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Friday, 6 December 2019

SOWORE: HURIWA to Nigerians-: ensure Buhari didn't collapse democracy:

A frontline Civil Rights Advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned as atrocious and a well-coordinated plot to destroy democracy and constitutionalism, the reported re-arrest of the Publisher of Saharareporters Omoyele SOWORE by the operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.

HURIWA said the desecration of the Temple of Justice is an affront on the principle of rule of law and a desecration of the Nigerian Constitution even as the Rights group challenged all Nigerians to wake up and smell the coffee before this democracy collapses because what happened in court is a total breach of section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which states that:"(1) The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation. (2) The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State. (3) The courts to which this section relates, established by this Constitution for the Federation and for the States, specified in subsection (5) (a) to (1) of this section, shall be the only superior courts of record in Nigeria; and save as otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly or by the House of Assembly of a State, each court shall have all the powers of a superior court of record. (4) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall be construed as precluding:- (a) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly from establishing courts, other than those to which this section relates, with subordinate jurisdiction to that of a High Court; (b) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly, which does not require it, from abolishing any court which it has power to establish or which it has brought into being. (5) This section relates to:- (a) the Supreme Court of Nigeria; (b) the Court of Appeal; (c) the Federal High Court; (d) the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (e) a High Court of a State (f) the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (g) a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State; (h) the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (i) a Customary Court of Appeal of a State; (j) such other courts as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction on matters with respect to which the National Assembly may make laws; and (k) such other court as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance or on appeal on matters with respect to which a House of Assembly may make laws. (6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section - (a) shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law (b) shall extend, to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person; (c) shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution; (d) shall not, as from the date when this section comes into force, extend to any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966 for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law."

HURIWA said the re-arrest of Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement at the Federal High Court, Abuja is another in the series of open and orchestrated plot to undermine democracy by the current President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to destroy the independence of the Judiciary, institute a police state and ultimately destroy constitutional democracy to make way for the emergence of a single party state and totalitarianism.

"What took place at the premises of the Federal High Court could be likened to a scene in the Nollywood movie but unfortunately it was in real life and beamed to millions of people in the World because as seen and witnessed by Millions of Nigerians including video evidence circulated from the venue of the show of shame by the DSS at the Federal High Court Abuja it emerged that as at the time of the attempt to re-arrest him(SOWORE), police, journalists and others present in court threw themselves on Sowore, thereby preventing the heavily armed security personnel from picking him up just as Sowore could be seen on the floor inside the courtroom saying, “They have surrounded the place. We will sleep here today just before the DSS reportedly invaded the court room and chased away the judge reportedly and whisked away the Nigerian citizen SOWORE who is on bail. It is tragic that this coup against democracy by the DSS is coming less than a day after he was released by the DSS after an Abuja Federal High Court ordered for his release within 24 hours. Recall that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu also ordered the DSS to pay the sum of N100, 000 to Sowore, for refusing to release him on bail despite two court orders to that effect and the judge consequently adjourned the trial of the case brought against them by the Nigerian Government until December 6 for continuation. This gross human rights abuse of the human rights of Mr. Sowore started long ago even as he has been in custody of the DSS after the political activist was arrested for allegedly calling for a civil mass action to change the bad tides afflicting democracy in Nigeria and he has been in detention for over 3 months. Nigerians must see this as a violation of the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND DEMANDING MASS ACTION UNDER THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW as allowed by the Constitution to show national sense of outrage and righteous indignation ".

HURIWA has therefore urged Nigerians to speak out and defend democracy before it is late. "We condemn this brazen display of executive and security rascality by the DSS and we believe that only Nigerians with the help of WORLD LEADERS CAN SAVE DEMOCRACY FROM THE IMMINENT DEATH.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

As the Army dances in the East!

