Posted by News Express | 27 October 2016 | 2,221 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has cautioned the Federal Government against the use of armed security forces and the anti-graft agencies to witch-hunt perceived dissenting voices.
“The recent gale of arrests of perceived dissenting voices and writers such as Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Aviation minister and the erstwhile Chief Spokesman of the immediate past president Dr. Reuben Abati few hours after he penned a vociferous opinion article detailing some alleged metaphysical afflictions in the presidential villa in Abuja are undemocratic and could signpost a determined campaign against freedom of expression,” the Association said in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf.
The rights group also alleged that “other Security forces have borne their fangs against certain persons such as suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) following reported cases of forced disappearances of these persons from their homes in Aba, Abia State and Onitsha in Anambra State.”
The group called for transparent investigation of the alleged abduction by security forces of members of IPOB while describing the re-arrest of Fani-Kayode and that of Abati as unfortunate and illegal.
In the case of Fani-Kayode, a former Aviation Minister and later, Spokesman of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential campaign organisation, the rights group said the re-arrest of a man who was already arraigned in a court of law and granted bail was reminiscent of a coordinated campaign of political witch-hunt the PDP chieftain is known to have lately become a notable opposition opinion molder in the political firmament of Nigeria.
HURIWA has also warned that Chief Kayode must not be suspiciously eliminated following his allegation of a clandestine plot to poison him in the EFCC cell with the aim of killing him by chemical means.
HURIWA said the widely reported collapse of Chief Kayode barely 24 hours after he was clamped into detention by EFCC must be viewed critically given that of recent there have been suspicious deaths of suspects in EFCC detention facilities.
In the case of Dr. Abati, HURIWA said it was suspicious and highly debatable that the EFCC could spring to their feet to arrest him only after he wrote a controversial article on the alleged demonic infestations in Aso Rock Villa which reportedly jolted the political establishment in Abuja.
“We caution that government must not deploy the apparatus of anti-graft agencies to deliberately go after perceived dissenting voices. We wonder why Dr. Abati was never interrogated several months after the erstwhile National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki was detained, only for EFCC to wake up from slumber suddenly when Dr. Abati wrote in his globally acclaimed and debatable article about some spiritual forces haunting occupants of Aso Rock Villa.
“Whilst we support anti-graft fight devoid of political vendetta and witch-hunt, we want to remind government that the Constitutional freedom of expression and opinions are sacrosanct even as all the International human rights laws entered into by Nigeria recognised the fundamental rights of citizens to freely canvass their opinion without fear or favour within the bounds of law.”
•Photo shows Abati.
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