Release arrested Jewish worshippers in Abia, HURIWA begs Army Chief

Posted by News Express | 15 February 2020 | 390 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has appealed to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai to immediately investigate the alleged arrest and order the release of all the Jewish worshippers that were reportedly arrested by soldiers in Abia State on their way to the burial of the parents of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

HURIWA said there is the urgent need for the allegation of arrest, detention of persons dressed as Jewish worshippers who are indeed members of the fast-growing Jewish community in Nigeria to be investigated.

The rights group also wants the anti-Semitic selective arrest of Jewish worshippers in Nigeria by police and soldiers, which has gone on for months now, must be brought to an end.

HURIWA is also calling on the Chief of Army Staff to continue to drum it out to his operatives on internal military operations to consistently and vigorously adhere to the principles of the rule of law, respect for the fundamental human rights of all citizens, respect for freedom of religion, freedom of worship and freedom of conscience.

The civil rights advocacy group through a media statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said that under no circumstances whatsoever should soldiers or the police harass, intimidate or arrest arbitrarily or undermine the constitutionally guaranteed Human Rights and freedoms of the Nigerian citizens only on the basis of their religion.

HURIWA also stated that the Chief of Army Staff should order the release if he finds the allegation meritorious because it is discriminatory and one does not arrest or discriminate a group of people based on their religion or based on their tribe and particularly when you treat Jewish worshippers as outcasts you might be guilty of crime against humanity known as anti-Semitism.

The rights group said: “We at the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), who are in partnership with the office of the Chief of Army Staff and the Army for the promotion of constructive Civil Military dialogues for human rights mainstreaming in the public functions of our Nigerian Army we are very much aware that the Chief of Army Staff is conversant with what the requirements of the law says in this regard therefore we appeal to him to order the immediate release of these men and women who were allegedly arrested near Umuahia because we have just been informed by our field officials in Umuahia.

“There are several provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, The Nigerian Constitution Chapter 4 and a plethora of legal provisions that make it obligatory that security forces must comply with the rule of law and in particular the human rights of citizens which on several occasions he himself the Chief of Army Staff has emphasised on several occasions and several public forums and has always been known for saying so this is the time and a litmus test for himself and his office which we are confident he will once more not tolerate abuses of the human rights of citizens.

“HURIWA appeals to him as partners to please order the release of these individuals who have committed no offence. It is not an offence for anybody to choose or worship his or her God anyway they want to worship.

“Everybody must not be either Christians or Muslims. People even have the rights to worship no one; atheism. They have the fundamental human rights to go about their legitimate activities even as Atheists without being harassed or without being coerced to join any of the established mainstream religious organisations.

What are these Army operatives that arrested these people trying to accomplish? Are these Army operatives trying to force these individuals to either become Christians or Muslims? What rights have they to arrest people simply because they see them dressing in Jewish regalia? What law in Nigeria states that someone must not dress like a Jewish person? That is anti-Semitism which is a very serious offence.

“We hope the Chief of Army Staff is aware of the severity of this offence? As a global traveller, the well-educated Army Chief is aware that this is why the Labour Party in Britain lost the election because the Labour Party is said not to have a clear position on anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity and that is exactly what the soldiers have just manifested by arresting people based on the fact that they are Jewish worshippers. This must not be allowed to happen.”

Source: News Express

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