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
Democracy as Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America (from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865), sees it, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Since delivering this apt and profoundly philosophical thesis on the essence and wholeness of the concept and practice of democracy, both the message and the messenger have become iconic in the minds of millions of people in the world for many centuries.
Indeed, democracy has continued to gain traction, relevance, acceptance and popularity in leaps and bounds.
It is important to once more stress that the people are at the heart of the political process known as democracy just as all the institutional frameworks that delivers the objectives of democracy are invariably expected to be people centered.
Having made the above preliminary analyses, let us zero -in our minds to the democratic practices, processes and system that Africa’s largest political entity Nigeria has experimented with since 1999.
In doing that, we will also look at how the democratic principles and traditions have shaped the branding and re-branding of such an institution like the military which prior to the coming of constitutional democracy, was basically viewed as an obstacle to the practice of democracy because of the part played by some Generals in the Army of the past few decades in the governance process of the nation state culminating in the peaceful, constructive and transparent handing over of government in 1999 from the military to a civilian government.
For the purposes of this research and in view of the fact that our reflection is centered on the changing face of the Nigerian Army in the democratic dispensation, we will focus basically around some of the great innovations and policies already implemented by the Army through the current chief of Army staff lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai to be able to draw some conclusions.
The immediate realization that becomes apparent is the fact that gradually the Army that was dreadful and dreaded by the masses is beginning to be rebranded in such a revolutionary way that it is becoming clearer that the professionalization of the Nigerian Army inevitably consolidates constitutional democracy in such a way that the greatest percentage of the population would now view the Army as a strategic defender of constitutional democracy.
As a human rights focal stakeholder, the scope of this brief reflection is on some of the gains and milestones made already in some internal military operations like the ongoing operation Atilogwu Udo 1 which has shown the high commitment of the military towards mainstreaming respect for the human rights of the citizenry in line with the provisions of chapter four of the constitution and relevant global human rights laws. Before I continue, I must state here that members of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) are observing the exercise Atilogwu Udo 1 in the South East of Nigeria.  Continuing this dialogue naturally leads us to how the ongoing operation of the Nigerian Army is being perceived by mist observers.
For instance, this is how an online newspaper viewed the rebranding of the military operation in the South East of Nigeria from python dance to Atilogwu Udo.
The online newsoaoer reports that the Nigerian Army has changed one of its 'memorable' code names from Python Dance (Egwu Eke) to Dance of Peace (Atilogwu Udo).
It recalled that in 2016, 'Python Dance' was given to the military operation covering parts of the Southeast and South-south.
‘Python Dance’ was designed to combat a spate of kidnappings, armed robbery, cult and communal clashes, among other sundry crimes, bedeviling the Southeast region of the country in particular.
At inception, ‘Python Dance’ ran into controversial waters when soldiers from the unit were accused of raiding and destroying the Abia home of separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, the paper observed.
The online newspaper stayed that Nnamdi Kanu and his parents fled Nigeria soon after and nothing was heard of the secessionist for a year.
'Python Dance' soldiers were also accused of human rights violations and excessive use of force. 
On the dance of peace this is how the Army announced it.
In a statement issued by the Operations Media Coordinator of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the army says ‘Python Dance’ has now run its course.
The army however says all information relating to the exercise as contained in previous press statements and press conferences issued by Army Headquarters, remains unchanged.
“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting the lives and properties of citizens particularly during these ember months and the fast-approaching Yuletide season.
“He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians towards providing a well-secured environment for all and sundry,'' the statement added.
Operation Atilogwu Udo (Dance of Peace) is an Igbo coinage like the one before it.
Dance of Peace will cover Nigeria’s Southeast and South-south regions as well; and is designed to assist the police in keeping the peace among the civilian population.  
The rebranding of the name of the military exercise in the South East of Nigeria did not only stop at name change. The Army has since stepped up several corporate socially responsible medical outreaches and the Army Engineers have indeed practically brought their skills to bear in such a way that they fixed some broken down portions of some of the Federal Highways in the East.
The rebranding going on in the Army under the current dispensation has to a large extent won many hearts and minds even as some celebrities including mainstream iconic actors like Chief Pete Edochie has reportedly identified with the social services the Nigerian Army has been rendering to the poor masses since November 1st 2019 that the operation Atilogwu Udo commenced.
This is a demonstration that the rebranding is not cosmetic but meant to realistically place the military institution in such a great height as a respected builder and defender of constitutional democracy and sustainable development.
The above developments perhaps were explained by Justas Markus, who on September 9th 2019 penned down a great piece titled “What is branding in marketing?”
“Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind by combining such elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications. Effective branding helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.”
He asked why branding is important  and said: “A unique brand can have a huge impact on your bottom line by giving you a competitive advantage over your rivals and helping you acquire and retain customers at a much lower cost. In eCommerce, where new companies (and therefore, new competitors) are springing up every day, an established brand can be an invaluable asset in bringing customers and generating profit.”
In the case of the changing faces of the Army, the profit is not in cash but in the revolutionary outlook that the people are beginning to see the Army.
In an editorial dated December 5th 2019, The Nation wrote that “The Nigerian Army has re-built the pedestrian bridge linking students’ hostels to lecture halls at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Bauchi Sate, which collapsed In August, killing four students. The new bridge which can carry 60 tons of weight was promised by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, shortly after the tragedy.”
