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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Killings of Pro-Biafra protesters: HURIWA canvasses United State’s; European- wide sanction on Nigeria: *Vows to press on with petition in ICC:

A reputable non-governmental and pro-democracy organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the United States of America's government and the European Union to impose sanctions on Nigeria over the spate of killings of civilians by security forces since two years ago that are unaccounted for despite global outcry.

The Rights group has also asked the United States Congress to freeze the sale of weapons to Nigeria already approved by President Donald Trump during a recent state visit by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari under whose command and control over a thousand unarmed Igbo demonstrators and sympathizers of the now proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra were mauled to their gruesome deaths by Nigeria Army. HURIWA also described as strange the decision by Donald Trump to sale sophisticated weapons to the Nigeria Army responsible for the gruesome mass murder of unarmed members of the Shiites Islamic movement and the UNJUST incarceration of its leader; his wife and hundreds of other members arrested and dumped in detention facilities for demanding the release of their leader who was thrice granted bails by Federal High Court but for which the Nigerian government disrespected.

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the inhuman decision by the President of United States to okay the sale of fighter Jets to the Nigerian government whose security forces killed thousands of Nigerian civilians which was even captured in the recent human rights report by the state department of United States of America.

HURIWA asserted that Amnesty International had done a highly scientific and evidence based findings which indicted the Nigeria Army for the extra-legal killings of over 600 demonstrators suspected to be members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and over 350 persons belonging to Shiites Islamic Movement who were killed by Army in Zaria over two years ago.

“We are in deep shock that although the United States President is ceased of all the damaging facts about large scale extralegal killings that occurred in South East of Nigeria and North West of Nigeria but still proceeded to okay the sell of the deadly fighter jets to the Nigeria Army whose human rights record is about the worst globally.”

HURIWA also recalled that a Frontline rights group, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) on recently accused the Nigerian Army of illegally killing about 150 pro-Biafra activist last year apart from the number listed by Amnesty international.  It alleged that the crime was committed last year and covered up under the blanket of Operation Python Dance II.

The allegation was contained in a statement signed by Intersociety Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme, Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli.

HURIWA said the statement released from the group’s head office in Onitsha, Anambra State, reads: “The combined authorities of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force are responsible for killing of no fewer than 456 defenseless and unarmed citizens of the country in 2017 alone. The killings included jet-bombing of no fewer than 236 Christian IDPs at Rann IDP camp in Kale-Balge LGA of Borno State on 17th January 2017.

“There were also no fewer than 20 supporters of Biafra Indigenous People, shot and killed by soldiers at pro Trump Rally in Port Harcourt on 20th January 2017; no fewer than 50 rural Christians bombed to death in Numan, Adamawa State on 4th December 2017; and no fewer than 150 mainly supporters of Biafra Indigenous People killed on 12th, 13th and 14th of September 2017 in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia (105 deaths), Isiala-Ngwa (20 deaths) and Aba (25 deaths). Over 100 unarmed and defenseless others were also shot and wounded particularly in Afara-Ukwu; which witnessed the highest number of injuries and Aba with the second highest number of injuries.

“In 2016, the Nigerian Army, joined by Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies killed no fewer than 200 pro Biafra activists in Aba on 18th and 29th of January and 9th of February (60 deaths including 16 slain bodies dumped in two burrow pits and over ten recovered slain bodies) and 29th and 30th of May 2016 at Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba (140 deaths with only about 15% bodies of the slain recovered and buried by their families).

“In 2015, the Nigerian Army, joined by Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies killed no fewer than 50 unarmed pro Biafra campaigners. They were killed at Awka and Onitsha on 30thAugust; again in Onitsha and Aba on 2nd December and lastly for the year in Onitsha on 17thDecember at Niger Bridgehead. Out of no fewer than ten killed in Aba on 2nd December 2015 along Aba-Port Harcourt Road, five slain bodies were later dumped inside a burrow pit.

“The remaining number of deaths associated with army massacre of pro-Biafra Campaigners came from other violent crackdowns that greeted their street protests between 2015 and 2016 in Asaba-Delta State, Enugu-Enugu State, Abakiliki and environs-Ebonyi State, Yanogoa-Bayelsa State, Port Harcourt-Rivers State and Uyo-Akwa Ibom State. There are also unreported others technically classified as dark and grey figures of crimes. In the above highlighted massacre operations, no fewer than 500 were shot and maimed with some crippled for life and a number of others died from injuries sustained.

