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Tuesday, 20 January 2015


Few days back as the story broke out from Asia that two unfortunate Nigerians were about to be tied to the stakes and killed following their reported convictions for drugs related crimes, something inside of me reminded me of the story of a helpless child whose fish was stolen by a giant looking man and upon reporting to his small framed looking Dad nothing much was done by way of retrieving the stolen fish since obviously anything to the contrary would have been suicidal given that the little boy's father is so frail and weak that the energetic man may crush him should he make any move to seek redress for his disaffected child.

Why do I use this allegory of a victimized child whose father couldn't help because of his physical frame even when I am completely in tune with the Igbo proverb that says that he who chases a small chicken will always fall while the chicken disappears? Simply put, when I read the story of how Brazil and Netherlands battled through diplomatic channels to save the lives of their nationals but who were eventually killed by the Indonesian government for similar hard drugs related convictions, I reflected on the existential situation facing Nigeria our dear Motherland in which armed terrorists have in the last three years threatened to destroy our nation from the face of the earth.

Now here is the catch 50/50 situation- If Nigeria through her armed forces have yet to save the nation from the vicious attacks of die hard terrorists how do we expect this same country to spare time and energy diplomatically to seek to overturn these range of harsh punishments meted out to these less fortunate Nigerians in far away Indonesia?  I indeed wept for these unfortunate Nigerians who when they are caught for being in conflict with the laws of their host and usually hostile nations far away from the Black continent of Africa are usually maltreated by those nations' judicial mechanisms and worse still the diplomatic offices of Nigeria in those countries are usually found wanting as they are often accused of doing little to offer consular legal assistance to these distressed Nigerians who most often are made to pass through the rigor of  unfavorable trials conducted in some foreign languages without those judicial institutions allowing those Nigerians the universally protected right to fair hearing.

This same story of these two Nigerians killed in Indonesia for drugs related offences is happening about the same time that the Nigerian political scenes are dominated by two hard drugs related issues one of which concerns the person of the Presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress Major General Muhammad Buhari [rtd] who during his brutal military dictatorship in the early 1980's was known to have executed some three young Nigerians for drugs related offences and that particular matter attracted international opprobrium because the trial of those three Nigerians were unjust even as the punishment was retroactively made to be applied using draconian military decrees. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] has cashed in on this evil history to castigate their opponent in the February 14th 2015 Presidential poll as a person not fit and proper to call himself a democrat since his military junta executed some Nigerians for drugs related offences and that the punishment was retroactive and therefore illegal. 

The second related national conversation is also around the controversy surrounding the failure of the Federal Government to extradite a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party allegedly wanted in the United States over reported hard drugs related offences for which some persons were convicted some time ago. Mr. Kashimu Buruji who is an associate of the current hierarchy of the ruling party has however denied this allegations and has indeed headed to court to stop any move by the Nigerian Government to deport him to the United States should there be any request for extradition from the States justice department in the United States of America. The erstwhile President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has made a heavy weather of criticizing the President Dr Good Luck Jonathan for allegedly dining with an alleged fugitive from the United States legal system just as he the former President is reportedly in deep division with his political party over the decision of the national secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party to make this same man allegedly wanted over drugs related offences in the United States as the leading figure in the South West which is home to the former President.

Whilst my major discussion is not about the political heavyweight allegedly indicted for drugs related offences nor is this piece being written to highlight the human rights dimension about the death penalty for drugs related offences especially as it was executed by the then dictator General Buhari but I am basically concerned about the far reaching damage that the involvement of most Nigerian youth on drug offences around the World has done to our country.

It is clear that more than two hundred Nigerian youth are languishing in different prisons all over the World even as many more are facing the imminent prospects of being killed by firing squads for these alleged drugs related offences. Most of these trials can not be said to have reached the threshold of global best practices.

Sadly, Nigeria has had a long history of controversy involving top government officials and some drugs kingpins. Many years after Nigeria set up the National drugs law enforcement agency [NDLEA] but yet Nigeria is still battling with what to do about stopping the large scale involvement of Nigerian youth in drugs related offences all over the World. Nigeria is said to be a transit route for drugs but Nigerians are reportedly not known as a notorious consumers of these hard drugs but the emergence of many armed terrorists in the North East of Nigeria has seriously questioned this conclusion that Nigeria is not the final destination of hard drugs or that Nigerians are not some of the highest consumers of hard drugs. The fact that series of genocidal killings of even women in labor have taken place masterminded by these armed Islamists shows that hard drugs are major issues stoking the fire of terrorism in Nigeria and the earlier Nigerians begin serious national conversations around the issues of hard drugs and what to do about stopping the tide the better. Before concluding let us once more recall the story of these two Nigerians now already executed in Indonesia over drugs related offences and what the other nations did to save their own citizens.

