of some sets of anti-people policies that may be targeted at abridging the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens such as the Rights to civil liberty, Freedoms of movement and ASSOCIATION and most importantly, there could be a renewed resolve by this government to curb the freedom of Expression and Speech. “The clear failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the wave of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria would in 2021 compel Nigerians to demonstrate and this will be greeted with violent crackdown by an intolerant government that had in the past deployed armed security forces to forcefully kill peaceful protesters”.
In the media statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)said that there are an abundant of supporting facts to show that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will in the year 2021 seek to further tighten the noose around the determination of social critics and human rights activists to speak out loud and clear against the rise in the violent abuses of the Constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens.
HURIWA said President Muhammadu Buhari encourages his loyalists and followers to verbally attack civil rights activists only for expressing their own opinions on some notorious and toxic policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government that offends the norms and practices allowed under Constitutional democracy.
“From available empirical evidence, this federal government does not tolerate divergent thinking and opinions and to make matters worse, the Federal Government is in the habitual pastime of motivating and encouraging mushroom platforms set up by highly subjective and partisan religious and ethnic bigots to go all out to attack voices of dissent to the policies of the administration.”
“As we have seen such groups like the Moslem Rights Concern (MURIC) that was recently allegedly indicted by a top Chadian Intelligence Chief of funding the Boko haram terrorists, these are the kinds of groups that lack credibility that President Muhammadu Buhari is encouraging to continue to attack such eminent patriots such as the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of the Roman Catholic church Right Reverend Dr. Mathew Hassan Kukah only because the Reverend gentleman exercised his Constitutional rights of Fundamental freedoms by critiquing the policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government that consistently offends the Federal Character principles of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended such as the government’s one sided appointments of only Fulani/Hausa/Kanuri Moslems into strategic national and internal security Architectures.”
“It is clear that with less than two years before Muhammadu Buhari retires into his palatial mansion in Daura, Katsina State near Niger Republic upgraded fantastically with tax payers money, this government will deal decisively with activists who will speak out against such evil and outrageous policies like deployment of Nigerian Commonwealth to develope infrastructures in Niger Republic.”
“This government that is notorious for mind boggling crimes of corruption in the Federal ministries of Petroleum, Power, Works and Housing amongst others, will show more resistance to the continuous voicing of dissenting voices against any of the policies of this central government of President Muhammadu Buhari. So we are urging all activists to remain resolute and principled even as we are to brace up to the inevitable risks of forced disappearance, armed abductions and imprisonment only for exercising their legal rights to fundamental human rights of Citizens as safeguarded by the Grund Norm of Nigeria”.
“Sadly, the National Assembly is a rubber stamp contraption of the executive arm of government just as the Judiciary has already been bought over with the installation of a misfit as the Chief Justice of Nigeria through the illegality of an interim injunction of the CODE OF CONDUCT TRIBUBAL domiciled within the Executive arm of government “.