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Friday, 18 January 2019

HURIWA SPEAKS ON PYTHON DANCE 3:- SAYS IT'S AN IMPROVEMENT:

A Prominent Pro- Democracy and Non-Governmental organization - HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked operatives of the Nigerian Army to maintain the cordial relationship it is enjoying amongst the people of South East of Nigeria especially as the Operation Python Dance three kicks off.

HURIWA spoke in Owerri, Imo State after an independent tour of the five South East of Nigerian States of Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi and Imo State to assess the mood of the people of South East of Nigeria towards the recently inaugurated Operation Python Dance three and also to encourage the prospective South East voters to participate massively in the February and March 2019 General elections so as to elect only credible political office seekers who will abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) and fundamentally rebuild the South East of Nigeria into an Economic and industrial hub.

The National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko who led a three member investigative team on the assessment visit to the South East of Nigeria stated that the general impressions the team got from a lot of residents of the South East Geopolitical zone of the Country is that this third phase of the military training operation by the Nigerian Army is geared towards assisting the Nigeria Police Force and other relevant law enforcement agencies to sweep off armed gangs and organized criminals terrorizing millions of law abiding citizens of the South East of Nigeria even as the national scope of the military exercise launched on Monday in Lagos by the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai remains the trigger that comprehensively convinced the people of South East of Nigeria that the operation was not an isolated operation that is to target certain persons or groups of agitators in the South East of Nigeria.

HURIWA said the findings from the team which also coopted leaders of some Community based organizations in the South East of Nigeria show that unlike the previous OPERATION EGWU EKE 11 which specifically was perceived as an isolated operation that targeted sympathizers and perceived members of the pro-Self Determination campaigners of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and witnessed several conflicts between members and sympathizers of IPOB and the armed forces of Nigeria leading to fatalities, most people who spoke with HURIWA said the current OPERATION PYTHON DANCE 3 is acceptable provided the armed operatives will stay off unnecessary confrontations with unarmed persons and also not be deployed to manipulate the forthcoming elections. The people of the South East of Nigeria are ready and determined to actively participate in the elections which they see as the last opportunity to elect persons that will guarantee good governance in the zone.

HURIWA said thus: "Although as a platform that campaigns for constitutional democracy we had initially canvassed that the Nigerian Army should focus on battling the armed terrorists of Boko Haram in the North-East of Nigeria and ensure that Boko Haram terrorists are significantly degraded, decimated and destroyed, but most people interviewed  in the South East of Nigeria said the military training that is code named OPERATION EGWU EKE 3 is not a threat to the enjoyment of the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and a plethora of International and continental human rights and humanitarian treaties, covenants, conventions, laws and agreements provided the armed operatives adhered  strictly to the global best practices, stick to their rules of engagement and stay off the polling and collation centers during the forthcoming elections because the people believe that the Nigerian Army as a professional institution created by the constitution in section 217(1) ought not to be used by politicians to deprive the people of their civil liberties and the fundamental human rights recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution and many other internationally  binding laws. We were told by the people that they are prepared to work and partner with the Nigerian Army to eradicate criminality and criminals who are creating insecurity in many towns and communities in the South East of Nigeria and discourage investors from locating their investments and businesses in the South East of Nigeria.  These people living and doing legitimate businesses in the South East of Nigeria told us that their wish is that the South East of Nigeria will become a viable commercial and industrial zone so millions of graduates and school leavers who are now without jobs can be gainfully employed and they said if the military operations can guarantee security of life and property it therefore means that the States of the North East of Nigeria will in no time be rapidly developed so the youth can be productively engaged and become constructive creators of legitimate wealth to turn around the area and minimize the consequences of mass poverty and declining standards of living".

Specifically section 217 of the constitution states thus: “There shall be an armed forces for the Federation which shall consist of an army, a navy, an Air Force and such other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly; (2) The Federation shall, subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of -: defending Nigeria from external aggression; maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea, or air; suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the President, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly; and performance such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly. (3) The composition of the officer corps another ranks of the armed forces of the Federation shall reflect the federal character of Nigeria.”

HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian Army had disclosed that its annual training programme, the ‘Operation Python Dance III’, also known as Exercise Egwu Eke III, in South East States formations and units under 82 Division, Nigerian Army is meant for eradication of criminals and not to endanger lives and property of the citizenry.