Media report has it that Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia and expressed fury  after Jakarta defied their pleas and executed two of their citizens along with four other drug offenders.

The other convicts that faced a firing squad were from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia. The six were the first people executed under new President Joko Widodo.

Recalling that Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist the story writer also stated that the head of government of Indonesia has severally defended the executions, saying drugs ruin lives.

A spokesman for Brazilian President Dilma Roussef said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia ignored her last-ditch pleas and put to death Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into Indonesia in 2004.

“Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The Brazilian ambassador to Jakarta was being recalled for consultations, the spokesman added.

Meanwhile Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the Netherlands had also recalled its ambassador over the execution of Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei, and in a statement described all six deaths as “terribly sad”.
“My heart goes out to their families, for whom this marks a dramatic end to years of uncertainty,” Koenders said. “The Netherlands remains opposed to the death penalty.”

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte had been in contact with the Indonesian president about the matter, he said, and the government had done “all in its power” to try to halt the execution.
But the Indonesian government said they followed the rule of law. The President Mr Widodo defended the death penalty in a Facebook post.
“The war against the drug mafia should not be half-hearted measures, because drugs have really ruined the good life of the drug users and their families,” he said.

“There is no happiness in life to be gained from drug abuse. The country must be present and fight with drug syndicates head-on,” he added.
Media reported that all the prisoners, who had been sentenced to death between 2000 and 2011, were executed shortly after midnight, the attorney general’s office said.

The 53-year-old Brazilian, who was caught with drugs stashed in the frame of his paraglider at Jakarta airport, and the 62-year-old Dutchman were executed on Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison, off the main island of Java.

A Nigerian, Daniel Enemuo; Namaona Denis, from Malawi; and an Indonesian woman, Rani Andriani, were executed at the same location.
The sixth convict, Vietnamese woman Tran Thi Bich Hanh, was executed in the Boyolali district in central Java.
They were all caught attempting to smuggle narcotics apart from the Dutchman, who was sentenced to death for operating a huge factory producing the drug ecstasy.

All had their appeals to the president for clemency rejected last month.
Jakarta had an unofficial moratorium on executions for several years from 2008 but resumed capital punishment again in 2013. There were no executions last year.

Widodo, known as Jokowi, has in the opinion of media analysts taken a particularly hard line towards people on death row for narcotics offences, insisting they will not receive a presidential pardon since Indonesia is facing an “emergency” over drug use.

Following Sunday’s executions, the number of people on death row for drugs-related offences stood at 60, around half of whom are foreigners, said a spokesman for the national narcotics agency.

Widodo’s tough stance has sparked concern for other foreigners sentenced to death, particularly two Australians who were part of the “Bali Nine” group caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.
One of the pair, Myuran Sukumaran, also had his clemency appeal rejected last month but authorities say he will be executed with fellow Australian Andrew Chan as they committed their crime together.

Chan is still awaiting the outcome of his clemency appeal.
Also on death row is British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford. She was sentenced to death in 2013 after being caught trying to smuggle cocaine into Bali.

