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Friday, 29 May 2015


A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organisation-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA  (HURIWA ) has described the smooth civilian -to-civilian transition programme that took place on May 29th 2015 as an unprecedented  phenomenon and charged the newly inaugurated President Muhammadu Buhari to pay great attention towards achieving holistic police reforms and to wage total war against mass poverty. 

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA also tasked the new Federal government to begin without further delay the comprehensive overhaul of the anti -graft machinery by appointing tested, trusted, fearless, incorruptible,  and professionally competent persons to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt practices and other offences commission  (ICPC). Current leadership of the two anti corruption agencies have compromised in a very unpleasant dimension, HURIWA alleges.

In the considered thinking of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria the incoming National Assembly should quickly move to amend the enabling laws setting up the two anti-corruption agencies to create room for the central government to hunt for globally respected anti corruption experts from any part of the World to assume headship of either of the two anti-graft bodies. "We urge that the incoming government should completely eschew partisan politics in the composition of new sets of persons to run the two anti corruption agencies so they can be headed by good people sourced from either Nigeria or any parts of the World.  We acknowledge that corruption is at the centre of the mass poverty afflicting nearly 90 million Nigerians and the only way to comprehensively battle and conquer mass poverty is the waging of relentless war against economic crimes and all ramifications of corruption. It is our suggestion that even a White American or a Briton with considerable records as good anti corruption experts can be hired by the Nigerian Government to spearhead a new war against the hydra headed monster of corruption in Nigeria. The current set up of both anti graft agencies whereby officers of the Nigerian Police play pivotal hierarchical roles is not right because from available records these two agencies dominated by the Police drawn from the Nigerian Police Force with poor records of professionalism and discipline has frustrated the war against corruption that would comply with global best practices. This evil status quo must be overthrown if the change mantra is to have any pragmatic relevance to Nigerians who are clamouring for immediate revolutionary changes in the fight against heist of public fund by politically exposed persons in the corridors of power ".

On police reforms the Rights Group said the existing policing structure has abysmally failed demanding surgical overhaul of the entire foundations of the Nigeria Police Force.  We call for the establishment of State police as recommended by the moribund National Political Conference organised by the last Jonathan led federal government.  "So long as the Nigerian policing institution remains largely ineffective and inefficient due to fundamentally defective structure and composition, the security situation of Nigeria will continue to deteriorate. Any nation without an effective policing institution will continuously face crises of insecurity of lives and property of the citizenry which directly breaches the primary purpose of government as contemplated in the Nigerian Constitution which recognise the security of lives and welfare of Nigerians as the primary duty of government . We call for comprehensive investigations of the police and defence budgets from 1999 to date to determine how humongous public fund meant to secure national security interest progressively disappeared into private pockets of top Generals and police chiefs over the years. These looted public funds must be repatriated and returned to public treasury and the looters named, shamed, prosecuted diligently and appropriately sanctioned by the competent court of law ".


Tuesday, 19 May 2015


A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organisation – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has expressed worry that since 1999 all successive federal administrations have consistently left out the physically challenged in the composition of the Executive Council of the federation.

Whilst canvassing immediate redress of this perennial constitutional violation perpetuated by virtually all successive Federal Administrations in the country, the Rights group tasked the incoming Mohammadu Buhari-led Presidency to ensure that a member of the Nigerian physically challenged community is appointed into the Federal Cabinet. 

Conversely, the Rights group also tasked the President-elect to maintain the tempo of greater involvement of women in strategic cabinet level positions as institutionalised by the current government  or to possibly surpass the antecedent already set by the out-going president Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government by appointing more quality and corrupt free women into the Federal cabinet to achieve gender parity and proper gender mainstreaming into the governance of Nigeria at the highest levels.

HURIWA believes that the continuous non-inclusion of the physically challenged Nigerian citizens in the hierarchy of civil governance at the federal level amounted to the perpetuation of the gross violation of section 14(3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) and insisted that this persistent right violation must be torpedoed now.

Citing that specific constitutional provision, HURIWA in a statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf reminded the President-elect and the incoming national ruling party – All Progressives Congress (APC) that the Supreme law states as follows; “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty....”

HURIWA submits that the physically challenged community is a strategic group that has suffered political alienation even when they form part of the larger federal demographic character of modern day Nigeria and indeed parade significant percentage of academically and morally sound citizens with requisite competences to join the national effort to achieve speedy transformational change of the Nigerian comatose economy.

The Rights group which canvassed strongly the involvement of quality women in the running of strategic cabinet level positions under the incoming Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency said that as far back as year 2011 the World Bank statistically projected that women of Nigeria constitute nearly 49.36 percent of the entire populations.

HURIWA also stated that since the estimated population of the physically challenged Nigerians are over 20 million conservatively, it would be a gross human right breach for this critical section of the Nigerian populace to be sidelined in the composition of the federal cabinet of quality Nigerian decision and policy making body.
“From our extensive findings, we are aware that Nigeria is blessed with top quality intellectually vibrant women who can competently and professionally pilot the affairs of vital federal ministries and agencies as the abundance of empirical evidence has shown. We therefore urge our newly elected President to write his name in gold as one of the respected liberators of Nigerian women and the physically challenged by equitably allotting high caliber cabinet level appointments to these groups of very important Nigerians”, HURIWA affirmed.