HURIWA recalled that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 82 Division Nigeria Army, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Boman Kabuk, at the 302 Artillery Regiment, (General Support) Onitsha, Anambra State, when he paid a familiarization visit to the military cantonment, having resumed duties in Enugu on August 6, 2018 also assured the people that the sanctity of the human rights and dignity of their human persons would be guaranteed and protected.

HURIWA quoted the Military General as stating as follows: “Exercise Egwu Eke III, is a training exercise for troops of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army and during the training, if there are criminal activities like armed robbery, kidnapping and other criminal activities that distort peace and tranquility of the citizenry along the line, the Army will not close its eyes and watch those criminals activities to thrive.”

HURIWA recalled that the Military General further spoke thus: "Nigerian Army therefore urged all law abiding citizens of the country, particularly the people of South East to go about their legitimate, lawful and genuine businesses, saying that “those afraid of the exercise are criminal elements that do not want their activities checked and are just being afraid of the consequences of their heinous criminal actions.”

HURIWA recalled that  Maj. Gen Kabuk , who was accompanied by some senior Army officers from 82 Division, was led round the Onitsha military cantonment for inspection of equipment and facilities by the Commander, 302 Artillery Regiment, General Support, Col. Idongesit Akpan.

HURIWA recalled that General Kabuk also explained the exercise thus: “We want to let Nigerians know that if we are training, we are training to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. So, the pro Biafra activists and killer herdsmen are also Nigerians who are misguided. We should not allow misguided elements to disturb our peace. What we want is for law abiding citizens to live in peace. If you are not law abiding, the law will take its course. That is all we are saying.”

HURIWA expressed optimism that the armed operatives taking part in the Operation Python Dance three will absolutely abide by the rules of engagement and not violate the human rights of the citizens just as the group asked the citizens to partner with the armed forces to build a better society that will ensure peace and stability which are necessary for economic growth of the society and progressive advancement of fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

HURIWA promised to monitor the implementation of the operation python dance 3 to ensure compliance to the constitutional rights of citizens.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

FOI REQUESTS: LEARN FROM ARMY-: HURIWA TO FEDERAL AGENCIES: *Wants national honour for Buratai: 


A pro-democracy and Pro-transparency Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked ministers and heads of federal government agencies to emulate the shining examples of the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai by rapidly responding to numerous requests made by groups and individuals to them about their procurement and administration of public finances in their custody.

HURIWA which spoke against the backdrop of the emerging information that the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai immediately sent a comprehensive and thoroughly accountable response to a Lagos based civil rights group- Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP); Enough is Enough (EIE) and BUDGIT which authored and submitted to the offices of the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai a jointly written Freedom of information request on the disclosure of expenses made by the Army in the ongoing counter terror war in the North East of Nigeria.  HURIWA said the action of Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai in responding to this request from Non-Governmental organizations is an unprecedented act of heroism which must be celebrated and adopted as a litmus test for all other Federal Government ministries, agencies and parastatals that operate opaque finding mechanisms which lead to extensive and widening corruption. This good and remarkable example should serve as veritable standard bearer for other state entities that have so far resisted the calls and advocacy for the Freedom of information Act to be domesticated in their States."

HURIWA recalled that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai had responded to joint freedom of information request sent to him by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough Is Enough (EIE), and BUDGIT requesting him to provide information on spending on military operations across the country, particularly in the northeast.

HURIWA's hierarchy in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf recalled vividly that in a statement signed on behalf of the groups, Bamisope Adeyanju of SERAP said that a bulky photographic and textual document was delivered to SERAP office by an army officer.

HURIWA quoted SERAP as disclosing that a quick look at the document shows a list of several projects reportedly implemented by the Nigerian Army, including barracks renovation and construction, operational expenditure, troops welfare, and equipment procurement even as she said the groups will study the document carefully to get details of its contents and respond appropriately.
HURIWA further recalled that the Lagos based CSO known as Serap also commended the army's compliance with the FOI request and urged other public office holders to toe the same line to contribute to efforts at promoting accountability in the country.

HURIWA on its own said the decision of the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai deserves a national award and appreciation by the organized civil society community just as it indicated that it has initiated a social media nomination process for credible Non-Governmental organizations around the Country to indicate interest in joining HURIWA  and her 35 other affiliates including the Continental body- ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN WRITERS ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS (AFRIRIGHTS) to confer a GOLD MEDAL AWARD ON the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai for this tremendous show of solidarity and support for the total implementation and enforcement of the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT  which is a tool for the enthronement of the compliance by all government officials with the time honoured and tested principles of Accountability and Transparency.

