HURIWA tackles Presidency on Zamfara, other killings

Posted by News Express | 29 August 2016 | 2,429 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has faulted the claim by the Presidency that the Zamfara killings is not the business of President Muhammadu Buhari, just as it demanded a public apology for such a systematic constitutional blunder.

HURIWA recalled that only last weekend the Presidency was quoted in the media to have stated that the recent killings of eight Nigerian citizens in Zamfara State is not the business of President  Mohammadu Buhari.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Presidential Spokesman told a team of broadcast  journalists that though the killings are an act of criminality,  Nigeria runs a Federation and so the President cannot be held  responsible for such crimes.

In its reaction, the pro-Constitutional group said it was regrettable that such a crass misjudgment and an absolute illogical and warped reasoning emanated from someone high up there in the Nigerian Presidency in a country that boasts of having produced over 10,000 professors of law scattered in reputable academic faculties globally.

In the media release jointly issued by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the group said the Presidency was not only wrong but also intended to misinform gullible Nigerians even when there is ample body of laws to the contrary. The group dismissed the media interview as a 'spectacular show of shame.’

HURIWA stated: “Elementary knowledge of the Nigerian laws should have taught the Presidential spokesman that there are a quantum of provisions in the constitution that demonstrate unambiguously, that the holder of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is importantly the Chief Security Officer of the entirety of Nigeria and significantly the Constitution assigns the holder  of Presidency of Nigeria the role of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Citing Section 218 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) the Rights group reminded the Presidency that “the powers conferred on the President by subsection (1) of section 218 shall include powers to appoint the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and heads of any other branches of the Armed Forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly.”

The group affirmed that importantly, both sections 215 (1) and 218 (1) confers on the President the power to appoint and direct the Inspector General of Police and specifically Section 218 (1) provides that “the powers of the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the Federation shall include power to determine the operational use of the Armed forces of the Federation.”

HURIWA said it was laughable for the Presidential Spokesperson to make such untenable claims that President Muhammadu Buhari has no business in the killings of Nigerians when the same President only a while ago personally signified and commissioned the commencement of special operations against cattle rustlers in Zamfara State by the Armed forces of the Federation.

“Importantly, Mr. President even as a civilian President was on that occasion in Zamfara state to kick off the military action against cattle rustlers dressed in the ceremonial regalia of a Military Field Marshall.

“May we ask the Presidency if the primary duty of the Federal Government is to secure the lives of Nigerian citizens or the lives of cows?”

HURIWA said the Nigerian Presidency draws her legitimacy from the Nigerian people who democratically elected President Muhammadu Buhari for a specific tenure and the Constitution recognise the Nigerian citizens as the owners of the Sovereignty of Nigeria and that the Primary duty of government is the security and welfare of Nigerians as clearly stated in Section 14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of Nigeria which is the Supreme body of law sworn to by President Buhari to abide by absolutely.

HURIWA said President Muhammadu Buhari has the constitutional obligation to ensure that those charged with the duty to maintain law and order like the military and police comply with global best practices and stop the biased style of law enforcement whereby Islamic extremists and armed Fulani herdsmen are allowed to roam about the farms of Nigerians, raping, maiming and killing with impunity.

Besides, the rights group said the state governors have little command and control powers over the police and the Armed Forces going by constitutional provisions just as it stated that responsibility falls squarely with Mr President first and foremost. HURIWA recalled that the Presidential spokesman had dismissed President Buhari's role in the Zamfara killings stating erroneously thus: “It happened in a state and we run a federation. That state has the primary responsibility of bringing the perpetrators to book.”

The rights group then affirmed thus: “It is shameful for such explanation to have come from the Presidency.  This statement which lacks logic and coherence has exposed the Country as that which tolerates impunity. The Presidency must apologise for this show of shame and clearly spell out to Nigerians what strategies are to be implemented immediately to combat the menace of incessant violent attacks by all sorts of hoodlums all over Nigeria.”

•Photo shows Comrade Onwubiko.

Source: News Express

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