Relatedly HURIWA has condemned as outrageous and unsound, criticism of the hand-shake of the newly wedded bride of the Edo State governor Mrs. Lara Oshiomhole by the president -elect-Mohammadu Buhari. “The irrational attacks by religious fundamentalists against the president elect’s simple handshake shows that these zealots have no iota of respect for our secular status and constitutionalism.” HURIWA therefore urged the President elect to continue to respect the diverse composition of the Nigerian State and to respect the secular and/or multireligious constitutional outlook of Nigeria. 


Monday, 11 May 2015


Arendt Lijphart is the winner of the 1979 Ethnic and cultural pluralism Award of the American political science Association.
He authored a beautiful book titled “democracy in plural societies” which received global acclaim as a good encyclopedia of information on politics of many diverse nations even as the book has been widely recommended to scholarly minded persons around the World.
Briefly dwelling on his treatment of the thematic area of “Consociational engineering” he enlightens us on the fact that popular uprisings are essential elements that sustain democracy, and respect for the rule of law.
Here is what he wrote: “This book’s message to the political leaders of plural societies is to encourage them to engage in a form of political engineering: if they wish to establish or strengthen democratic institutions in their countries, they must become consociational engineers”.
Turning to researchers on political thematic issues of contemporary age, this the author stated thus; “Political scientists have generally been far too reluctant to make macro-level policy recommendations. Particularly as far as issues of development are concerned, the contrast with their colleagues in economics is a stark one”.
As Giovanni Sartori puts it, “with reference to economic development the economist is a planner; with reference to political development the political scientist is a spectator. The economist intervenes: His knowledge is applied knowledge. The political scientist awaits: he explains what happens, but does not make it happen.”
Continuing on the fundamental basis why societies without vibrant civil society community suffer from politico-economic emancipation of the multitudes of the citizenry, he asserted that “Yet we find ourselves in a genuine dilemma. On the one hand, if we conceive of political development not as any change but as induced change toward an intended goal-such as stable democracy-the need to specify the means whereby this end can be re ached is self-evident. On the other hand, are we justified in engaging in political engineering or in advising political engineers when our knowledge is imperfect? Specifically, is our knowledge sufficient to justify the recommendation of the means of consociational democracy for the objective of an effective and durable democratic regime in a plural society”.
Writing on the topic “The Philippine democratic uprising and the contradictions of neoliberalism”, Ben Reid from the university of Newcastle, stated as follows; “The mass uprising against and subsequent collapse of President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada’s government in the Philippines provides both an illustration of many of the main forms of and prevailing attitudes to political struggles for democratisation in the contemporary Third World”.
Occurring in late January 2001, the uprising, he stressed, generated responses on a variety of overlapping scales: international, regional and national. Simultaneously it demonstrated the increasingly limited capacity of elites committed to neoliberal development policy to endorse or countenance the use of democratic methods of mass mobilization as a means of securing political and social change.
Many proponents of the neoliberal commitment to market-orientated approaches to development and economic growth-purportedly achieved through price stability, trade and investment liberalization- in his considered thinking, are increasingly finding themselves opposed to the demands and methods of democratic mass movements.
The precise reason for this reflection is because of the overwhelming evidence that suddenly civil activism and constructive non-violent uprisings have taken the back seats in the affairs of Nigeria thereby exposing millions of Nigerians to the vagaries of mass poverty, social inequities, mass unemployment, and the collapse of the basic infrastructures of health and education.  Once upon a time when Nigeria had the likes of the Musical Maestro Mr. Fela Anikuapo Kuti, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Senior Advocate of the masses and of course Mr. Chima Ubani the co-founder of the Campaign for Democracy and the Civil Liberties Organization, the ruling political elite were kept constantly on their toes even as these elite were circumspect in adopting or implementing draconian economic measures that only impoverishes the civil populace.  As soon as these great personages passed on to the great World beyond it seems like Nigeria is now under the totalitarian stronghold of a range of forces that have emasculated the fundamental freedoms of the common Nigerians to be able to chart the best course of their collective social and economic advancements. Those of us who are struggling to succeed these great iconic civil society figures are still miles away from attaining their lofty positions due to a number of factors that are within the frame of human concupiscence. Some arguments have been advanced that the reason why some of these great personalities I mentioned above were very active was because Nigeria was then under military dictatorships and so the rest of the democratic World were willing and indeed were predisposed towards the provisions of essential monetary and capacity building assistance and the technical know-how to some of these civil society leaders to be able to pose effective challenge through active mass mobilization of the rest of the fearless civilian community to protest massively on the streets even amidst threats to their lives by the gun wielding boys from the military barracks. There is also this side of the debate that because civil democracy arrived in Nigeria in 1999 the Western World completely shrunk the frontiers of technical and monetary assistance to the civil society community in Nigeria. The few available international donor baskets have also been effectively cornered by some few members of a powerful cabal within the human rights community who have made sure that whatever funds trickles down from the European and United States communities are shared among their ranks leaving the rest of us as onlookers who would then be forced to look around frantically for local funds to be mopped up to enable us remain relevant and by so doing there is usually the tempting tendencies to collect some funds from some bad sources within and without the government circles. This is not to say that the rest of us who still remain relevant in the civil society community have not managed to raise local funds from credible local sources. But the presence of any rotten eggs within the civil society community has substantially affected the vibrancy of mass mobilization for effective popular uprisings and constructive non-violent actions that would make the society better.   Questions still linger.   
Why is Nigeria under the suffocating throes of a number of forces both centripetal and centrifugal especially on the economic front? Why are there forces that have made social life difficult for Nigerians and have vowed that the petroleum sector will never be well with Nigerians? Why should Nigerians suffer because there is scarcity of petroleum products for the common man even when Nigeria has crude oil resources on our soil especially in the neglected Niger Delta region? Why is civil activism in the tertiary institutions in a state of comatose and the student's union hijacked by elements from extraneous forces especially the political wing of the elite? Why are the Labor unions virtually dead and the leaders marooned and ensconced in air conditioned offices of some hurriedly set up government contraptions such as SURE-P and boards of educational and labor ministry agencies? Why are market women only heard during campaigns and after that market activism dies a natural death? Why? Why? Why?
Simple: popular uprising is dead in Nigeria because of unbridled quest for quick cash and we must reawaken it and prune away the egotism tearing the civil society apart. Popular uprising must be resuscitated or Nigeria is finished. Constructive, non-violent civil uprising and non-violent conflicts are imperative for a sustainable democracy in Nigeria.