HURIWA stated thus: "We have in the last three years sent out over two dozen FOI requests to Federal ministries including ministries of Budget and Planning; Finance; Justice and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) but got no response. “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to jointly congratulate the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army for this show of respect for the Rule of law".

IDRISS KPODUM's EXIT IS GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH- SAYS HURIWA: *Condemns Buhari's consistent breach of Federal character Principles in top security Appointments:



A Prominent Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described the exit from police force of the immediate past Inspector General of Police Alhaji Ibrahim Kpodum Idriss as good riddance to bad rubbish and perhaps the finest opportunity for the emerging hierarchy of the Nigerian Policing Institution to have a rebirth and change the tragic comedy that policing became under the last leadership which lasted three years from 2015 to January 15th 2019. HURIWA asked the incoming IGP to sack the spokesman of Force headquarters Mr. Jimoh the rapidly promoted Assistant commissioner of police picked by Idriss Kpodum ibrahim for bringing public odium to the media and public image of the Nigeria Police force.  The Force PRO under the past IGP is everything but professional because that office elevated double speak and falsehood to a religion in the Nigeria Police force. 

HURIWA has also charged the new acting Inspector General of police Alhaji  Abubakar Adamu to hit the ground running by first and foremost changing the public relations dynamics of the Nigerian policing institution from the global notoriety it garnered for itself as a lying policing force to become a people's friendly police that will focus on comprehensively enforcing the laws effectively, efficiently and professionally in absolute loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) and to change the face of the police from a highly compromised agency that carries out politically motivated hatchet jobs for the highest bidders and the political party in power and become a truly Nigeria Police Force that will serve Nigerians creditably. "The police in Nigeria has become the most untrustworthy institution in Nigeria and swims in the illegality of bribery and corruption. NPF now stinks of impunity and crass indiscipline". 

HURIWA said: "We wish to recommend to the new IGP to adopt a 1 point agenda which will revolve around turning the currently corrupt and politically compromised Nigeria Police to a Professionally effective and efficient Policing institution that will be administered in absolute compliance with the Rule of law and in total obedience to the Nigerian Constitution and all relevant law enforcement statutes. Alhaji Ibrahim Kpodum Idriss is so far the worst Inspector General of police in Nigeria's recorded history. He elevated executive rascality to it's stinking peak". 

HURIWA however condemned President Muhammadu Buhari's aversion for appointment of non Moslems into strategic internal security posts just as HURIWA states that the concentration of all internal security appointments in the hands of Northern Moslems is unconstitutional and a shameful worship of the goddess of nepotism and favouritism by President Muhammadu Buhari. 


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

BUILD ABUJA HOUSES FOR FALLEN SOLDIERS


A Prominent pro-democracy  and  Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to work out a comprehensive budget and build houses for all members of the Armed forces killed in the line of duty in the ongoing counter terror war to be called "HEROES ESTATE ABUJA".

HURIWA in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf also called for the establishment through an Act of Parliament of a National War Heroes Hall of fame in which an expansive museum should be erected in a part of Nigeria with the mandate of enlisting all the fallen heroes who died whilst defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria from the grave threats constituted over the past ten years by armed boko haram terrorists which  has led to over 25,000 casualties of both civilians and military. The precise location of the Museum should be decided by the people through a coordinated phone votes.

HURIWA said the Nigerian government must implement the disbursement of the Boko Haram terrorists multibillion Naira worth victims supports funds to all the families affected in one way or the other by the decade old insurgency including those whose daughters were kidnapped by armed Islamists and have never been found.  HURIWA however regretted that the Victims Support Fund may have been converted to a political slush going by the widening poverty and excruciating poverty amongst survivors of  boko haram terrorists attacks.

The Rights group said it was obligatory also that the Nigerian government  should name all the abducted girls as national prisoners of conscience and doll out national awards to each and everyone of them including the payment of N50 million compensation to each of  these families of the Abducted Chibok and Daochi school girls. HURIWA condemned the Federal Government for abandoning the only Christian amongst the Youngsters kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Dapchi in Yobe state.

