By Emmanuel Elebeke
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt measures to calm the tensed atmosphere in Nigeria and bridge the divides created by many of his policies and pronouncements in his first tenure.
The policies, according to HURIWA, include his proscription of the unarmed self determination group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its labelling as a terror group; his heavily lopsided top level security appointments skewed to favour his Hausa/Fulani Muslim kinsmen and his failure to rein in armed herdsmen who have destroyed many largely Christian communities in the North Central and have slaughtered women, children and old men including youths in their thousands, with none of these killers being prosecuted and sanctioned in accordance with the law.
In a statement by the group yesterday, HURIWA said it has always faulted the misuse of state power by the Federal Government officials, including Mr. President, which resulted in the illegal proscription of an unarmed group, such as IPOB and its labelling as a terror group, even as the same administration went about dialoguing with the violent armed herdsmen killer gangs and failing to declare their leaders known as Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association, a terror organisation.
HURIWA also condemned the killings of unarmed demonstrators in Onitsha, Aba and Umuahia prior to and during the ill-fated Operation Python Dance II, which targeted the destruction of the civilians and members of IPOB.
The group said the government encouraged impunity and lawlessness by not charging indicted operatives of armed security forces to court for unlawful killings of IPOB members as recorded in a science and evidence based reports by such credible groups like the Amnesty International.
HURIWA recalled that a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, DDI, (as he then was) Major General John Enenche in Abuja, listed reasons the group was declared a terrorist organisation to include the formation of a Biafra Secret Service; formation of Biafra National Guard; unauthorised blocking of public access roads; and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks.
HURIWA contended that the claims by the Army were absolutely untrue, spurious, unconstitutional and had demonstrated a plot to demonise the group only because the members are mostly from the Igbo speaking South-East of Nigeria that has in the last four years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration suffered systemic marginalisation and has not been given her due place in terms of appointments at the top most security level to depict the federal character principles.