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HURIWA blasts El-Rufai for demolishing Kaduna APC factional secretariat •Condemns FG’s clampdown on free speech

By News Express on 21/02/2018

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Frontline pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has lambasted the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for demolishing the factional state secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) headed by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi barely 24 hours after he was slammed with six months suspension from APC.

A statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, condemned as outrageous, tragic, reprehensible, despicable and primitive the resort to self-help measures by the Kaduna State helmsman, through the gross abuse of power to intimidate, harass and violently deprive perceived political opponents of their fundamental right to own moveable and immovable property as guaranteed by the chapter 4 of the constitution.

HURIWA said the state governor has no such powers of life and death as to personally supervise the illegal destruction of a housing property acquired legitimately by a citizen only because such person has political differences with the governor.

“The oath of office enshrined in the constitution does not permit him to resort to the use of primitive abuse of power even as the state assembly ought to impeach such a misbehaving governor except that in the case of Kaduna the house of assembly may have been purchased by political forces running the state,” the statement noted.

HURIWA said it is only through the takeover of the legislative functions of the moribund and commercialised Kaduna State house of assembly by the national assembly that the overwhelming tyrannical and oppressive tendencies of El-Rufai can be curtailed.

HURIWA stated that El-Rufai’s dictatorship in Kaduna State has been allowed to fester since he demolished the house of the national vice chairman of the APC, Barrister Inuwa Abdulkadir, for asking him to settle his political differences with the Kaduna central Senator Shehu Sani.

The rights group lamented that even the life of Senator Shehu Sani is under intense threats just because the Senator  criticised  El-Rufai’s penchant for demolishing habitats of poor Kaduna residents and for his anti-peoples’ policies.

“The Senator representing Kaduna central has had his personal aides attacked and attempts are made constantly on their lives and property. One of Shehu Sani’s advisors was reportedly abducted by armed hoodlums only few weeks back. This anarchy in Kaduna must be reversed now,” HURIWA alerted.

It recalled that the Kaduna state government in the early hours of Tuesday demolished the factional office of APC located on Sambo Road in the heart of the city.

According to the group, the office was opened last week by a faction of the party loyal to Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and other members of the party opposed to governor El-Rufai.

It quoted the media as reporting that the one story building demolished is owned by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi even as the destruction was allegedly supervised by heavily armed security personnel made up of the army and police.

HURIWA recalled that in a tweet confirming the incident, senator Hunkuyi wrote: “It is on record that few months back, @GovKaduna Mallam @elrufai marked another property of mine in Hunkuyi town for demolition but residents of the area prevented the officials from demolishing it.

“Today, he came well prepared with military men to destroy my house at Sambo Road.”

 HURIWA said that the governor has gradually transformed his administration to a “one-man” show and has completely crippled the functional democratic efficiency of the Kaduna state house of assembly.

The group said that the governor is carrying out series of anti-democratic vendetta and attacks targeting voices of dissent even as his hatchet men are busy demolishing housing and assets of perceived political opponents.

“Kaduna House of Assembly has become a house of infamy with the rash of suspension of Christian law makers from Southern Kaduna who protested the incessant massacre of their people and the forceful dispossession of their ancestral communities by armed Fulani herdsmen who were even reported as paid by the governor to stop the killing.

“In spite of that, the herdsmen have continued to murder Southern Kaduna elites and villagers simply for opposing the tragic tyrannical styles of selective politics being played by El-Rufai, a Fulani-born politician from Zaria.”

Meanwhile, HURIWA has condemned the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to begin a violent clampdown on independent voices in the guise of a draconian declaration made by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that henceforth ‘hate speech’ is now terrorism offence.

The rights group warned against hiding under the guise of the war against hate speech to scuttle free speech.

“The Executive arm of government has no constitutional powers to create federal offences unless and until the national assembly specifically creates such as an offence through a very public, transparent and extensively debated procedures at the Assembly,” HURIWA said.

It therefore asked the United Nations to caution President Buhari to desist from launching a violent oppression of opposing voices, adding “free speech is the essential soul of constitutional democracy.”

HURIWA called on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and House of Reps Speaker, Hon. Dogara Yakubu, to invoke the powers vested on the National Assembly by virtue of section 11(4) of the 1999 constitution to take over the law making process of Kaduna state since the apparatus of law making in Kaduna State has collapsed spectacularly due to the heavy dose of dictatorial tendencies of Governor El-Rufai.

Source News Express

Posted 21/02/2018 7:26:52 PM


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