Posted by News Express | 12 August 2019 | 300 times
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has berated the Northern Governors Forum and the Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle, for failing to prosecute arrested armed bandits responsible for massive killings in parts of Northern Nigeria and Zamfara State specifically.
HURIWA said any policy by the Northern states to hold dialogues with armed bandits and criminals with blood of their people in their hands is criminal, immoral and absolutely unconstitutional just as it stressed that should they proceed with this illegal act then the blood of the innocent citizens wasted by these blood thirsty brutes called armed bandits and kidnappers/rustlers will be on their heads and generations unborn will remember them as those who misused their powerful offices to grant illegal pardon to armed killers of their parents and forebears.
HURIWA made the statement against the backdrop of the disclosures by the Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Matawalle, and his Katsina State counterpart, Alhaji Aminu Masari, that the Northern Governors Forum was about tabling a proposal for a regional wide amnesty programme to be floated for the benefits of armed bandits and kidnappers just as the rights group took strong exception to the direct disclosure by the Zamfara State Governor that his government has pardoned about 100 armed Fulani bandits who are part of the attackers responsible for much of the killings of civilians and destruction of property in his state.
HURIWA said the actions and illegal policy of dialoguing with armed bandits and criminals who should rather be made to face the full weight of the law is a direct sabotage of the Nigerian Constitution which specifically directed under the principle of constitutionalism that those who commit horrendous crimes must be subjected to forensic and clinically efficient and effective prosecutions for their crimes against humanity and punished in line with the due process of the law.
The action of these governors, the rights group said, violates section 15(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which completely outlaws the abuse of power even as the constitutional oath of office sworn to by these Governors obliges them not to undermine the due process of the law and constitutional purity.
It reminded the state Governors that the hallmark of contemporary society is that the adherence to the law must never be undermined on the altar of opportunistic tribal politics.
“To read that Governor Matawalle of Zamfara said he will pardon 100 Fulani people who are imprisoned over banditry in Gusau, the state capital when he received representatives of the Fulani community in Zamfara is one of the worst cases of abuse of power and abuse of office. How on earth will those elected to respect the principle of rule of law be the same persons misusing their privileged positions to undermine the constitution and the law?
“A society that institutionalised impunity and lawlessness is doomed. What happens to the thousands of those killed by the bandits and the kidnappers and what will their survivors be told to do? To co-exists with these same armed primitive brute who murdered their loved ones? This is absurd and repugnant to good conscience.
“Those elected as Governors must allow the relevant statutory agencies of law enforcement to enforce the laws and rid the society of criminals and criminality. We condemn this evil policy of the Northern Governors who, through this policy of handshake with blood thirsty criminals, are dancing on the graves of the victims of the years of armed banditry and kidnapping. This is one cover up that will damage the image of those states and office holders for generations.”
HURIWA reminded Matawalle that the task of governing a part of the federation as the Governor of Zamfara State is not an opportunity to totally negate the fundamental principles of rule of law that binds all the citizens together as a united corporate and sovereign entity and the office of governor is not to be used as a time to abuse the clearly established laws of the land of Nigeria.
The rights group wondered why the Zamfara State Governor had to meet with armed bandits, most of them seen in some trending photos in the media still brandishing their weapons apparently and the Governor who has sworn an oath of office to abide by the constitution is reported as telling these armed bandits that “you can see now; you are here not only in Gusau, but the Government House. Nobody will arrest you or harm you. Our aim is to have lasting peace in our dear state”, just as one of the suspected/alleged armed bandits identified as spokesperson of the Fulani community in Zamfara, Baba Bello, saying that all known bandits would surrender their weapons.
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