HURIWA said the rebuilding and reconstruction process of the North East of Nigeria must of necessity include comprehensive compensation packages for Nigerians of Southern extraction whose entire life savings and assets were lost to the insurgency including the losses they suffered in their businesses just as the Rights group stated that there was the need for the Federal government in partnership with the States of the North East of Nigeria to compile records of all the actual victims of the terrorists attacks including all the persons sheltering in different Internally displaced persons camps and all the victims who are refugees in Cameroon and Niger Republic. The group criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to prosecute his erstwhile disgraced Secretary to the government of the federation Babachir Lawal who allegedly mismanaged over half a billion Naira from the North East of Nigeria reconstruction fund.

HURIWA said the National Assembly needs to provide effective oversight supervision on how the processes of compensation and resettlement of the victims of boko haram terrorists attacks are carried out so as to ensure compliance to global best practices and to adhere strictly to the principles and practice of transparency and accountability. 

HURIWA made these observations against the backdrop of the marking of the year 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day even as the group regretted that the President Muhammadu Buhari's administration had paid more emphasis on the resettlement of the so called 'repentant boko haram terrorists' who wreaked havoc on the people of North East of Nigeria for years and the same government has failed spectacularly to attend to the yearnings, aspirations and needs of the victims of the boko haram terrorists attacks who have been denied social justice. "It's  only in a banana republic that the so called government will value violent criminals rebaptised as repentant terrorists whereas the victims of these bloodletting are left to suffer without any form of assistance from government. We hereby call on the National Assembly to wake up and demand from the Executive Arm of government that it respects the Constitution by bringing decisive justice to all terrorists and also delivering lasting justice to the hundreds of thousands of the victims of these heartless and relentless attacks by the boko haram terrorists".

HURIWA recalled that the Executive Director, Victims Support Fund (VSF), Dr Sunday Ochoche, said that N54 billion was pledged at the fund raising organized to support victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

Ochoche disclosed this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
According to him, less than N30 billion of the amount has been redeemed since the commencement of operations by VSF.

He said that a committee was inaugurated by the Federal Government to help in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of victims of insurgency.

“As soon as the General Danjuma committee was inaugurated by the president, the first thing they did was to hold the fund raiser to generate fund; Yes the Federal Government made a pledge and the Federal Government has redeemed 100 per cent of its pledge.

“The single largest individual contribution came from the chairman itself General Danjuma, who pledged $10 million and redeemed his $10 million immediately.

Friday, 11 January 2019

HOW OUR VILLAGES IN SOUTH EAST GOT DESERTED AND HOW THESE AREAS CAN BE REPOPULATED.


December 2018 just like every other Christmas season is usually a very busy time for the people of South East of Nigeria. This is so because millions of people who live far away from their homeland usually visit home at that material time to pay homage to their home towns and familiarize with their fellow citizens whom they have not seen for some times.

A noticeable thing about most villages especially in Imo, Abia and Ebonyi state is the effect of massive rural – urban drifts. There are a number of factors that have made our very will populated villages of the early 1980’s to now look like the ghost of their old self. This is what this piece is set out to interrogate.

South East consists of so many Igbo villages, in one of my tours this festive period, I found out that most of these villages in south east are deserted in the sense that most indigenes of these places didn’t see it as an important thing to do, I tried finding out what the problem could be I observed that so many villages are deserted because some people think staying away from the village gives them peace of mind, they wouldn’t have to face any confrontation from any kinsmen.

Village got deserted as a result of migration caused by marriage, most young men from other villages that stays in the urban areas comes to a particular village to pick a wife, once they get married to them, they all go back to the urban area, give birth to their children over there and they won’t even think of coming back to the villages.

Most of the indigenes left the villages because they went in search of a BETTER LIFE in the urban area and they have refused coming back because they have the feeling that they are not getting what they want in the village.

In our interview with most people from the villages in Abia State in south East. They gave us different reasons why the villages in South East got deserted and the best ways to which it can be repopulated.

Mr. Ikwegbu Daniel Onyedikachi from Umuokwe Umuhu Ezechi Bende L.G.A in Abia State, made his points by saying that South Easterners are predominantly hyperactive, they see staying idle or living average as a bad omen and a taboo.  He stated firmly that no man or woman wants to be in the village when their age mates are making names and livelihood in the urban areas and that’s the reason for the migration of people (mainly youths) from the villages in South East to bigger cities. Mr. Daniel said that the South Easterners are not so great in farming as we see it as unchallenging and degenerative, instead they love to trade in all things they lay their hands on, from kitchen to house wares, office and building materials, they mastered the act of bringing bright minds to the urban areas from the village each time, where they learn the gimmicks and the trade, and in turn, these young masters grow wealthy  and experienced enough to train other little boys with great minds , so coming back to the village most times is actually not so important to them because they can’t leave their business. He went ahead to say that greener pasture is a motivating factor because once the people hear of a location that has potential green gold; they flood to that area in search of livelihood. Also poor government contributed to the reason why these villages are deserted because in a village with no electricity, how would you convince a business startup or any of such in the village, bad road network can’t even allow a farmer to get his crops to the market for sales. Had government or individuals of good fortune shown them another lucrative means like mechanized farming and the advantages of easy raw materials for industrial purpose from local farms, they won’t think of migrating and leaving their villages deserted.

