HURIWA writes world leaders, seeks end to sectarian killings in Nigeria

Posted by News Express | 24 July 2016 | 1,782 times

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Frontline Non-Governmental Organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Saturday wrote to world leaders through their Embassies in Abuja, Nigeria to ask for immediate global intervention to put an end to the spectre of sectarian killings before they spiral into a civil war in Nigeria.

In a letter endorsed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA particularly mentioned the widespread attacks of farming communities by armed Fulani herdsmen and the total lack of action by President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest the perpetrators;   prosecute and punish them sternly for mass murders and to effectively put an end to the orgies of killings.

HURIWA also told the World Leaders that President Buhari has persistently neglected the Constitutionally guaranteed Federal Character Principles in the appointments of top Defence and Police Chiefs.

The group asserted that the skewed top defence appointments have thereby favoured only the Hausa/Fulani Moslems and created a national sense of panic and apprehension by the rest of the other significant Christian segments of the society who constructively feel that they are targeted for elimination by armed Islamists following several instances of sectarian slaughter of Christians in Kano; Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.

The group said the decision to write the letter was taken because the Nigerian government has persistently failed to take concrete and fool proof military action to decisively confront the ever mobile armed Fulani terrorists. It stated her readiness to file a petition before the International Criminal Court if after 21 days the Buhari’s administration still refuses to effectively go after the armed marauders.

In the letter, which was entitled “Unlawful Homicide Under Nigerian Laws And The Obligation Of The Nigerian State To Enforce The Laws”, the group articulated the relevant sections of the law under the Nigerian Constitution, with detailed explanations to drive home their position.

“Sir we have taken the pains to comprehensively present to your good offices, the legal frameworks that ought to be operational in Nigeria to punish the crimes of mass murder including the brutal killing of protesters by security forces such as the incidents involving the unarmed protesters in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra  (IPOB) in Onitsha and other parts of Southern Nigeria few weeks back in which over 60 young persons were killed by armed security forces,” the rights group said.

Furthermore, it pointed out that Amnesty International has indicted the security forces agencies like the Nigeria Police Force of extra-judicial killing of 50 unarmed members of IPOB and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) while marking the anniversary of the heroes of the defunct Biafra in Anambra State last May.

HURIWA wrote: “But in a quick reaction, the Army in the South East of Nigeria denied the allegation of extra-judicial killing, pointing out that their personnel acted in line with global best practices and utmost restraint while members of the IPOB and MASSOB resorted to the use of  dangerous and crude cocktails leading to the death of two policemen and causing injury to soldiers and policemen alike. IPOB denied these allegations stridently and Amnesty International has already called for independent inquiry. Our organization is working to promote human rights within the Army and so when this incident occurred we asked the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army which has recently set up a human rights department to use internal mechanisms to ascertain the veracity of the claims of violations of rights to life of the civilian protesters and to take measures to penalise offenders.

“Amnesty International in a release said that it conducted an on-the-ground investigation, which confirmed that the Nigerian Army gunned down unarmed people ahead of last May 2016 pro-Biafran commemoration events in Onitsha, Anambra State.

“According to the human rights watchdog, evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, morgues and hospitals confirmed that between 29-30 May 2016, the Nigerian military opened fire on members of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), supporters and bystanders at three locations in the town.

“You may also have read on regular bases the incessant killings of farmers by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen and the lack of committed response on the part of the Federal Government to implement and enforce the relevant Nigerian laws against these wanton killings.

“The latest is the killing by suspected Fulani herdsmen of a First class Traditional Ruler in a Christian Community in Plateau State, the Saf Ron Kulere, and Chairman of Bokkos Traditional Rulers’ Council, Sir Lazarus Agai and the sad incident leading to the unnecessary shooting to death by armed security Forces of unarmed protesters in Plateau State where about three people were said to have lost their lives and a 24 hour curfew imposed on the state as a result."

The group appealed to the international community to intervene by urging the Nigerian state under the current dispensation to carry out her constitutional obligations by preventing these crimes from spreading, stop the mass killings, arrest the perpetrators and prosecute them with professional efficiency.

“Your government is obliged as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council to demand that the Nigerian state take concrete measures to punish perpetrators of sectarian killings which have become widespread and which has resulted in the widening apprehension and anxieties amongst Christians who feel that the government which is currently controlled by a Moslem and with all the major security and defence positions manned by Moslem appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Christians are no longer safe in some parts of Nigeria.

“Sir we know that your home government provides technical and funding assistance for the training of Nigerian Security Forces and this fact makes it imperative that your home government must take practical diplomatic measures to ensure that democracy is not undermined in Nigeria and to demand an end to the specters of killings in Nigeria.”

•Photo shows Comrade Onwubiko.

Source: News Express

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