Posted by News Express | 21 May 2021 | 420 times
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said it was a fallacy and an irredeemable illogicality for Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, to compare the ban on open grazing of cows in the South to ban in the sale of vehicular spare parts in the North. According to the rights group, “These two items are incomparable because whilst one is sold in an organised shopping mall by traders who pay rents and taxes to state government, cows that are openly grazed violently invade farm lands and have often caused destructions to farms.”
It also described as unconstitutional and primitive, the reported directive to the Police by the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, to engage in extra-legal killing of suspected members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The group said the directive by the acting IGP directly offends sections 33 (1) which states thus: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria” and 36 (5).
HURIWA said the implication of the illegal order is that the police chief lacks respect for the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) even as the group said it is aware that already a coalition of well over 200 civil rights bodies are compiling evidence to drag the acting IGP to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands to face prosecution for crimes against humanity being perpetrated in the South East by his operative on his orders.
HURIWA, which faulted the AGF for criticizing southern governors for banning open grazing stated that: “We are not in any way shocked that the Federal Attorney General and Minister, a Fulani born lawyer and politician, has attacked Southern governors for taking practical steps to checkmate the rampant invasions of farms in the South by armed Fulani herdsmen.
“It does appear that a federal Attorney General does not understand the laws in such a way that he is mixing up animal rights and human rights. The minister of justice of President Muhammadu Buhari is unaware that the fundamental human rights provisions enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution are not animal rights, which is why they are classified as human and not animal rights.
“That the Justice Minister of Nigeria now speaks for armed Fulani herdsmen is an unmitigated scandal but nevertheless not very strange to us because of our personal experience in a written exchanges with the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami recently.
“This is because, the same Minister had written to us a response saying his office has not prosecuted any alleged armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for the many massacres around Nigeria since 2015 because, according to him, government has no case file on this herdsmen killing farmers.”
HURIWA said it was not surprised because the Minister had categorically expressed lack of interest in prosecuting armed Fulani herdsmen.”
The rights group said it had in a letter signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, asked the Minister to prosecute “armed Fulani killers.”
However, the Minister in his reply claimed the cases in question had no case files and as such he could not prosecute them.
In his reply to a request by the civil rights group’s demand for the prosecution of the suspects, the Minister instructed an acting director in the ministry to write: “I am directed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to inform your office that the alleged crimes cannot be prosecuted.”
After receiving the AGF’s reply, HURIWA wrote a letter to the Ambassador of the United States of America, Mary Beth Leonard.
The letter titled, ‘Take note that (the) Nigerian Government is unwilling to prosecute mass killers,” was received by the American Embassy in Abuja, on October 14, 2020.
The letter partly reads: “Our appeal is that you use your good offices to demand that the Nigerian President take action to prosecute these mass killers who are roaming about freely even after they were paraded by the Inspector-General of Police.”
HURIWA said the Justice Minister deliberately feigned ignorance of the Land Use Act which gives the governors control over the lands in their states which implies that legally, governors have the constitutional powers to ban open grazing.
The rights group said the best way to obtain justice for farmers and families murdered by armed Fulani herdsmen is for the justice minister to resign immediately and find full time job as the lawyer to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
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