In conclusion, Mr. Daniel told us that the villages in Igbo land can be repopulated if the government can open up the rural areas, set up citadels, hospitals, industries, ministries and projects in the rural area, it will bring people back from the urban area . Individuals will be glad to work in the village with access to cheap food, transportation and housing. If all these things are done, there will be a demographic improvement in all areas including infrastructure and health and there will be no need for people to desert their villages.

Mr. Paul Ugochukwu Collins from Umumba Nsirimo Umuahia South L.G.A Abia State told us clearly that the local areas are not actually deserted rather it is just a case of rural urban migration, and the factor is evident everywhere. Mr. Collins said that people are in need of greener pastures and also civilization and urbanization is fast taken over our world and everyone has got to keep pace in other to follow the trend, he sighted an instance of how you will have to be in the village with limited internet provider, where as in the urban area the internet is steady.

Mr. Collins concluded by saying that the village can be repopulated, if the government must be seen to be true with their words, the things seen in the urban area should be replicated in our villages, because if people can get in the village the same services that should take them to the urban area then they will have no need to go as far as the urban area to get the services.


Mr. Onyedikachi Daniel Ebo from Ofeme Ohuhu in Umuahia North L.G.A in Abia State, spoke to us saying that village got deserted because people are going out to look for greener pastures simply because the cost of living down here is high. He talked about a case where you can buy a phone for N5000 (Five Thousand Naira (in Lagos, but when you come to Umuahia you will buy the same phone at the rate of N8000 (Eight Thousand Naira). Mr. Ebo stated that lack of federal presence is also the reason why the village got deserted because they have refused to do what they should do. He told us that the South East especially inside the villages have been militarized, so most people find it unsafe, moving around in an environment full of military men, even foreign investors find it very unsafe to invest in such environment.

Mr. Ebo finally told us that the best way the villages in South East can be repopulated is by reopening the Port Harcourt and Calabar Seaports, improving the infrastructure, demilitarizing the South East and finally allowing Nigeria to go back to regional government, then every region will have to manage and develop their regions, the center will be less attractive and the government will be closer to the people.

Miss. Oturi Favour  Onyedikachi from Ohokobe Ndume, Umuahia North L.G.A in Abia State stated clearly that Christmas is a festive period done in the honour of the birth of our lord Jesus Christ, its a period where gifts and food are shared in merriment and happiness, families get to come from different locations to reunite owing to the holidays attached to the period, compared to other Ethnicity, the  Ndi-Igbos hold it at high regards, they travel in their masses just to partake in the festive ceremonial days attached to it, such as ;IGBA-UCHE (Traditional Retirement), EKPE(Masquerade Day). Nevertheless, most Ndi-Igbos experienced a poor turn up of those staying in the urban areas and this led to a poor Christmas celebration as most of the awaited personnel didn’t show up.
Miss. Favour told us firmly that Ohokobe Ndume Community of Umuahia, Abia State was one of such communities that experienced poor turn up of the expected people from the urban areas and as a result of this the village was deserted. She told us that the poor turn up can be attributed to the following reasons ; ECONOMICAL CRISES ; owning to the economical situation of this great country Nigeria, businesses where faced with crumbling economy which most people weren’t able to resolve so as a result of that they couldn’t come back, so that they don’t end up spending more. TRANSPORTATION LAPES;  As a result of bad roads, unresolved increase in the transportation fee, Road Insecurity etc., so many resolved to staying back in their homes rather than risking their lives due to insecurity and at the end of the day the village got deserted. FEAR OF THE UNKOWN; this is one of the great reasons why our villages got deserted, it’s a pity that the Ndi-Igbos still run from their hometowns due to the fear of the unknown. They believe that someone out there is waiting to tie their destinies once they get back to the village, they are scared that someone in the village does not like their progress, thus they resolve to hiding themselves in the urban areas to avoid the UNKNOWN. Miss. Favour went further to tell us other limiting factors such as poor infrastructures in the villages, poor network coverage, unplanned expenses.

