BY VICTOR BUOR, ABUJA – The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has kicked against the deployment of security forces by the Federal Government against unarmed Nigerians trying to exercise their fundamental rights of assembly and peaceful protest.
HURIWA noted that recently the Nigerian Security Forces and members of IPOB clashed in Enugu on August 23, 2020, during which two security officers and about 21 civilians were reportedly killed, adding that the final number of casualties and wounded is yet to be confirmed.
These were contained in a statement by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko and Director, National Media Affairs, Miss Zainab Yusuf, saying that the right to freedom of expression remained increasingly restricted in Nigeria as Journalists, bloggers and media activists who ask the federal and state authorities probing questions are variously charged with cybercrime and terrorism under the Cybercrime Act of 2015 and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act of 2013. Amnesty International documented 19 cases of assault, arbitrary arrests, and detention of journalists.
HURIWA specifically questioned the rationale behind the deployment of security forces by the Federal Government to employ full lethal force against civilians who are totally unarmed.
The organisation said that it is clear that the Nigerian government has serially failed to uphold its constitutional mandate of protection of human rights in the country.
It noted that the right to life of Nigerian citizens has been violated with alarming frequency and without any justification or accountability, adding that State parties are also obligated to act and prevent loss of life, investigate and punish wrongful actions resulting in deaths.
HURIWA has therefore demanded from the United Nations Secretary-General an explanation why the world body has not implemented any measures to caution President Buhari against the use of armed security forces against civilians whether they are demonstrating or just holding peaceful meetings.
It equally urged the UN to tell the world why in spite of the presence of two Nigerians in its bureaucracy, yet Nigeria is being overlooked by the UN whilst it slides into state sponsored anarchy and the civilian populations turned into items of decimation and extra-legal execution by armed security forces that ought to defend and protect them.
HURIWA said; “Is it that the two Nigerians; Amina Mohammed who served Buhari as Environment Minister and was later made UN Deputy Secretary-General by the UN Secretary-General, and the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA); Tijjani Muhammad-Bande are not briefing the UN about the true state of affairs in Nigeria?
“Or probably because they are both Fulani, same as President Buhari and same as majority of the suspected armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists unleashing violence on Nigerians? More so, whether these two UN officials recommended by President Buhari are simply protecting the Buhari-led administration from international scrutiny.
“Observably, since they are not even bringing up the issues affecting Nigerian citizens, what is the moral obligation behind them still working for the UN? Hence we call for their dismissal forthwith unless they are simply working for themselves and not on behalf of the people of Nigeria and Africa at large.
“This is because, if they are working for the interests of Nigerians and Africa, why the silence from them since five years now whilst thousands of Nigerians are mindlessly murdered by security forces and armed Fulani herdsmen and terrorists?” it said.
The human rights organisation reminded President Buhari that the infractions of using publicly funded armed Security forces to constantly employ the use of force to stop Nigerians from exercising their fundamental human rights as citizens of the federal republic of Nigeria is an aberration on the essence of democracy, the rule of law and the international best practices, given the large number of international treaties, conventions that Nigeria signed.
It further said; “These violations must be halted or the violators charged to court for crimes against humanity locally or inevitably they will be dragged to the International Criminal court in the Hague, Netherlands and the ICJ for prosecution in due time since this administration tolerates impunity”.