“The Nigerian Army is also responsible for killing between 12th and 14th of December 2015; of no fewer than 1000 members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria or IMN. The killings took place in Zaria, Kaduna State during the annual sacred procession of the sect. Subsequent killing by security forces in 2016 and above; of the unarmed Islamic sect members also led to no fewer than 120 deaths.

“There are also other military killings resulting from custody related deaths in Northeast Nigeria. These deaths perpetrated in conflict environment and outside military necessity, clearly constitute war crimes. They include torture-deaths (including starvation and malnutrition) in army detention centers involving hundreds of civilians including new born and others aged not above five. Among such deaths were 240 deaths recorded in the Giwa Military Barracks in 2016 in Borno State. Statistics relating to these custodial deaths are contained in the reports of Amnesty Int’l including its 2016/2017 and 2018 reports on Nigeria.

HURIWA said: “We have resolved to dispatch letters directly to the United States Congress to demand for immediate imposition of military sanctions and immediate embargo on proceeding with the military commercial partnership with Nigeria not until the Nigerian state is able to prosecute and punish all the armed operatives responsible for these massive extra-legal killings in the South East and also the killers of Shiites Moslems.”

HURIWA endorsed the investigation by the Onitsha based NGO which stated that: “From our findings following several months of investigation, no fewer than 150 pro Biafra activists and other defenseless members of the public were killed by the Nigerian Army; with 70% of the deaths arising from Afara-Ukwu massacre. In the Afara-Ukwu massacre of 14th September 2017, no fewer than 105 deaths were recorded.

“No fewer than 20 deaths were also recorded at Isiala-Ngwa Army Checkpoint, while 25 others occurred in Aba. The Army massacre operation in Afara-Ukwu; which commenced around 3.26pm of 14th September 2017, resulting in the death of not less than 105 citizens, was executed in less than three hours during which no fewer than 70 others were shot and injured. No single soldier lost his life in the operation. Sixty (60) unarmed citizens including survivors of the massacre and other members of the public were also arrested during and after the massacre and arraigned at Umuahia Magistrate Court on “terrorism charges”. They were later reminded at Aba Prison Custody.

“As it has become the atrocious practice of the Nigerian Army military since mid-2015, approximately 80% of the bodies of those shot and killed in Afara-Ukwu, Isiala-Ngwa and Aba were taken away and dumped in undisclosed locations till date.  For instance, days after the Afara-Ukwu massacre, corpses numbering eight were found inside a bush at a location in Umuahia. The dumped dead bodies later identified as supporters of Biafra Indigenous People and its leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu by their survivor-colleagues.

HURIWA said these killings must be accounted for and the mass murderers in military uniforms identified, prosecuted and punished for these crimes against humanity.

Friday, 1 June 2018

CODEINE SYRUP FIASCO: HURIWA CONDEMNS Government's PANIC BAN: *Say ban hasn't stopped widespread abuses of other drugs:*

The frontline Non-governmental and human rights body- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) says it has found out that the outright ban on the production of codeine cough syrup in Nigeria has not stopped the phenomenal abuses of many other medicines by some unruly young persons around the Country just as it has faulted the unwise and harsh decision which must have led to great financial misfortunes for the over 30 legitimate pharmaceutical companies licensed by NAFDAC to produce codeine containing cough syrups as well as widespread unemployment of about 10,000 staffs who were hitherto employed in these firms.
Codeine containing cough syrups have been available in the country for over 40 years and have been used therapeutically to suppress and cure coughs in many patients who have used them according to instructions for use stated by the manufacturers on the packs of these drugs. They are drugs which when used according to specified instructions gives desired outcome and like many other drugs, it's liable to abuse by people.

HURIWA stated that it deliberately decided not to react to the outright ban of the production of the codeine syrups because it had commissioned researchers to proceed to the streets of major cities and towns to sample scientific and empirical evidences regarding the impacts or otherwise of the ban on the production of Codeine Cough syrups due to the rampant abuses by some misbehaving and misdirected youngsters as portrayed in the British Broadcasting Corporation documentary that led to this uproar but affirmed that after about three weeks of generating and gathering first-hand information and observations, it has come to the conclusion that the decision to hastily ban the production of Codeine Cough syrups was irrational, Panicky, unscientific, unreliable and has not in any way deterred or reduced the rates of drug abuse since the addicts have resulted to procuring other drugs and substances of abuse which will eventually be on the high side and uncontrollable like Codeine.