In conclusion, Miss. Favour  told us that these communities can be repopulated if the Ndi-Igbos should resolve to drafting out good business plans for each year, so that they won’t be stranded whenever they want to visit their hometowns, also the government owe it to Nigerians to regulate transportation prices, better roads should be fixed by the state and federal government, government should also provide proper security in these villages, she said that the local government and Abia State house of Assembly representatives has a big role to play in front lining the Ohokobe Ndume community, they should appeal to the state as well as the federal for better infrastructure in our community, if all these things are done, the village will be repopulated again.

Mr. Udenze Christian from  Elugwu Umuogba Ekeoba  Ohuhu in Umuahia North L.G.A Abia State stated  that occupational migration is one of the main reasons people leave their hometowns to the urban areas in search of good jobs, people migrate as a result of poor infrastructure in the village and also the poor living condition of the people ranging from health care, education, power, accessible roads and all these can make people leave the village to look for a better place more conducive for them.

Mr. Christian concluded by telling us the factors that can aid the stopping of the rural to urban drift, he told us that job creation in these rural areas will reduce the occupational migration, also the government should improve the infrastructure in the villages and by so doing things will be put in place.

Hon. Chiwetara Chinedu from Amaokwe Ugba Ibeku in Abia State made it clear in his speech that the village got deserted because many don’t have the opportunity to be coming back to the village, most people come back maybe once in 4years, he also said that the bad shape and condition of the economy is a contributing factor because one can’t possibly stay in his hometown without the cash flow and there are huge form of expenses in the rural area.
Finally, Hon. Chiwetara told us that before the villages can be repopulated; there should be a stable economy, so that people will have a reason to come back to the villages for investments and other goods things.

Having heard from all these people from Abia State in Nigeria, you will agree with me that, the main reason why these villages in South East got deserted is because most people have gone out to look for better life in the urban areas. Poor infrastructure also played a big role in making the village a deserted place. In my research I found out  that most of these people that left the village in search of greener pastures are actually doing nothing over there rather they are moving around seeking for job opportunities, we can repopulate our villages by hosting  a skill acquisition program in these villages it will go a long way in bringing these people back, also the government should look into the infrastructural development, build good hospitals and standard clinics that the villagers can go to whenever they are sick, instead of running to the urban areas for treatment, employ qualified doctors and medical personnel, establish good schools for the children in the village, employ experienced teachers that can impact great knowledge into the children. The government should make provision for mechanized farming, the people in the village will be so happy and the people in the urban areas will have a good reason to be back to their hometowns.

Finally, our people should stop living in fear with the mentality that the village is not safe for them. The village is for everybody, let us all come back and repopulate it.

*Interviews were conducted by Miss Obilor Grace Cliffs Chidiebube, a member of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) based in the South East of Nigeria.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

HURIWA DECRIES VIOLENCE AT LAGOS APC CAMPAIGN: *Accuses Presidency of protecting lawless APC chieftains:


A leading pro-democracy and non-governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked the Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah– led National Peace Committee and the relevant law enforcement agencies to tackle the rising spate of organized violence by armed political thugs at virtually most top level All Progressives Congress’s campaign rallies. HURIWA also tasked all political parties running for offices to stop the deployment of armed political thugs targeting political opponents even as the group has demanded appointment of a competent professional to step in as Police Inspector General to take over from the highly partisan and compromised outgoing IGP billed for retirement on the attainment of statutory 60 years age of retirement especially because he is an abysmal failure in office.

The Rights group believed that the armed thugs who are masterminding the numerous acts of violence during political meetings have been emboldened by the conspiratorial silence of the security services and particularly the Nigeria police which has always looked the other way whilst bloody violence are unleashed by hired thugs apparently because the sponsors are top officials in the different levels of government.

Wondering why the police has chosen to use politically motivated yardstick to refuse to arrest, prosecute and ensure that the full weight of the relevant legal provisions against organize violence and murder are used against suspected sponsored thugs belonging to All Progressives Congress, the Rights group has therefore demanded immediate action against political thugs.
In a media release in reaction to the bloody violence at the Lagos flag off of the APC governorship campaign in Lagos in which three persons were reportedly killed and numerous other citizens including journalists injured by hired thugs armed with dangerous weapons, the group said the impunity dates back to even the flag off of governorship campaign by APC in Ekiti state few months ago in which even a former federal House of Representatives member was injured and had to be flown abroad for medical attention.