Nigerian government must take closer look at what to do about this scandalous involvement of Nigerian youth in drugs offences. First and foremost the Federal Ministry of foreign Affairs must as a constitutional obligation ensure that wherever and whenever any Nigerian is taken to court in foreign jurisdictions that those Nigerians are accorded fair hearing and must be represented by competent legal consultants. The Universal Declarations of human rights makes provision for fair hearing for all persons. Secondly the Federal and state ministries of information and communication must deploy resources to enlighten Nigerians on the futility and risks involved in getting involved in drugs related crimes. Back home the relevant agencies that are set up to battle drugs offences must change their strategies and seek for better ways of keeping the Nigerian youth away from hard drugs. The relevant legislations against drugs trafficking and consumption must be strengthened by the National Assembly and drug offences must not be glamourized the way we currently do because most times when persons are caught for these obviously serious crime the tendency is for most Nigerians to show some sympathy because of the harsh living conditions of most Nigerians as if to say going into drugs related crimes are tolerable means of escaping the chains of poverty afflicting nearly eighty percent of Nigerians. Let the national law against hard drugs be made very strong so convicted felons caught with drugs are made to forfeit all the claims and benefits accrued from drugs related crimes and spend quality time in prisons to undergo reforms and reorientations. The Nigerian government must show good example by distancing the office of the President or governor or indeed the political structures governing the Federal or state governments from any person remotely connected or even accused of drugs related offences until that person purged himself or herself of such allegations.  The danger in the Nigerian Government not moving against alleged drugs fugitives is that most youth in Nigeria will see involvement in drugs as tolerable. The national hierarchy of NDLEA must be reorganized and the funding mechanism of that body must be revitalized to make it financially strong to engage in this serious battle against hard drugs. Hard drugs ruin the future of the youth and also exposes this nation to the attacks of vicious violent elements such as terrorists and anarchists. Nigerians please come let us reason together and tackle our drugs related challenges because the extensive damage that hard drugs have done to Nigeria and Nigerians may take ages to rectify.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs @,,


Monday, 19 January 2015


Worried about what it calls grave threats to national security by hate speeches circulating in the media as campaign materials associated with political office seekers, a democracy inclined Non-Governmental body-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said it has begun broad-based national consultations with like -minded groups to present a proposed anti hate crime legislation before the national assembly.  

Besides, the Rights group has also praised President Good luck Jonathan’s decision to reduce by 10 kobo the pump price of petrol in Nigeria but urged the relevant agencies in the Petroleum ministry to embark on massive clamp down of fuel dealers who have so far failed to comply with the government directive. HURIWA further challenged the Federal Government to prosecute actively all the indicted petrol subsidy thieves who diverted over N1 trillion from the public treasury so as to retrieve to the last kobo all the stolen public money in the hands of this cabal. The group said the reduction in the pump price of petrol may not make much impact unless corruption in the petroleum sub-sector is fought and crushed and domestic refining of petroleum products resumes fully in Nigeria. 

Besides, HURIWA wants Nigeria to review her membership of the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries [OPEC] following the failure of the cartel to save the unprecedented fall in the asking price of crude oil in the global market which has significantly led to the depreciating national revenue.

In a statement jointly authorized by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said the atmosphere of fear pervading in all parts of Nigeria was created by the incessant use of inflammatory hate speeches by political gladiators all across the country who have clearly created the impression that the coming elections next month is an all out war over political supremacy among the Northerner and Southern political regions. HURIWA is of the opinion that the survival of Nigeria as a united entity is much more important that the political interests of political office seekers and therefore must be protected and guaranteed through legislative frameworks.

According to HURIWA, the failure of the relevant security agencies to remain neutral and impartial in the discharge of their constitutional duties especially as the general elections draw near has further created a national atmosphere of distrust especially by opposition politicians. HURIWA charged media houses to also reject campaign materials that promote hate speeches.

The Rights group warned that should urgent national action not enforced to compel political office seekers to play by the rule and stop the use of hate speeches in the ongoing campaign, then Nigeria may witness unprecedented civil unrests similar to the genocide that took place in Rwanda some few years back.

HURIWA stated thus; “we completely condemn the use of deeply divisive and speeches that completely preaches hatred of one another on the basis of ethnicity, religion and political affiliations. We have started national conversations with many patriotic human rights platforms with a view to proposing a legislation to outlaw the use of hate speeches by political office seekers, religious and ethnic champions”.
“We know that section 39(1) of the Nigerian constitution clearly provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”.
“But we know that the constitutional provision on free speech is not an absolute license for hate speeches because the use of hate speeches amounts to hate crimes which are capable of destroying the country”.

HURIWA also asked the hierarchy of the Nigerian police Force, the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian military to first and foremost be loyal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not to any particular political party since all registered political parties are equal before the Nigerian Law and the sanctity of the sovereignty of Nigeria is Supreme.  