Few years back when the outgoing Federal administration wanted to unilaterally remove the so-called petroleum products’ subsidy, the civil society community protested forcing government to put that plan on hold but a significant chunk of that so-called subsidy were withheld and a fund known as SURE-P was created as a scheme to finance the construction of basic social infrastructures across Nigeria.

This contraption known as SURE-P which is a dubious duplication of the jobs of federal ministries however created room for a board of directors and two groups-labour and civil society were allotted one slot each completely emasculating the independent fervor of labour unions but from amongst the government handpicked civil society representative is a person unknown for any civil society activism credentials.

For many years Nigerians are going through grave economic problems. There is no fuel anywhere. Education and Health have virtually collapsed. But what do we see? Women and youth-led groups have gone silent apparently because the government officials have bought up all those who are mouth pieces of these vital social organs and those who may wish to operate independently are not been heard because of limitations of popular media space. The private sector-led media industry is dominated by persons with affiliations to government officials and therefore the news contents are anti-people mostly. To be fair to the private owners of the media, these businesses must be sustained and if they are to remain afloat then they need patronage by way of adverts. From time to time, little spaces are created for the views of the oppressed to be presented but most times these spaces are negligible.

There is therefore this class struggle in Nigeria between owners of businesses and ordinary Nigerians. The beautiful treatise of Karl Marx is true of present day Nigeria and the only strategy for the people to take back ownership of the democratic process is for popular uprisings to become fashionable once more.     

*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and blogs;,


Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Two Nigerian-based pro- Democracy groups- Association of African Writers on Human and People's Rights (AFRIRIGHTS) and HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) have asked the African Union to demand that the President of Burundi respects his Country's constitution and step down immediatelly his second term expires having served for two terms provided for under the extant law.
In a statement jointly authorised by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the National Coordinator of HURIWA and the Country Director of AFRIRIGHTS and Miss Zainab Yusuf the National Director of Media Affairs of HURIWA, the Rights organisations tasked African leaders to intervene on the side of the people of Burundi and stop the President from achieving his unconstitutional third term plot which could spark off another civil war in that fragile nation.
The groups recalled that Burundi is facing a difficult political environment early next year as the country’s parliament will decide whether President Pierre Nkurunziza is eligible to contest in the elections or not.
Besides the Rights groups affirmed that from their findings the five-tier elections are scheduled to begin in May next year, but the opposition political platforms largely backed by a wide range of people of Burundi have maintained that attempts to have President Nkurunziza run for a third term could spark a resumption of civil war. 
The two Nigerian-based groups rejected the hasty and preordained verdict of the handpicked constitutional court which against the clear provisions of the law has gone ahead to permit the Burundian leader to run for an unconstitutional third term.
HURIWA and AFRIRIGHTS stated that the illegal third term plot by the current President of Burundi is a clear  violation of the 2000 Arusha Accord.
The Accord, in the considered opinion of the two human rights groups registered in Nigeria as civil society  groups, was categorical that apart from power-sharing arrangements, the president cannot go for more than two terms. 
"African Union must act decisively now to stop the fragile political situation in Burundi from degenerating into another civil war. One man's unbridled political ambitions for limitless presidential terms should not be allowed to jeopardise the peace of a whole country and throw out millions of Africans as refugees should civil crises break out therein", HURIWA and AFRIRIGHTS  averted jointly.