But before the bridge’s collapse four months ago is eclipsed by the good news of its replacement by army engineers, we find the death of the students from the collapse of the bridge unfortunate. It could have been avoided in a context of adequate strategic governance and attention to physical infrastructure on the campus. Undoubtedly, the bridge must have been giving signs of increasing weakness long before it collapsed under the weight of the students. We urge managers of the university and similar institutions to pay adequate attention to the structures on their premises. Such vigilance is part of the stuff of which good leadership is made.
However, The Nation said they commend the army’s engineers for quick intervention and speedy fulfillment of a promise that could have fallen through the cracks of military bureaucracy. The appreciation of the work of the engineers by the vice-chancellor: “In all sympathy and condolences we received, one organization took its demonstration of love one step further. In all our wildest imagination, nobody in this community ever thought that practical help would come from the Nigerian Army” underscores the importance of what looks like a new perception or face of the Nigerian Army. This is a good face for the military to have and sustain amongst citizens. Such instance of corporate social responsibility should not be restricted to the army but extended to all parts of the armed forces.
Occasional intervention by the army in civic projects it says is not new. The army’s corps of engineers participated in building roads in Osun State during the administration of Chief Bisi Akande in the early 2000s. And the roads were hailed then as good and less expensive than similar roads given to contractors by the Federal Government at that time. Encouraging the armed forces to participate in adding value to the life of citizens in various sectors, especially in peace time, is growing globally.”
Declaring the event open, which heralded the commencement of the Atilogwu Udo 1, the Army hierarchy made it known that the job before the Army is to win hearts and minds of the people of South East of Nigeria and for the military institution to demonstrate her determination to continue to play her role as the defender of democracy and a respecter of the Constitution.  The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai urged the people of Southeast to fully welcome the Atilogwu Udo 1, literally translated as “Dance of Peace”.
Gen. Buratai, who said the launch of the Atilogwu Udo 1, was not targeted at any group or individual in the Southeast, explained that it was rather aimed at curbing issues of robbery, kidnapping, communal clashes and other security challenges, especially during the forthcoming Yuletide season.
Represented by the Chief of Training/Operations, Nigerian Army, Maj-General Enobong Udoh, Buratai added that the aim of the exercise was to consolidate previous exercises carried out in the region.
Explaining further that the summit was to keep the public abreast of the activities of the military; the COAS emphasized the need to galvanize media support for the military.
“The exercise is in line with our desire to keep the public well informed about our operations. The summit will serve as a means of improving civil-army and galvanising civil support for the army through the media”, he said.
He urged media practitioners to ensure proper information and education of the public on the exercise, without any form of biases and sensationalism.
Buratai revealed that, during the exercise, the military would embark on medical outreach, educational outreach, road construction and other such activities for the benefit of the civil populace in order to ensure cordiality and their support during and after the exercise.
“We had worst cases of kidnapping in 2016. The desire to curb this evil act by Nigerians brought about the Egwu Eke, and now transformed to Atilogwu Udo 1.
“The military will continue to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles,” he said.
He thanked the Igbo elite for supporting army operations in the region, even as he urged them to continue to partner with the security outfit in order to ensure that “we achieve a crime-free society.”
Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Prof. Simon Ortuanya, assured that the state government would continue to support the military and other security agencies to ensure protection of lives and property.
Ugwuanyi, who spoke on “The Need for Accurate Reporting in Times of Challenges” encouraged journalists to promote accurate and positive reporting of activities of the Army, especially in the face of security challenges in Nigeria.
He reiterated that Atilogwu Udo 1, was to create a better understanding and synergy among the civilians and the army, warning that inaccurate reporting or manipulation of information on the exercise would elicit negative impression or unwanted reaction from the populace.
The governor noted that “civil society and mass media reshape opinions” urging them to eschew negative reporting, which he said dampens the morale of the fighting soldiers.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, Brig-Gen. Lasisi A. Adegboye, said the summit provided opportunity to share ideas, as well as foster inter-agency collaboration in military activities.
Gen. Adegboye appealed for support from citizens for smooth implementation of the Atilogwu Udo 1, noting that the exercise would help to combat crime and tackle security challenges in the region.
He listed sanitation exercise, medical outreach, education support to schools and rehabilitation of orphanage homes, among others, as part of areas that the military would be interfacing with the people in the region during the exercise.
Dr. Ifeanyi Didiugwu, who spoke on “The Military, Media, Peace and National Development: Exercise Atilogwu Udo 1 in Perspective”, commended the army for adopting the most important aspect of human relations in getting the support of the civil populace towards the army operation.
He noted that the approach to the summit had been one of the ways with which the ancient African society addressed challenges.
He noted that without peace, there would be no development. He harped on the need to work collaboratively with the military, even as he urged citizens to shun unnecessary fear during the period.
Didiugwu, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, called for massive awareness of the citizens to avoid misconstruing the entire exercise and regretted that the previous operations were perceived to be targeted at Ndigbo.
One of the participants and Nollywood actor, Chief Pete Edochie, praised the army for its new approach of integrating the civil populace in fight against anti-social vices.
Edochie, who was impressed by the whole approach, announced that he would volunteer to take the message of the army operation to the people, because “this is a campaign to correct bad impression”.
The prayer and aspiration of Nigerians is the regarding process in the Nigerian Army be sustained for a long time to come because a professional military is the best safeguard that guarantees sustainable democracy and the development of the polity.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