HURIWA has therefore asked government to have a rethink on these hasty and miscalculated steps by introducing greater regulations of the commercial marketing of prescriptive drugs including Codeine Cough syrups which it has found out to be one of the most effective cough treatment drugs. HURIWA also expects the Government to focus much more on abusers, look for lasting ways of reducing the number of people abusing these drugs rather than bringing their hammer down on certified Pharmaceutical companies which has contributed in many ways to the growth and development of this Country including employing people, contributing to the growth of the economy among many other things.

HURIWA stated thus: “Based on field research and eye witness accounts our team generated during a well-coordinated three week's data collections, we have found out that contrary to the not so well thought out reasons for the hasty ban of production of cough syrup containing codeine by pharmaceutical companies hitherto producing these Cough syrups by the Federal government based on a report published by the British Broadcasting corporation on abuses of the syrups by youths, we found out that these youths who are hooked up in the habit of abusing these and many other drugs are still getting supplies of other drugs of abuse and indeed this policy of halting the production within Nigeria was not a good decision to have embarked on. The Federal government was wrong to have adopted this regimented decision to stop pharmaceutical companies in the Country hitherto producing Codeine Cough syrups without looking at other much more sophisticated methods of halting the abuses of these useful anti cough syrup which is very popular amongst genuine patients".

The Federal government didn't even consider the fact that these over 30 companies banned from producing these drugs may have borrowed credit facilities from banks running into hundreds of millions of US dollars to purchase the NAFDAC approved quantity of codeine raw material for their various companies and may have entered into contractual agreements on repayments and servicing of these debts. How does government intend to help these firms to meet up their financial obligations to their creditors? Will they pay for the legitimately obtained raw materials- codeine which NAFDAC has put on hold? What happens to the genuine patients who prefer Codeine Cough syrups due to their efficacy to cure their medical conditions? Why should government stop the production of Codeine Cough syrups only because some deviant youths in various parts of the country and base on just a one-hour documentary? Would the Government close breweries because many people are consuming high quantity of beer and perhaps committing atrocities in the society as a result of its consumption? Would the Government have closed Tobacco Company as many people are abusing it as well? Would the Government ban some chemicals useful in analysis in laboratories because it is being used to produce explosive by a few hoodlums in the Society? If robberies become so high as they are now, so Buhari's administration will order the closure of banks to stop the criminality of bank robberies? Or will this government stop the use of computers because cybercrimes have become sophisticated in Nigeria? The stoppage of the production of Codeine Cough syrups is not only unwise but is discriminatory because it has denied those genuine patients in their millions whose body system welcomes the efficacy of the curative solutions they derive legitimately by taking these codeine Cough syrups according to doctor's prescriptions. The Government of Nigeria should allow for the production of these Codeine Cough syrups but must put strict measures in place to ensure that they are not sold openly but rather prescribed by doctors under strict regulations and supervision by relevant health institutions. The distribution of these medicines by Pharmaceutical industries can also be closely monitored by relevant agencies including NAFDAC, the Pharmacists' Council of Nigeria among others".

Nigerian Government should encourage growth of industries in the Country and not kill them with some of their uncalled for decisions which are capable of ruining not just these companies but also the staffs these companies have employed.

It's never too late for the Federal government to retrace its steps and do the needful by reversing their earlier decisions and look for better ways of tackling the situation at hand.
A stitch they say, saves nine.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

DEMOCRACY DAY: CAN Rejoices With Nigeria, Government

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) congratulates Nigerians and the government on the occasion of Democracy Day even as it commends the military for its submission to the civil authority as clearly stated in the Constitution. 

CAN rejoices with Nigeria that since 29 May, 1999, Nigerians have been enjoying an uninterrupted democratic system which is the longest period since when the country attained independence.
We congratulate the Federal Government, the 36 State governments and the Federal Capital Territory and all the Local government councils on this auspicious occasion and pray that God will give our leaders the needed wisdom to live up to the people’s expectations.