HURIWA stated that even at the last national convention of APC during which the current leadership emerged, there was bloody violence caused by alleged loyalists of the Imo state governor who targeted supporters of the then National organizing secretary senator Osita Izunaso who was a member of a coalition that resisted the planned imposition of Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law as his successor in office.

HURIWA in the statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said that the police nevertheless has failed to institute charges against any of the armed political thugs apparently because they have the backing of the APC government officials.

“The violence in Lagos has once more brought to the front burner of national discuss about the unambiguous compromise of the hierarchy of the Nigeria police Force who are in breach of the constitution by not effectively enforcing the laws without let or hindrance.”

HURIWA has therefore asked president Buhari to let Ibrahim Kpodum Idris the outgoing Inspector General of Police to quit the stage forthwith so a much more competent professional and non-partisan officer is made the Inspector General of Police to salvage the policing institution from global opprobrium.

HURIWA has also demanded the arrest, prosecution and comprehensive sanction for all the armed thugs that carried out the attacks in Lagos which led to fatalities just as the Rights group has charged the National Peace Committee to call president Buhari to order to stop him from tolerating political violence and impunity amongst his supporters who are becoming embolden and much more daring and dangerous to the health of the nation.

Monday, 7 January 2019

ARMY/DAILY TRUST: HURIWA URGES MEDIA ON RESPONSIBLE SECURITY REPORTING; *TASKS ARMY TO FREE DETAINED JOURNALISTS:

The Prominent Pro-democracy and Non-Governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is monitoring the development regarding the reported invasion of the Premises of the national office of Daily Trust Newspapers in Abuja and its regional office in Maiduguri in Borno State. 

At first when our attention was called to it we expressed shock that this could happen in an era whereby the Chief of Army staff Lieutenant  General  Tukur Yusuf Buratai  has entered the annals of our national history as the head of the Army that significantly  improved relations between the civilian and military citizens in Nigeria with the institutionalization of a full department to coordinate civil and military relations which is headed by a senior General with offices spread across all the command structures of the military establishment. 

The current Chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf   it was who entered into  partnership with numerous credible civil society platforms and professional groups aimed at the mainstreaming of the respect of the fundamental human rights in the organizational and modus vivendi/operandi of the Nigerian Army.

So when this information reached us, we made extensive contacts with people who should know in and out of government institutions and we learnt that a certain report detailing a planned internal military operations by the Nigerian military in the ongoing Counter terrorism war may have caused the badblood between the usually friendly Nigerian Army and the ever responsible media in Nigeria.

We acknowledge that the Daily Trust is one amongst the very best in terms of professionalism and ethical conducts in carrying out their jobs. Indeed, most media analysts rate the Daily Trust as one of the very few Newspaper institutions that has supported the current administration and has consistently supported the ingoing counterterror war. This report detailing proposed military operations could have been avoided in the interest of national security and in line with the social responsibility role of the fourth estate of the realm. There is little doubts that the report may have destroyed the essence of the combat operations been panned by the Nigerian Army. The Nigerian Army we must admit has done so much and paid supreme sacrifices to work towards ensuring the preservation of the territorial integrity of Nigeria. 

“HURIWA acknowledges the expert opinion that national security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power.”

“The concept developed mostly in the United States after World War II. Initially focusing on military might, it now encompasses a broad range of facets, all of which impinge on the non-military or economic security of the nation and the values espoused by the national society.”

Furthermore, “HURIWA hereby restate a universal view that in order to possess national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, energy security, environmental security.”

“Security threats involve not only conventional foes such as other nation-states but also non-state actors such as violent non-state actors, narcotic cartels, multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations; some authorities include natural disasters and events causing severe environmental damage in this category.”

“Measures taken to ensure national security include: using diplomacy to rally allies and isolate threats marshaling economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation maintaining effective armed forces implementing civil defense and emergency preparedness measures (including anti-terrorism legislation) ensuring the resilience and redundancy of critical infrastructure using intelligence services to detect and defeat or avoid threats and espionage, and to protect classified information using counterintelligence services or secret police to protect the nation from internal threats.”

On the same vein, we know that the media has a responsibility to inform, educate and entertain the citizenry and to check abuses in the polity. Both the media and military institutions are subject to rule of law.