HURIWA condemns police attacks of Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer: .......... *calls for commission of inquiry in Anambra:

Blaming the Anambra state police commissioner Mr. John Abang over his unguarded and irresponsible statement warning the leader of the proscribed indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Mr. Nnamdi Kanu not to attend his mother’s burial for the renewed conflict between the police and suspected street urchins in Anambra state, the prominent Rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has demanded his immediate dismissal.

Also, the Rights group has absolutely condemned the persistent physical violence by the police visited on the lawyer to the leader of IPOB Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor including the recent invasion of his private residence in his Oraifite hometown which led to the razing down of his housing assets allegedly by the police, the killing allegedly of his relatives just as the group sympathized with the families of all those killed in the riot that ensued including the two police operatives reportedly burnt to death by riotous crowd displeased by the violence unleashed allegedly by the police on the premises of the legal representative of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). HURIWA said the invasion of the lawyer's residence was provocative, illegal, despicable and a grave violations of his constitutional rights to privacy.

Canvassing the immediate convocation of the Anambra state’s judicial commission of inquiry on the invasion of the home of the lawyer to IPOB, the alleged killings by police of civilians and the alleged reprisal killing of police by some crowds, HURIWA expressed shock that the Anambra state governor Willie Obiano has not set up a probe panel till date.

“Honestly speaking, in as much as we are unhappy over the killing of civilians and the policemen, we want Nigerians to hold the commissioner of police responsible for this breach of peace following his illegal, unconstitutional and unwarranted provocative statement in which he was quoted as asking Nnamdi Kanu not to return for his mother’s burial.”

This statement credited to the police commissioner is absolutely irresponsible and uncalled for because he lacks the power to stop any citizen from visiting his country of birth. The police commissioner is neither the Nigerian president nor is he the comptroller General of immigration for him to appropriate the power (a power that is null, void and of no legal effect) of stopping a citizen from his freedom of movement which even the president lacks so far as the person is a citizen of Nigeria. Why make such a careless statement and then invade the home of the legal representative of IPOB as if the lawyer has no constitutional rights to freedom of association and to meet with his clients as a practicing lawyer?”

HURIWA in a statement with the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the Media Affairs Director Zainab Yusuf condemned the declaration of the lawyer to IPOB as a wanted person by the police because it would seem that the police officers and the Anambra state police command are both the prosecutor and the judge in their own case and acting as if Nigeria has become a banana republic. The group said the arrogance of power by the Anambra state police commissioner must be checked since no man is above the law. 

“We call on the Anambra state governor to wake up, constitute a judicial investigative panel to uncover the remote and immediate causes of the disturbances and the invasion by police of the home of the lawyer to IPOB and the alleged killings that took place as a consequence of that illegality just as the Rights group asked the police to restrain themselves from bringing any physical harm on the person of the lawyer of IPOB and to allow the due process of the law to take its full course.  

Hate Speech Bills: Senate won’t pass anti-people’s laws: LAWAN TELLS HURIWA

Following a ground swell of protests trailing the proposed anti-free speech bills by the senate, the senate president Dr.  Ahmed Lawan has told the prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) that it will not pass any legislation the Nigerian people hates.

The senate president who responded to a detailed written protest against the hate speech bill and anti-social media bill before the senate by the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) stated that the legislators will listen to the pulse of the Nigerian people that have rejected the bills and will do exactly as Nigerians demanded.

Senate president Ahmed Lawan had in his letter to HURIWA dated November 20th 2019 but received by HURIWA on December 4th 2019 titled: “RE: WHY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY’S BILLS AGAINST FREE SPEECH ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL: BY HURIWA,” stated as follows:

“I write to present the compliments of the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Sen. Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Ph.D., CON and to acknowledge receipt of your letter on the above subject wherein you asked the National Assembly to suspend ad infinitum the current attempts at introducing obnoxious legislations to curb access to the social media.”