CAN acknowledges the patriotism of the military for their submission to the civil authority according to the spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which makes them to resist the temptation of interrupting democracy despite the obvious failures of the political class.

The Association regrets that the three tiers of government have failed in all fronts; social, economic and political and the unprecedented killings in the land, hardship, poor state of infrastructures and reports of suicide in the country are too obvious to be ignored. 

CAN therefore identifies with families that are still mourning as a result of the incessant attacks from the criminal Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, ritual killers and armed robbers who are on the loose as we pray to God to console and comfort all the bereaved and we also pray for our leaders and all the security agencies to wake up from their slumber to their responsibilities before the situation gets out of hand.

As the general election draws close, we urge the politicians to avoid hate and inciting speeches, every eligible voter should go and register. Voters Card is the power of the electorate to elect whoever they want. If you are involved, you get the leader you demand and if you failed to be involved, you get the leader you deserved.

CAN once again tasks the security agencies to be more dedicated and loyal to the nation in their duties. They have what it takes to stop the needless bloodletting in the country if they wanted to. Let there be peace and unity. 

The three tiers of government should strive hard to make the much-awaited dividends of democracy available to the people. Let there be rooms for gainful employment for our youths who are roaming the streets. Nigeria will be a better country if justice and the fear of God are upheld by both the government and the governed.

We reiterate our call to all Christians to continue praying for peace and unity for our Fatherland and the grace to do the right things for our leaders.
It is well with Nigeria in Jesus’ Name.
Thank you.

Pastor Adebayo Oladeji
Special Assistant (Media&Communications) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle.
28 May, 2018

Monday, 28 May 2018

Nigeria is collapsing under your watch: - HURIWA to Buhari *Condemns attack on catholic seminary in Taraba:

 “The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately reorganize his failed and toxic internal security team made up totally of Hausa/Fulani Moslems who have failed to effectively check the unprecedented bloody attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen targeting farmers and Christians in the North, signposts the rapid collapse of Nigeria under the direct watch of President Muhammadu Buhari. This therefore calls for immediate soul searching on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari so he can salvage what is left of a rapidly collapsing Nigerian nation State. The nation is now more than ever so divided alongside Ethno-religious configurations even as it has become a stark reality that some persons are by the distorted and illegal discriminatory policies of government, made to perceive themselves as second class citizens who are not trustworthy enough in the opinion of President Muhammadu Buhari to hold such strategic national security positions now exclusively and unconstitutional occupied by Nigerians of same religious and Ethnicity with President Muhammadu Buhari. We are simply deceiving ourselves by celebrating democracy day when Nigerians in their thousands have been gruesomely despatched to the great World beyond by armed Fulani herdsmen who are being protected by the powers that be currently in Nigeria”.

Making this observation is the foremost Non-governmental and Civil rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which has also condemned the attack today at the minor catholic seminary in Jalingo, Taraba state leading to the fatal injury of several clergies and students.

HURIWA said the attack by armed Fulani herdsmen targeting the peaceful Catholic Church’s facilities and the shooting of the priests and students training for priesthood shows that the dimension of these attacks has switched from inter-ethnic terrorism to a full blown persecution and attacks of Christians of Northern origin. HURIWA wonders why the United Nations Security Council and the Authority of the Heads of States of the African Union are watching passively as a section of Nigerians seem to have been armed and motivated to slaughter other citizens which may snowball into a genocide of monumental scale soon. 

The Rights group affirmed that the attack at the seminary in Taraba State coming barely two weeks after two catholic priests and 17 worshippers were killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in Benue state shows an escalation of the terror activities which should necessitate the immediate declaration of Miyetti Allah cattle owners association as a terrorist group. HURIWA has asked the organized civil society community and the Faith based bodies to begin series of civil disobedience activities to compel an immediate change on the part of the Presidency to either stop the attacks, prosecute and sanction the mass murderers or resign within two weeks should these bandits and terrorists not stopped from carrying out the well-coordinated Ethnic and Religious cleansing and genocides. 