As members of the Human rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), to therefore read in the middle of the Day that Men of the Nigerian Army invaded Daily Trust head office in Abuja after taking over the Newspaper’s regional office in Maiduguri, Borno state and arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab indeed came to us as a rude shock.

Take note that we have already mentioned that in the last three years the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army has demonstrated maturity and commitments towards domestication and mainstreaming of virtually all international human rights provisions into their operational manuals and that pragmatic efforts have been made by the hierarchy to ensure that the operatives respect the fundamental human rights of citizens and the soldiers.  Several indicted human rights violators have been sanctioned even as many more of such cases are in their different stages of adjudication through the instrumentality of internal conflict resolution mechanisms and the mechanics of the human rights investigative desks set up in all military formations by the Chief of Army staff under the supervision of the department of civil and military relations.

We read that the soldiers forced the gate open at the head office and drove in with three Jokic vans loaded with armed soldiers just as everyone in the building was asked to move to the ground floor while they move computers. We are making efforts to verify these accounts and to urge for restraints. 

We hereby urge the military authority to show greater restraint and embark on the search for legal and or amicable resolution of whatever conflict may have arisen between the military institution and the media. The media workers arrested should be released forthwith.

We acknowledge that section 22 of the 1999 constitution confers on the media the right to serve as ombudsmen and gate keepers for the preservation of good governance and the respect of the fundamental human rights as enshrined in chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution but at the same time we acknowledge the strategic place of the military in line with section 217 of the Nigerian constitution in which case the territorial integrity of the Country ought to be protected by all means.
Section 22 of the Nigerian constitution stated thus: “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.”

Section 217 (1) and (2) stated:- “There shall be an armed forces for the federation which shall consist of an Army, a Navy, an Air Force and such other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly; The federation shall, subject to an Act of the National Assembly made in that behalf, equip and maintain the armed forces as may be considered adequate and effective for the purpose of – defending Nigeria from external aggression; maintaining its territorial integrity and securing its borders from violation on land, sea or air; suppressing insurrection and acting in aid of civil authorities to restore order when called upon to do so by the president, but subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly; and performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

The threat against the corporate existence of Nigeria by the armed terrorists of Boko Haram terrorists  and other terrorist elements affiliated to  Islamic state of Iraq and Syria is grave so all hands ought to be on deck to defeat the terrorists once and for all. The media must guide against any sensational reportage that is capable of undermining or ruining the strategic operations of the gallant soldiers who bear the brunts of waging this war so that our lives can be preserved and protected.

Although the Nigerian Army under the Constitution have no judicial powers of the federation which in section 6 is domiciled with the Judicial arm of the federation and therefore couldn't  have embarked on the use of measures that may be deemed as resorting to self-help measures rather than use the instruments of the laws to press charges, we think it is wrong professionally and a danger to the sanctity of our national security for the media to leak a planned military operation against a terror group that enjoys the backing of ISIS.

The media must exercise the greatest discretion and report responsibly because the corporate health and existence of Nigeria is endangered and indeed we are indirectly in an era of enforced emergency created by the dare devil terrorist activities of boko haram terrorists.

We are planning series of advocacy activities in the coming days to promote partnership between the media and the military authority so the rampaging boko haram terrorists are not in any way aided to destabilize and destroy our fatherland. We urge our soldiers never to get distracted or dis discouraged.

Whatever professional sacrifices the media must give to preserve the sanctity of the territorial integrity of Nigeria and conserve national security must be done now that Nigeria faces the greatest threats against our very existence as a nation and a people. The haste to write sensational page 1 story to capture the imagination of buyers and advertisers must be mitigated by the urgency of the now to preserve our national security because if there is no Nigeria there will be no Nigerian media.
We will also be writing to the ever friendly Chief of Army Staff to implore him to continue to encourage efforts at cementing greater partnership and synergy between the civilians and the military. 

The time for the media to engage in responsible security reporting is now until the boko haram terrorists are degraded, decimated and defeated. We urge the military to use legal means to resolve issues arising by way of conflicts between media workers and the military because both segments of the society ought to become partners in progressive nation building enterprises. The World is watching as rightly stated by President Muhammadu Buhari during the presentation of the 2019 budget to the National Assembly recently. God bless our Country Nigeria.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko; National Coordinator; Human rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

TEXT OF A MEDIA CONFERENCE TODAY JANUARY 7TH 2019.