Tuesday, 13 January 2015


In recent conversations on the unfortunate fate that has of late befallen the sovereign entity known as Nigeria, My friend and I lamented the poor respect and regard that the constituted authority in Nigeria gives to the sanctity of human life. My friend who is a well established crude oil magnate but who ironically still thinks like a socialist regretted  that human life has been speedily degraded by the Nigerian civil and military authorities that the rest of the international community are at a loss what to make of it. He said that in all of his recent foreign tours during the course of his business transactions in Western Europe and the United States of America, most people he met do not know whether to rate the persons who populate the Nigeria's civil and military authorities as primitive people who are far removed from modern civilization.  He is of the considered opinion that in other civilized climes whenever the governmental authorities be they civil or military fail in their constitutional obligations to the people in the area of national security the most transparent option is for the very persons heading those branches of government to quit honorably or be shown the way out. My friend pointed out a plethora of samples in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America to justify his affirmation and I too found them to be true since I do also have a working knowledge of how civilized societies work.

But I quickly reminded him that Nigeria is a member of the United Nations and by so doing has signed on to almost all of the modern humanitarian laws that safeguards the sanctity and sacredness of human lives but he wouldn't budge even as he argued that the fact that for nearly six months that over three hundred teenage girls were snatched from their dormitory in the girls secondary school in Chibok town in Borno state and the Nigerian State has failed to rescue these girls and bring their abductors to pay for these detestable crimes against humanity means that the civil and military authorities pay only but lip service to the legal obligations that they owe the Nigerian citizenry in line with the various provisions of the international humanitarian laws.  Whilst not distancing myself from his well considered conclusion I also told him that even in Egypt right here in Africa when the then Moslem Brotherhood-led government was suspected of abusing the human rights of most persons outside of their own brand of radical religious beliefs, the people's power were invoked even as over 14 million ordinary civilians came out in the streets of Cairo, to demand the removal of this contraption called government and the military heeded the call. In the Nigerian situation both the civil and military authorities have come under considerable accusations of abysmally failing in their duties to safeguard the lives of Nigerians and so only the people can decide how this mess can be cleared may be through electoral process that is devoid of manipulations and violence. This is not to say that the leading opposition political party has any working idea of how to resolve these killings because the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress has severally been seen in the media defending the actions of some of these mass killers especially in one instance he was quoted as criticizing any heavy military action against these terrorists.

We had hardly rounded up our conversations when the most gruesome of all despicable crimes against humanity was reported in Baga, Borno state as carried out by the armed Islamic terrorists who were reportedly implicated in the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians and the number was conservatively put at 2000 by the international Non-Governmental organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH quoting sources directly from the scenes of these vicious crimes.

Also virtually all the international news channels immediately took interest in this breaking news from the epicenter of Nigerian terrorists attacks just as tongues started wagging why the rest of the international community have yet to invoke the relevant United Nations Security Council's resolutions rejecting these genocidal killings in Nigeria and practically adopting military steps to flush out these mass murderers. 

Commentators even in international electronic media channels such as the Sky News and the United States based Cable News Network expressed open consternation to why the rest of the World is silent when genocides of unprecedented scale are going on in Nigeria but were too quick to show open and practical solidarity with the French Government and people who suffered series of attacks targeted at a Paris based cartoons' news magazine whereby 17 persons were killed but which immediately drew out instant and effective response from the French Government leading to the gunning to death of the three armed terrorists fingered in these abominable and despicable atrocities.

But again, some other observers raised issues with the abysmal failures of the Nigerian military to crush decisively this rebellion by the armed Islamic terrorists which has raged for more than three years now. On the apparent silence of the rest of the international community on the range of grave atrocities being committed by the armed Islamic terrorists based in the North East of Nigeria, one issue to be mentioned is that a nation is taken serious depending on how the civil and military authorities rates itself. Why for instance is a small nation such as Cameroon able and ever willing to crush and defeat any incursions made against their populace by these same Islamic rebels based in North East of Nigeria but the Nigerian military rated as the third largest in Africa has been unable to defeat these terrorists and has even abdicated from their constitutional duty and allowing these rebels to cease virtually two states out of the 36 that we currently have? So the international community is said to be pissed off with both the civil and military authorities in Nigeria for their inability and failure to rise to the occasion and defeat these terrorists seen as only a rag tag terror group.