“For the avoidance of doubts, a clear nexus had since been established between the violent attackers and the leadership of the Miyetti Allah cattle owners Association in most parts of Nigeria. The case of Benue, Taraba, Plateau and Kaduna states is as clear as the sun light because the organized spate of attacks were unleashed as soon as this terror organization publicly threatened to frustrate the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue State, or protested the theft of certain number of cows by the indigenous people who are mostly Christians and farmers".

"We have in the last three years asked the Muhammadu Buhari’s government to dismantle the nepotistic internal security team so as to compose a pan-Nigerian Internal Security team made up of officers from all parts of Nigeria and to declare Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association a terror organization, but President Buhari has refused. Now, most Southern Nigerians see the armed Fulani herdsmen as state sponsored terrorists”.

“We totally condemn the attack on the seminary in Taraba and most particularly, condemned the killing of over 30 people in a part of Zamfara state in North West of Nigeria. These attacks and killings show that Nigeria currently has no efficient leadership in the national security team and no amount of dollars granted these incompetent heads of security agencies can stop these attacks. We totally condemn the National Assembly for proposing to give more cash to the hierarchies of the security team who have in the lady three years failed to perform. No amount of cash can change a compromised and an incompetent officer to turn a new leaf. They must be dismissed and prosecuted for criminal negligence.”

“The only option open to President Buhari is to declare Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association as a terrorist group and to arrest, prosecute the leaders in the competent courts of law. The direct consequence of the continuous failure to act decisively, is that Nigeria will slide into total anarchy and chaos because Nigerians will not stand by and let armed Fulani slaughter all of them”.

HURIWA recalled that two Catholic priests were beaten, one shot in the leg when gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked a minor seminary in Jalingo, Taraba State capital.

HURIWA recalled that during the attack which was said to have taken place on Monday morning, some students were injured and many cars destroyed even as the persons injured were said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, it was not yet clear if people were killed.

HURIWA recalled that the Director of Caritas Nigeria, an agency of the Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, revealed this in a WhatsApp message to a correspondent of a national daily as follows: “Please Frs, pray for us. Our minor seminary in Jalingo has just been attacked by the Fulani, some students are injured, some cars destroyed, two priests beaten and one shot on the leg. They are currently receiving treatment at FMC.”

HURIWA said the group has already submitted a petition to the International Criminal court in The Hague Netherlands but expressed consternation that the global crimes forum seems to be too slow to bring perpetrators to justice just as it stated that it will send further evidence of crimes against humanity committed by armed Fulani herdsmen under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to the World's crime court today.

African parliaments must stand up to defend democratic institutions, Dogara:

Speaker of the House of representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has stated that parliaments are the hope of saving the people from dictatorship, even as he called on African countries to invest more in building democracy and it's institutions.

Dogara stated this when he played host to a parliamentary delegation from Liberia, undertaking a study tour in Nigeria, comprising of  members of Joint Committee on Public Accounts, Expenditure  and Audit, led by Sen. Henry Yallah
He said for democracy to be solid and sound, the institutions must be strong, as their failure would always be blamed on the parliaments who fail to rise up in their defence.

"Democracy as they say is not something that you gain from the ballot box, as a matter of fact; the ballot box sometimes has produced some enemies of democracy, those who have completely discarded the tenets of democracy".

"So we have to invest more in building democracy and democratic institutions. Where Institutions are strong; democracy itself will be made strong. And to be very candid, Parliament are the hope of saving the people from dictatorships. Where democracies fail; it is common place to blame it on Parliament, it becomes the fault of Members of Parliament who are not willing to stand up to principles and be defenders of those democratic Institutions".

The speaker who decried the delicate nature of democratic institutions all over the world, advocated for the establishment of a body that will be vested with the responsibility of defending democracy against dictatorship.

"Democracies all over the World are very fragile and that includes even democracies in advanced countries that we regard to have advanced democracies. Even in the United States we are beginning to see that there is the fight to keep the loyalty with the people rather than to any form of democratic malfunction. Even things that we thought were completely impossible to happen in advanced democracies, we are beginning to see them, like breaches. That therefore tells us that we even need to institute a body that may be known as the defenders of democracy, I don't know how we can go about that, I'm just thinking loudly about some of these issues. But to be candid, even though it is not the best form of government, but this is the best that is known to man. Anybody who doubts this can try dictatorship. Those who have lived in a dictatorship will tell you how bad it is. Where the will of an individual is the Law, as a matter of fact you don't even need the Parliament, in which case all of us will be jobless as it is just the will of an individual that is the Law. It is the will of the individual that is argued out in the courts. 