“His Excellency is appreciative of your concern towards upholding our constitution and your members’ continuous use of their talents as writers to promote protect and project the human rights of all Nigerians. His Excellency assures you that the Senate will not pass any anti-people’s laws.”

“While thanking you, please accept the assurances of the President of the Senate.”

The letter from the Senate President was endorsed by his Chief of Staff; Alhaji Babagana M. Aji.

HURIWA had on November 13th 2019 written to the senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the offices of the Senate President titled: “WHY NATIONAL ASSEMBLY’S BILLS AGAINST FREE SPEECH ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL: BY HURIWA” even as the group had argued that:

“Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). By virtue of same and other international instruments, it is the freedom to hold opinions, receive ideas and information and impart ideas and information without interference. Social media is used in reference to the means of expression other than the main stream media."

Urging the National Assembly to stop forthwith any attempt to legislate laws that offends the Rights to Freedom of Speech  the Rights group reminded the National Assembly that Freedom of Expression in Nigeria is grounded constitutionally in Section 39 of the CFRN entrenches the right to freedom of expression in the following words:

“(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection 1 of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information ideas and opinions:
Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorized by the President on the fulfillment of conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting a station for the any purpose whatsoever."

The Rights group said similar provisions are found in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

"It does not appear a mere coincidence that section 39 of the CFRN which provides for freedom of expression comes immediately after section 38 which provides for right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.  Next to thought is expression. The basis for this right therefore cannot be over emphasized in a democratic society. It is one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and the basic condition for its progress and development as held the European Court on Human Rights in Handyside Case.” Arguing that there are a plethora of decided cases guaranteeing free speech".

HURIWA told the senate that:“The Supreme Court per Ayoola JSC, in the case of  Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal v Okonkwo (2001) 85 LRCN 908 declared that the courts are the institution, society has agreed to invest with the responsibility of balancing conflicting interests in a way as to ensure the fullness of liberty without destroying the existence and stability of society itself. Therein lies the wisdom and need for qualification of all rights including this one most essential right.”

“In the case of Gozie Okeke v. The State (2003) 15 NWLR (Pt.842) 25, the Supreme Court held that the word “reasonable” in its ordinary meaning means moderate, tolerable and not excessive. In this regard, there are extant laws in Nigeria which seek to prevent abuse of free speech.  Section 24(1) of the Cybercrime (prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 makes it a criminal offence to send a message or other matter by means of computer systems of network that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be sent or he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, injury, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such message to be sent. Also Section 24(2) of the Act criminalizes transmitting or causing the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network to bully, threaten or harass another person where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person.”

“In the same vein there is the tort of defamation under a victim of abuse of freedom of speech can seek redress besides the criminal offences of defamation and injurious false under the Criminal Code and Penal Code. Section 391 of the Penal Code Law makes is a defamation to speak or represent by mechanical means or by signs or visible representation or publish any imputation concerning another intending to or knowing or having reason to believe that it will hard the reputation of the person. While a false statement of fact under similar circumstances is injurious false under section 393 of the Penal Code Law. There are similar provisions in sections 373, 374 and 375 of the Criminal Code Laws of the Southern States. Besides there are various provisions in the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission Act dealing with violations which have become known as “hate speech” with varying degrees of sanctions.”

HURIWA argued strongly against limitations To access To social media and also rejected the hate speech bill as follows: “To require more than the existing laws have provided would portray the government in bad light and peach it against the people and any such further regulation will only take Nigeria centuries back in civilization with attendant consequences of gross and flagrant abuse like in the colonial era or the immediate after which had such over regulation like the laws on sedition by which a lot of persons were frequently charged and convicted for what ordinarily would be fair comment by citizens of democratic society. A lot of these cases are high profile cases with potential to cause political tension, affect the peace and stability of the entire country which the proponents of the of social media regulation claim to want to prevent.  This would further deepen the already entrenched distrust between the people and government. This way, the government loses its right and benefit of feedback from the people.”

Tuesday, 3 December 2019


The prominent civil Rights Advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of doing nothing whilst his officials and core Northern supporters have embarked on massive anti-Igbo sentiments and adopting discriminatory policies which may ignite genocidal attacks on Igbo people residing outside their geopolitical region.

The Rights group has listed the Transportation minister Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and the police inspector general Mohammed Adamu as two key officials that have by words and actions exposed the Igbo speaking nationality to hate crimes even as the Rights group also listed the Arewa Consultative Council (ACC); erstwhile chairman of Alliance for Democracy (AD) Alhaji Adamu Song and erstwhile House of Representatives member from Kano state Alhaji Junaid Mohammed as the reactionary elements who are instigating possible genocide against Igbo by stoking up hate-filled messages against the over 50 million Igbo speaking people of South East of Nigeria.

