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Thursday, 17 November 2011


The recent occupation of offices of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) across the country by armed military operatives and the activities of armed security operatives that cordoned off state offices of the Peoples Democratic Party in Bayelsa state has been condemned. The military action has been described as unconstitutional and illegal.

HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA; (HURIWA) has therefore advised the federal government to desist from implementing near-draconian military measures in any part of the country that would portray the nation as a police state in the eyes of members of the international community. The group warned that the military and police actions which stifle political freedoms, freedom of movement and association will whittle down the advancement of democracy and respect for human rights of the citizenry.

In a media release jointly authorized by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National media officer Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA, a pro-democracy group, asked President Jonathan not to use his overwhelming constitutional powers as commander-in-Chief of the nation’s Armed Forces to seek to curtail the freedom of workers and labour union activists in the troubled electricity sector but to allow the legally guaranteed principle of collective bargaining to be employed by the employers and employees in the electricity power sector to resolve longstanding labour related disputes.

The Rights group also condemned the partisan and unprofessional use of armed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in seeking to influence the outcome of the hotly contested governorship primary election of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Bayelsa state.

HURIWA said it was illegal and undemocratic to deploy armed security operatives mainly mobile anti-riot policemen in the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party on the purported directive of the national hierarchy of the party to prevent validly elected state leadership of the party from carrying out their constitutional functions.

The Rights group also criticized the armed police operatives for allegedly harassing, psychologically and physically subjecting innocent unarmed and law abiding members of the civilian populace in Bayelsa state to unspecified security checks even while they go about their civic duties.

The group said: “The ongoing occupation by armed military operatives of offices of the public electricity company in Nigeria (PHCN) is unnecessary and may constitute gross breach of the constitutionally protected fundamental rights of freedom of movement and association of workers and union leaders particularly at these moments that negotiations concerning the workers’ welfare are yet to be finalized”.

On the role of the armed police in Bayelsa state politics, the Rights group said the nation’s police have become notorious violators of the human rights of political activists perceived as opposed to the ambitions of some powerful persons in the corridors of power in Abuja.  

“It is a big shame that the Nigeria police and especially under the leadership of the current inspector general who has failed to combat the activities of diverse armed splinter groups, is notorious for executing sinister operations against persons perceived as political rivals of holders of high offices in Abuja”.


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