The Speaker who said a performing budget is also needed to sustain democracy and achieve stability opined that to win citizens' confidence, government must deliver to the people's yearnings and expectations, especially in terms of security and welfare.
“A performing budget is needed to sustain even the very idea of the democracy itself,  because it has to be a government that delivers to the people in terms of expectations, in terms of security and welfare. When you have few people mismanage the resources belonging to Government; the end result will be that the expectations of the people will be cut off: No quality service, welfare and that obviously will result in distress, and we have seen this distress manifest in so many African countries where the entire process of expenditure, transparency and accountability is a bit opaque".

The Speaker took time to explain to the visiting MPs, the workings of Public Accounts Committee in the country.

“In Nigeria; Public Accounts is a Committee that is headed by a Member of the opposition, we do not give it to a member of the ruling party, obviously the reason is on account of transparency. It deals with the task of over-sighting expenditure, so we can't have the same members in charge of over-sighting the way expenditures are made. If that were to be the case, you can't run away from the incidence of conflict of interest. As it is one of the critical requirements and center pillar of our jurisprudence and justice must not only be done, but manifestly seen to be done. So when you have the people of the same political party investigating themselves, no matter how fair-minded they are, there is no way a reasonable person sitting outside there will say they have done justice in that manner. So that is the foundation upon which our Public Accounts Committee operates and in most cases they are in tandem with the Auditor-General of the Federation which we are set to empower and to insulate using the Constitution Amendment exercise which we are currently embarking on".

Speaking further, Dogara highlighted some of the processes followed by the committee to achieve results in its mandate and assignment.

"It encompasses the operation of all agencies, including the National Assembly, and the reports are submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the House. Once they receive the reports from the Auditor-General; they embark on thorough investigation of the figures, as I said before this is to ensure transparency. I know that it is so in fledgling democracies like ours and that will be the case in your democracy which is much younger than ours, we also need transparency, we need to ensure that we have entrusted resources and allocations with integrity. But where you see that resources are better managed and allocations are fairly done across board; you'll see that there'll be some elements of stability in those countries". 

“I once again want to welcome you and charge you that corruption itself is not something that can be totally exterminated. Experience has shown that in even better democracies of more advanced countries so to speak, it is difficult to totally eradicate corruption. But experience has also shown that we can tame it by taking deliberate actions like we are doing now on how to combat it. I believe that as you come across the operatives of the E.F.C.C in Nigeria and indeed the Auditor General and so many other experts who have been lined up to talk to you; you will learn a lot as to how we have attempted, I will say attempted as we are still in the process of dealing with the problem. But you'll come across challenges and I hope that you will use our own experience to learn, you don't have to wait to learn by your own experience. You can build on our own experience and examine the pitfalls so that you can build on the strengths and weaknesses of our own Laws, so that you can better build your own Laws that will better serve the interests of the people of Liberia and the wider ECOWAS community. So we are Members of the same community, you are always welcome to Nigeria, our doors as a Parliament are always open to provide assistance and to see that you are up to speed with some of these reforms that we are trying to advance even in Nigeria".

Earlier, the leader of the delegation and Chairman of Liberian Parliament's joint Committee on Public Accounts, Expenditure and Audit, Sen. Henry Yallah told the Speaker that they were in Nigeria on a study tour with the aim of building their capacity as a young democracy.

Friday, 25 May 2018

IDP’s rape report: Stop living in denial:- HURIWA tells F.G

Throwing its advocacy weight behind the recent extensive investigation by Amnesty International which uncovered widespread sexual violation and exploitation of internally displaced girls in the North East by the military, the Rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked government to stop living in shameful denial but to thoroughly investigate the massive allegations and punish offenders.

HURIWA wondered why Nigeria of the 21st century has institutionally continued to stick to old fashion obstinacy and empty deceits heavily embellished with false national pride instead of adopting and complying to World standards as practiced in all other nations belonging and subscribing to the time tested and time honoured global human rights laws and humanitarian mechanisms of resolving proven cases of Human Rights breaches.