The Rights group said the president should act fast as a statesman to stop the trend to avoid a replication of Rwanda type genocide in Nigeria. HURIWA said the trend has assumed a worrying dimension demanding swift institutional response from the Federal government of Nigeria to stop any genocide from happening.

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA has also called on the United Nations and the Nigerian national security adviser General Monguno (rtd) to interrogate the aforementioned anti-Igbo campaigners to determine if there is more to it than meets the eyes because according to the group, the quick, successive and sustainable massive media attacks targeting the Igbo race and the anti-Igbo police promotions by the Inspector General of police could be a pointer to a bigger plots against the South East of Nigeria. "Why is Mr. President cool and not asking the relevant question even when these hate filled sentiments polluting the Media space emanating from members of his perceived core Northern loyalists are potential grave threats to national security".

“There remains high suspicions that the minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Amaechi may be doing the bidding of some rabid Igbo haters because of his consistent umbrage of the South East of Nigeria including his recent diatribe in which he seem to be saying that south east of Nigeria has been expelled in his World of fantasy and is no longer a part of Nigeria but in his phantom Biafra Republic. Why should a holder of a cabinet level office be heard saying that the transportation university is to be built in Daura because Daura is not in Biafra, Mali or Nigeria? Mr. President should be worried about two possibilities derivable from this diarrhea of the mouth unleashed against South East of Nigeria by Rotimi Amaechi and these are as follows: Mr. president can tell us if Rotimi Amaechi knows where Biafra is located  since he knows that Daura is not a part of Biafra or Mr. president may do well to investigate his minister to ascertain if he is one of the sponsors for the creation of Biafra which according to him is already in existence since he exhibited a great amount of esoteric knowledge about the demographic make ups of his BIAFRA.

Secondly, Mr. president should find out if Rotimi Amaechi’s outburst is meant to provoke a Rwanda type genocide against millions of Igbo who live and do their legitimate business in the North of Nigeria living side by side in peace with their Northern hosts and brethren and the Igbo nationality who in the last two decades have suffered all kinds of violence and killings by some religious fanatics at any slightest provocation including the slaughter of the 74 year old woman trader in Kano state some few years back in which the Kano state governor set the killers free.”

“Mr. President should also be worried that officials of Arewa ethnic nationality have begun systematic anti-Igbo campaigns with the objective of creating a general atmosphere of hatred towards the Igbo race in the guise of stopping them from aspiring to be elected president of Nigeria in 2023. These series of well-orchestrated and formidably funded media campaigns by the body and some key Northern individuals if not moderated can instigate genocide against Igbo.”

“Again, in the midst of all the media attacks, the Inspector General of police Mohammed Adamu then took the fight against the South East of Nigeria or Ndigbo to a strange dimension by denying the South East of Nigeria of equity and equality in the upgrading of police commissioners in what appears to be a continuation of the divergent levels of targeted anti-Igbo sentiments that are brewing in the North.”

“The president must note that  the skewed promotions by the IGP against the Igbo offends the Federal character principle of the constitution in section 14(3) and is discriminatory which is against section 42 of the Nigerian constitution as follows:”

Section 14(3) states: “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, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”.

Section 42 states: “(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions. (2) No citizen of Nigeria shall be subjected to any disability or deprivation merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth. (3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes restrictions with respect to the appointment of any person to any office under the State or as a member of the armed forces of the Federation or member of the Nigeria Police Forces or to an office in the service of a body, corporate established directly by any law in force in Nigeria.”

HURIWA said the President as the Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should realize that the primary duty of government is to protect lives and property of the citizenry and therefore the unambiguous gathering political storm against the Igbo speaking people by government officials and self-acclaimed supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari should be stopped now to avoid monumental violence been unleashed on the people of South East of Nigeria especially those who live in the North of Nigeria.

Monday, 2 December 2019

RESTRUCTURING: HURIWA urges presidency to be tolerant of opinions:

“The near anarchic responses constantly oozing out from the media desk of the current presidency in Abuja Nigeria always attacking persons with a difference of positions on certain national issues is totally antithetical to constitutional democracy which thrives on exercise of the freedoms of expression; free speech and must encourage and stimulate the people to participate actively in the governance of the nation state.”

With the above assertions, the prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has tasked president Muhammadu Buhari to listen carefully to the patriotic and sound counsel made to his government on a platter of gold by Nigeria’s erstwhile chief of Defence staff General Alexander Ogomudia (rtd) concerning the need for a constructive implementation of reform measures to restructure the Nigerian state.