In the last three years the civil and military authorities have offered reasons ranging from sabotage within the military for the inability of the Nigerian military to defeat these terror group but still others blamed the poor state of weapons in the possession of the Nigerian military for this apparent failure but again there have been reports that the terrorists fighting Nigeria are actually making use of the weapons stolen and taken away from the Nigerian military whose members and operatives have been accused of cowardice in the face of advances made by these terrorists. Reports said that Nigeria spent over $6 Billion USD last year in the Defence budget making Nigeria the third largest spender in the defence sector in Africa but the question remains where are these weapons and why is the Nigerian Military unable to crush these terrorists?

I seriously felt embarrassed and ashamed as a Nigerian when I watched the CNN this morning of January 13th 2015 and the anchor person who visited Abuja was asked by the news caster based in Atlanta in the United States the whereabouts of the Nigerian military authority when these outrageous mass slaughters of civilian population took place in Baga, Borno State. In the past the military have showcased to the media arrested hardened mass killers belonging to this terror group and the Nigerian judicial system is so weak and too compromised to deliver decisive justice to these mass murderers and the few that are convicted due to poor detention facilities and corruption in the prison system, these detained terrorists have been known to have regained their freedom through series of prison attacks that occurred last year and till date the ministry of interior in Nigeria is unable to render proper account.

What makes a nation Sovereign is the near infinite capacity of both the civil and military authorities to defend the territorial integrity of that nation state and to defend the sanctity of the lives of their citizenry. The essence of STATEHOOD is the capacity of the constituted authorities to stand up to be counted when it comes to the issue of national security and the enforcement of the rule of law. Whereby the state is incapable of fulfilling these simple constitutional tasks therefore there has to be series of questions on the quality of such a nation state and even the rating of such a sovereign entity which according to most scholars can be classified as a failed or failing state.

Speaking to the issue of the kind of respect and regard that both the civil and military authorities pay to the universal sanctity attached to the value of human life brings us to the recent media briefing by the military authority in Abuja Nigeria whereby the spokesman in an attempt to deny that up to 2000 Nigerians were not killed in Baga, Borno State did also committed the fallacy of appearing to say that the lives of 150 Nigerians mattered very little in the entire calculations even though he appeared to be saying that those who exaggerated the figure meant serious harm to the credibility of Nigeria as a nation State.

His words: “…It is however necessary to inform Nigerians in the interim that the exercise so far has not corroborated the report on the casualty rate which was put at 2000 deaths.
“From all available evidences, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim. This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms and got killed in the course of their attack and battle with troops".

“It should be noted that Baga and the neighbouring towns have been under series of attacks and harassment by terrorists. In the course of this, many residents have left, leaving the population in the town almost seriously depleted. Many were also able to escape while the terrorists’ battle with troops lasted.
 “The figure given by sources, who claimed to be eyewitnesses, must be an extremely exaggerated estimate. Unfortunately, this figure is now being bandied about in a section of the media as if it has been authenticated. It cannot be true,” he said.

What a country one may say. In France the other day when the two terrorists- the Kouchi brothers after committing their dastardly crime of attacking the media house and inflicting several deaths and were pursued hotly to an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, North East of Paris France, the French military didn't wait to give a press conference in an air conditioned office in the nation's capital to give flimsy excuses why these terrorists were not captured. The French military brought all the forces they can muster to inflict maximum damage on these terror masterminds and smoked them to death even as the entire civilised World rallied round France in a sympathy match in the nation's capital to denounce terrorism. But in Nigeria, regional  War lords and politicians have been allowed the freedom to politicize these mass killings to such an extent that over fifteen thousand Nigerians have been killed and yet the military authority has still not thought it wise to massively hunt down these terrorists by attacking their base in the so called Sambisa Forest near Maiduguri, Borno State and from this safe haven these terrorists have annexed several towns and villages in the North East of Nigeria  and the military authority is still not so ashamed of itself but has continued to insult the intelligence of Nigerians by offering flimsy excuses.

But why is the rest of the Nigerian population still in slumber and have not reacted massively to compel the Nigerian state to discharge their obligations? Why is everyone so silent even in the face of these atrocities that are worst than the Rwanda genocide? Why is the United Nations Security Council so silent in the face of these incessant killings of Nigerians and yet Nigeria is still a member of the United Nations and to even think that Nigeria still contributes troops to keep peace in other countries under the frameworks of the United Nations peace keeping missions and the African Union while the country is about to be extinguished by terrorists is to say the least shocking and annoying.  

+Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs;,


Friday, 9 January 2015


January 2015 is a landmark month in Nigeria’s political annals because the leading political parties namely the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) will spend the whole of it traversing the length and breath of Nigeria to canvass support for their Presidential, governorship, national and state assembly’s candidates in the forth coming elections scheduled to kickstart on February 14th 2015.

Already, the Presidential candidates of each of those two mainstream national political platforms have commenced practical campaign rallies across the geo-political zones even as both have also highlighted the key focus of what their parties would do if bestowed the mandate by the electorate in the polls.

The incumbent President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Goodluck Jonathan jocularly told Nigerians that his administration has so far placed premium on carrying out a forensic anti-graft campaign devoid of arbitrariness and other illegalities that offend the relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution that speak to the issue of fair hearing and respect for the principle of rule of law. Debates are still unfolding regarding the apparent weakness of the two anti-graft agencies in the last four years which resulted in their systemic failures to frontally confront corruption that has become a hydra headed monster that seems to have been made through the instrumentality of corruption and manipulations to defy all solutions.

On his part, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and an erstwhile military junta leader General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) premised his campaign on the urgent need to restore lasting security of lives and property of the good people of Nigeria.  Buhari has a very putrefying human rights records as a former military head of state who carried out several arbitrary executions and so will need to do more to market himself as a man who believes in democracy and respect for human rights. 

Still reflecting on the commencement of their respective campaigns, President Jonathan in the well attended flag off of the PDP campaign had stated among others thus; “Some people say they are fighting corruption… some of you know, I am not addressing people of 20 years and below but people from 30 years and so on… Nigerians go to fuel stations and sleep overnight to buy fuel or tip those who sell fuel to buy fuel. They hoard fuel and they benefit from the hoarding. Who are those who benefited from hoarding fuel? Since we came on board, have you suffered? Do you need to bribe someone before you get fuel?”
“When the crisis of insecurity came up, we had nothing. So to get things very quickly, we used some vendors to make procurement. But now what we are doing is government to government. Now any new procurement we are doing whether for the air force, navy or army it’s government to government, so there is nothing like corruption anymore. Even if we have some issues, maybe… is that not the way to fight corruption?”
“You must prevent people from touching money, you don’t give them the opportunity or tempt them with money and this is what government is doing and we are succeeding in a number of areas in our procurement processes. The relevant agencies will address Nigerians for you to appreciate what we are doing.”
Jonathan continued thus; “They say we are weak because there were some people who took our fathers, our mothers and our uncles while they were abroad put them in a crate and flew them to Nigeria but they were intercepted by superior powers. That blocked Nigerians from even going to Britain at a time and the relationship between Nigeria and Britain… the whole world isolated Nigeria.”

So the sum total of what President Jonathan at the Lagos rally told Nigerians is that his administration has focused on respecting constitutionalism in the fight against corruption in compliance with the relevant rights-based provisions enshrined in Chapter four of the constitution.

Jonathan also lampooned his leading opponent for his anti-democratic credentials such as the ill-fated attempt his military regime made to bring back the now late Umaru Dikko who was then accused of massive corruption under the then Alhaji Shehu Shagari-led civilian administration which Buhari and his 'Khaki boys’ overthrew in December 1983.
Undaunted by the deluge of attacks to his legendary anti-democratic records, the Presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress had at the flag off of his campaign in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital promised to deal decisively with corrupt elements in the society. He particularly sent fears and apprehensions across the spines of most corrupt politicians and rogue business persons across the country when he vowed to send all of them to prison if the electorate should give him the mandate come February 14th 2015.  A clear attribute of this candidate General Buhari [rtd] is that most Nigerians see him as being austere and therefore hates corruption with a passion and since corruption is at the root of most of our problems of underdevelopment and human rights abuses, his supporters see him as having an advantage over the incumbent.

