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HURIWA canvasses Bishop Kukah Committee to mediate into Biafra agitation •Carpets Senator Shehu Sani

By News Express on 09/11/2015

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President Muhammadu Buhari has been tasked to set up a national mediation committee made up of credible statesmen and women to be led by Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah to mediate into the Biafra agitation sweeping across Nigeria’s South-East and South-South.

The task was conveyed via a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). In the statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said President Buhari must avoid the mistakes of previous administrations which used brutal force to seek to crush dissenting voices from some communities, which backfired and attarcted heavy financial penalties imposed on the Nigerian State by the law courts.

The group further advised Buhari to be wary of adopting any military and violent measures against the civilian pro-Biafra protesters in order not to be dragged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands. It also demanded “the immediate and unconditional release from the underground cells of the Department of State Service (DSS) of the Director of the Europe-based Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra  (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who is being detained as a political prisoner even after a court of law freed him on bail.”

HURIWA said it was deeply concerned about the new wave of use of brute military force to confront civilian protesters in clear violations of the human rights provisions enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The rights group reminded the Nigerian Government that canvassing for self government by any component parts of the Federation of Nigeria is lawful and covered by several provisions of the international covenants on civil and political rights which to which Nigeria is a signatory. 

HURIWA carpeted Senator Shehu Sani “for falsely branding pro-Biafra protesters as enemies of Buhari.” It declared that Sani, who was a civil rights activist before joining partisan politics and winning election under the All Progressives Congress as Senator representing Kaduna Central, “has indeed lost touch with the democratic and human rights realities of our times and age and therefore his opinion should be disregarded for being parochial and pedestrian.” HURIWA said it was inconceivable that any democrat would dismiss with a mere wave of hands agitations for self rule by a people whose geopolitical zone has been treated with the short ends of the stick in the sharing of strategic national infrastructure and assets.

On the decision to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate a national mediation panel on Pro-Biafra agitations HURIWA said: “We have resolved to employ the assistance of the popular mass media to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the armed security operatives to stop the irresponsible deployment of live firearms against civilian demonstrators in the Southern parts of Nigeria who are agitating for Biafra.

“The Nigerian Government must know that under a democracy civil demonstrations devoid of violence are allowed. Let Government set up a Presidential Mediation Council to be headed by such a decent and unbiased statesman like Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Catholic Diocese with others such as Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Yerima of Arewa Youth Council, who is based in Lagos, Professor Ben Nwabueze, the acclaimed law professor, and a few others including the Enugu-based Reverend gentleman, Reverend Father Mbaka, to hold extensive parley in Southern Nigeria with leaders of the  Pro-Biafra agitations to work out the most pragmatic panacea to the clamour for self government for South East.

“The Presidential panel should also be given free hand to assemble law experts and human rights activists to draw up concrete measures to stem the tide of civil uprisings in the South East and resolve the longstanding issues of clear institutional and systemic marginalisation of South East of Nigeria.”

The rights group said it will in the coming days approach Bishop Kukah and other well-meaning Nigerians who have access to President Buhari to appeal to him to avoid the plot to turn the South East of Nigeria to a region of another violent insurgency by adopting democratic measures to redress the wrongs done to South East of Nigeria since after the civil war in 1969.

HURIWA reminded the Nigerian Government that no effort was made by all previous governments, starting from the General Yakubu Gowon junta till date, to deliberately implement a Marshal Plan for the reconstruction of the infrastructure of the old Eastern Region destroyed by Federal Forces during the 30 months civil war. It has asked the Nigerian Government to implement such a Marshal Plan now to rebuild the Eastern part of Nigeria and give the residents a sense of belonging as equal citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

•Photo shows Bishop Kukah.

Source News Express

Posted 09/11/2015 1:40:28 PM


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