HURIWA said the government at the centre should be grateful to such open minded and courageous former top flight military and security officers for speaking out and contributing to constructive debates rather than take him on as if to say it has become a crime for retired military chiefs to express their opinions within the bounds of the law. "For distinguishing himself as a charismatic patriot and speaking out his mind with the best of intentions, it is immoral and disrespectful for the Media official of President to condemn the exercise of the right to freedom of expression by the erstwhile military General. There are many others who retired as top Generals that have gone into their shells and are not concerned about engaging in constructive national debate for nation building purposes but are simply watching developments from one side of their eyes whilst within themselves they nurse bottled up angst over the deteriorating state of insecurity in Nigeria. Government should appreciate those who take out their time to speak out."

HURIWA has also asked the president to direct his media aides to show respect to the erstwhile chief of Defence staff in both his military career which culminated in him becoming a top ranking service chief without blemish just as the Rights group stated that leaders in any constitutional democracy all around the world achieve more objectives for the overall good of the people by doing a lot of listening and taking into account what is good and useful rather than to constantly become cantankerous and intolerant of divergent opinions coming from the citizenry.

“We take strong exception to the persistent bellicose responses emanating from the desk of the media team of Mr. President, an office that is sustained by the public and at public costs. The Nigerian constitution in several relevant sections which we will cite below clearly stated that president Muhammadu Buhari holds his high office in trust for the good people of Nigeria who are the real owners of the sovereignty of Nigeria. The sections to be cited below also clearly stated that those in government must by all means encourage the participation of the people in the running of government. It is therefore unacceptable that the media office of Mr. President has become the unethical attack dog of the holder of the highest office in the land. Mr. President is the father of the nation for the remaining period he would spend in this last term in office and must not operate under any mindset of a regional overlord of his geopolitical region or birth nor is he to assume the ignominious role of a religious bigot. Nigerian President must at all times be the Statesman that the voters voted him to be”.

Section 14 states: “(1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice. (2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that: (a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority; (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and (c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

HURIWA reminded President Muhammadu Buhari that there is no crime in what the former Service Chief has said regarding restructuring because section 39 states: “(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions: Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorized by the President on the fulfillment of conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for, any purpose whatsoever. (3) Nothing in this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society - (a) for the purpose of preventing the disclosure. of information received in confidence, maintaining the authority and independence of courts or regulating telephony, wireless broadcasting, television or the exhibition of cinematograph films; or (b) imposing restrictions upon persons holding office under the Government of the Federation or of a State, members of the armed forces of the Federation or members of the Nigeria Police Force or other Government security services or agencies established by law.”

HURIWA said also that it is not incorrect that there is no a general breakdown of Law and order even as insecurity of lives and property of Nigerians has been severely compromised by the inability of the law enforcement agencies to check the growing spate of kidnappings and violent attacks by armed bandits.

HURIWA recalled that General Ogomudia, had in his the keynote address at the Good Governance Lecture organized by the Catholic Church of Warri’s Justice Development and Peace Commission, warned that the continued suppression of the agitations for the restructuring of the country could lead to a violent breakup of the country.

He urged those opposed to restructuring to borrow a leaf from the break-up of Yugoslavia and Sudan, saying that “even in Spain the Catalonians want to break away and that in Britain, Scotland seeks autonomy.”

HURIWA lamented however that rather than listen to the wise counsel made put of genuine patriotism, media office of the Presidency on Sunday negatively reacted to comments credited to a former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia (rtd.), who had said that “Nigeria may be restructured violently.”

HURIWA recalled that the Presidency said democracy, not violence, was the known constitutional means of bringing any type of change in the polity just as the Presidency’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by Presidential spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu in which he stated thus: “This vituperation, coming from a former military chief speaks volumes about the mindset of groups of citizens who have yet to accept democracy as a form of government. It is very important to stress that we, as a nation, are a constitutional democracy and changes to the country in structure, its systems, policy and politics must abide by the norms of democracy, otherwise they would be extrajudicial and therefore unconstitutional. This system has subsisted, uninterrupted, for upward of 20 years and still going, and the country’s law courts, with its armed forces are primed at all times to defend it, using all means that are lawful.”