HURIWA said: “we are seriously worried that since 1979 or thereabout when some unruly soldiers stormed the then 'Kalakuta Republic' shrine of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti in Ojualegba Lagos State and slaughtered members of the audience and the mother of the musician, up until the recent extra-legal killings of hundreds of civilians belonging to the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and Shiites Islamic movement, the Nigeria Army has refused to change and embrace the demands of professionalism to investigate damaging allegations through uncompromising mechanisms and apportion sanctions to indicted operatives  appropriately in line with extant military and civilian laws against those who have committed grave human rights violations.”

In a statement made against the backdrop of the recent report by the United Kingdom founded international non-governmental organization- Amnesty International, indicting soldiers for compelling girls and women in the internally displaced persons’ camps in the North East of Nigeria to give them sexual gratifications in exchange for the relief materials donated by the federal government and international non-governmental bodies, HURIWA lamented that both the Civil and Military authorities have rejected the findings even before any form of government organized investigations are carried out.

The National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said HURIWA is worried that the fundamental right to dignity of the human persons as constitutionally guaranteed, are wantonly thrown away to the dogs by the current Nigerian government in its irrational and fallacious bid to extend a clean bill of health to the military institution as if the military is made up of Angels who are infallible.

The Rights group reminded Nigeria this latest report of sexual abuses of innocent but displaced girls and women is the second to have been written by foreign Non-Governmental organizations, the first been the report on a wider scale done last year by the New York based Human Rights Watch just as it pleaded with government to stop disgracing Nigeria and do the needful.

“We hereby ask president Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to set up strong independent panels to be made up of Nigerians of unimpeachable characters to conduct broad based investigations including field interviews under conditions of strict confidentiality to uncover the veracity of these allegations made by Amnesty International based on its properly and scientifically conducted investigations and interviews with victims of these abuses who are Nigerian citizens with rights just like their indicted abusers whom this government has already given blanket absolution without probing the extensively damaging cases of sexual molestations with far reaching emotional and psychological implications for the victims if not comprehensively and transparently redressed.”

“On the part of the Nigerian Army, may we plead with the hierarchy to leave a legacy for the next generations by instituting a transformative world view of the Nigerian Army as a force that complies totally to global best practices and enforces strict adherence to the rule of law and respect for the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

“Amnesty International wishes Nigeria well and is not affiliated to any political parties. Why the heightened state of animosity and sponsored campaign of calumny by street urchins as sponsored by the current federal administration? The government officials must live by their constitutional oaths of office to uphold all the necessary human rights safeguards and laws in Nigeria.”

Media reports quoted by HURIWA, indicated that Women and girls who have fled terrorist group Boko Haram are being raped by Nigerian soldiers, starved and forced to exchange food for sex, according to claims in a new report by human rights group Amnesty International.

HURIWA recalled that thousands of these women have died because of lack of food in camps for internally displaced people in Nigeria's northeast after they were rescued from Boko Haram, Amnesty says.

HURIWA said that in the report titled "They betrayed us," it is alleged that five women said they were raped by soldiers in late 2015 and early 2016 in a displacement camp in Bama, Borno state.
Regrettably, HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian army spokesman John Agim denied the allegations in the Amnesty report, branding them "propaganda."

HURIWA quoted the Defence Spokesman as saying the army hasn't been deployed to displacement camps, which he said are run by the police, local vigilante groups and NGOs. "I wonder where Amnesty interviewed women who said they saw soldiers in these camps hoarding food and raping women?" Agim asked.

HURIWA said the military's media chief Mr. Agim accused the human rights group of republishing claims that had been investigated by the Nigerian government and had been found to be false.
HURIWA recalled that General At in had stated that: "Amnesty wrote the same allegations in a report in 2015 and it was investigated then and found not to be true. Why are they presenting them in 2018 after investigations? It is all propaganda and when they continue to propagate these reports, it assumes the property of truth when its not refuted," Agim told CNN.

HURIWA recalled that the Army spokesperson affirmed also that "Amnesty does not want our war against terrorism to finish; the Nigerian military maintains this position," he said. "Their reports on human right violations is to stop the selling of weapons to the Nigerian military by the American government and others and that approach is not working. The Nigerian army just rescued 1,000 Boko Haram captives, that is a good development, why is it not reflected in the report if they are being fair?" Agim added, in a media report seen by HURIWA.