Although most Nigerians are yet to read in greater details the comprehensive developmental blueprints of these major political players aforementioned, what is now of greater interest to Nigerians is for those political gladiators to play less of politics of name calling, mudslinging and character assassination but to dwell more on those areas and policy frameworks which they intend to introduce that will liberate majority of Nigerians from the unmitigated misery of poverty, unemployment, terrorism and general break down of law and order.
In other words, Nigerians have still not heard or read from either President Jonathan or his lead rival General Buhari how and what they have in stock to revolutionize the dwindling human rights landscape of Nigeria. What do each of them have in stock regarding bringing to an end the current regime of impunity whereby life has become so cheap that armed Islamic terrorists now bomb thousands of Nigerians to their early graves?
An existential scenario whereby Nigeria is rated as a heavily resource rich country but yet harbors some of the worst kinds of poor and impoverished citizenry globally is completely unacceptable. The World Bank recently rated Nigeria as a home to the third largest population of poor people globally. To think that Nigeria is  the eight largest crude oil producing nation World wide and yet majority of Nigerians go to bed in starvation is absolutely unacceptable. Let each one of them tell Nigerians what they intend to do to retrieve the massively looted financial resources from the crude oil sector over the years.
How for instance does each of these two mainstream parties intends to address the challenges confronting the weak institutions of law enforcement to restore independence and operational efficiency to each of these vital national institutions and reposition them to more professionally carryout their legal and constitutional mandate?

Nigerians need to know how for instance any of those two political gladiators now asking for our votes intends to revive the moribund Nigerian police Force and the two anti-graft agencies and importantly, what is on their cards for eradicating the widespread regime of impunity and lawlessness? What type of policing institution will each of them give us because for now the current crop of Nigerian police force is operationally weak and ridden with indiscipline, corruption and general inefficiency. Also what is on their campaign manifesto regarding the weak procurement mechanisms in the defence and police sectors?
Why has no one among these two Presidential Candidates considered it imperative to address the issue of prison and judicial reforms because it is a notorious reality that the corruption afflicting the Judiciary and the prison sector is at the root of the regime of impunity that now reigns supreme to such a ridiculous extent that armed gangsters invade the derelict prison facilities to release their detained members?

Nigerians should be told in clear terms and given practicable time lines how and what each of these two presidential candidates would do differently in the next four years to restore sanity, discipline and professionalism to such national institutions like the Nigerian military and the Department of State Security Services (DSS) even as Nigerians are yet to hear what they have in stock regarding internal security and providing science-based security to our international borders so as to stop terrorists from infiltrating and wrecking havoc.  What do they individually intend to bring on board to ensure equity in the redistribution of national wealth so all the segments of the Nigerian society will have a genuine sense of belonging?

President Jonathan is accused by the South East of failing to address the lack of federal infrastructure in that zone just as General Buhari is accused of concentrating all major projects executed by the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund which he headed then under the dictator General Sani Abacha to his Northern segment of the society. Incidentally and ironically also, President Jonathan is reportedly known to have sited more multibillion Dollars projects especially in the agro-water sectors in the North than elsewhere including his own Niger Delta section of the country.

All the above factors are essential elements that must be consolidated if the human rights situation in Nigeria is to be improved radically.
Let these two presidential candidates be reminded of the wise conclusion drawn up by a reputable global human rights figure Mr. MANFRED NOWAK in his book ; “HUMAN RIGHTS HAND BOOK FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS”.
This gentleman had written thus: “Human rights have pervaded much of the political discourse since the Second World War. While the struggle for freedom from oppression and misery is probably as old as humanity itself, it was the massive affront to human dignity perpetrated during that War, and the need felt to prevent such horror in the future, which put the human being back at the centre and led to the codification at the international level of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations declares “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion” as one of the purpose of the Organization.”
With three years of incessant mass slaughter of innocent Nigerians by armed Islamists resulting in the killings of over 12,000 Nigerians there is the urgent need for these candidates to more importantly address this issue with a view to letting Nigerians know some aspects of their anti-terrorism crusade in such a way as not to give out their secret formula so the terrorists don't steal it and beat them to their game.

It is true that in the last three and half years, the current federal administration made bold effort in partnership with the National Assembly to introduce legislative frameworks which have clearly empowered such vital institutions like the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and also introduced the freedom of Information Act of 2011 but it is still not what Nigerians are yearning for because the National Human Rights Commission is still battling with poor funding to such an extent that petitions on rights violations stay for much more longer than they should just as such heinous crimes like rape and human trafficking are still huge challenges because agencies that ought to fight these menaces are administered in the detestable business-as-usual fashion.

The ball is in the courts of these Presidential Candidates to market their human rights agenda so Nigerians can make well informed choices.

+Emmanuel Onwubiko is head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs;,