HURIWA however faulted this reaction as negative and thoughtless just as the Rights group reminded the Federal government that the current Nigerian Constitution even recognizes the People as the owners of the Sovereignty which confers the powers on the people to determine whether to change and restructure the current dysfunctional structure put in place hurriedly by the military Generals under the watch of General Sani Abacha the then military tyrant with an overwhelming dominance of Moslem Northern officers who ensured that the political and economic structuring as stipulated in the military's choreographed constitution inherently favoured the North. The Constitution correctly recognizes the authority of the Nigerian people in some constitutional forms to determine how best to restructure the Country because nothing is cast in stone just as the Rights group reminds the President that even the Constitution of the United States of America that is over 300 years had undergone major amendments to bring it up to speed with the demands of the greatest percentage of the people.

HURIWA also stated that there is nothing wrong in cautioning the government to allow for constructive restructuring to avoid violent restructuring because according to the Rights group a universally acknowledged maxim states that if peaceful change is not legislated into law then violence may spring up. The Rights group said the erstwhile Chief of Defence staff did not call for violence but only sounded a note of warning about the LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE OF A FAILURE TO PERMIT PEACEFUL AGITATION FOR RESTRUCTURING.

HURIWA has therefore recommended further capacity building exposures in any Nigerian top rated federal Universities and on the job training to be conducted by media professors for the top Presidential media aides so they can learn to interprete correctly the positions expressed by Nigerians on how the nation can attain good governance.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Enugu government’s fight against land speculators is salutary: - says HURIWA ............... *Tasks GOC 82 division on professionalism

“Any state governor with a mindset that projects the state as investors’ friendly and yearns for rapid industrialization of the state must double up efforts towards tackling the threats posed by alleged land speculators and land grabbers so as to truly make the ease of doing business seamless and result-oriented. Land administration must be sanitized so as to attract good corporate citizens to invest in the state and create employment opportunities for the ordinary people of such states.”

With the above affirmation, the prominent civil Rights Advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has applauded a range of forward looking decisions made by the Enugu state governor Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to check the proliferation of cases of alleged land speculations and land grab phenomenon in Obeagu/Amechi Awkunawnaw land of Enugu metropolitan area of the state reputed to be the political capital of the South East of Nigeria. HURIWA said it has been inundated with petitions from distressed Nigerians especially from Enugu State South East of Nigeria regarding alleged cases of land speculations and deprivation of their right to own immovable property as recognized by the Constitution in Section 43 of the Nigerian Constitution. 

Besides, the Rights group has expressed optimism that the no- nonsense chief of Army staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai reputed to be a professionally disciplined soldier will investigate the alleged involvement of the General officer commanding 82 Division and the Garrison Commander of 82 Division over alleged intimidation, cruelty, undue and unnecessary deployment of soldiers by a firm of developers in Enugu state just as the Rights group confirmed that it got a petition concerning the matter which was endorsed by the law firm of Chijioke Obinna and Associates based in the nation’s capital.

On the allegations made against the General officer commanding 82 Division in Enugu Brigadier General Lasisi Adegboye over land related rights violations, the Rights group affirmed what it has deep trust and confidence in the capacity of the hierarchy of the Army to entertain the comprehensive petition with a view to applying the most effective panacea to end the rights abuses. HURIWA stated that it is aware of many steps adopted by the Civil military relations Department of the Nigerian Army in the Army headquarters to improve the respect of the Human Rights of all Nigerians in all internal military operations that are legitimate and done based on public interest.

HURIWA, in a statement to the media by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said the recent revocation of a land title allegedly connected with illegal establishment of private housing estate in Enugu by the governor has indeed served the public interest of the natives who have persistently alleged deprivation of their access to their land.

HURIWA stated as follows: “We have just been informed about a letter dated November 27th 2019 issued under the Land Use Act, with specific reference to Article 1028 titled: “Notice Of Revocation Of Allocation Of 1097 Hectares Of Obeagu/Amechi Awkunawnaw Land, Enugu With Building Certificate Of Occupancy Registered As No. 20/20/1622 In The Lands Registry, Enugu,” and reportedly endorsed by Victor Chukwuemeka Nnam, the Commissioner of Lands and Urban Development Enugu state and addressed to Private Estate International West Africa and other members of the public who may have genuine interests in the above mentioned plot of land in which the Enugu state government stated thus: “Notice is hereby given to you who have or may still have genuine interests in 1097 Hectares of Obeagu/Amechi Awkunawnaw Land, Enugu that the allocation of the said 1097 Hectares of Obeagu/Amechi Awkunawnaw Land, Enugu registered as No. 20/20/1622 has been revoked for breach of covenant and conditions under section 28(5)(a) and (b) of the Land Use Act of 1976.”

HURIWA has therefore challenged the Enugu State government to ensure that nothing will stand in the way of the government's plans to industrialize Enugu State and create enabling environment for economic productivity and profitability by both the citizens and the state government.