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Faults police over Lekki toll gate saga

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigerians (HURIWA) on Saturday called for the arrest of Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed for openly backing herders carrying AK47.HURIWA said the police and the Department of State Services (DSS) as a matter of urgency arrest the governor instead of clampdown and arresting protesters at the controversial Lekki toll gate.The group accused the Federal Government of: “double standards and gross violations of human rights of protesting citizens who are law-abiding and peaceful threatens constitutional democracy.”HURIWA compares the current administration’s attacks of peaceful protesters in the Lekki toll gate and in almost the entire peaceful marches by citizens for the last 6 years to the military junta in Myanmar.It said the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is increasingly becoming: “dictatorial and totalitarian which goes against the Nigerian Constitution upon which basis they were elected democratically by Nigerians who are the owners of the sovereignty of Nigeria and only donated the legitimacy to the administration to exercise authority within the bounds of the Constitution.”HURIWA said the public demonstrations are democratic ways of passing on information of existing grievances to the elected leaders, adding that any attempt to suppress democratic freedoms of exoression and peaceful Assembly is a Coup against democracy and the Constitution.In a statement issued by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the crackdown on peaceful protesters in Lekki toll gate on Saturday is a grave affront to the core principles and values of constitutionalism and democracy.HURIWA warned that the action of the Lagos State police command could motivate activists from across the Country to pour out on the streets to carry out solidarity march.It said the action of the Police by arresting citizens turning out for peaceful demonstration is a violation of chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended with particular reference to the provisions safeguarding the fundamental human rights of Citizens which are universal and inalienable.HURIWA said the: “brutal arrests of these activists by the police under the command and control of Mohammed Adamu who is occupying the office of the Inspector General of police illegally after he has gone past his disengagement period in line with the extant police Act of 2020, is an action that offends all known international human rights conventions, treaties endorsed by the Nigerian State and domesticated by the municipal law and the Grund Norm of Nigeria even as the group threatened to petition global leaders including President Joe Biden of the United States of America”.The group affirmed also that section 39 of the Constitution on the other hand provides that: “(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.HURIWA asserts that section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides thus: “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that Commission does not accord recognition.”It said the Nigerian Police Force not being a law making body under section 4 of the Constitution has no authority or legal powers to stop the exercise of these protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens which in any event can not even be legislated against except and unless otherwise decided by the competent Court of law in line with section 6 or during periods of national emergency declared so by the legislative process.On the call for the arrest of Bauchi governor, HURIWA recalled that the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas, had directed all their party supporters in the state to reserve their weapons against 2023 elections to attack anyone that attempts to rig elections there and then.The statement reads: “HURIWA expressed shock and consternation at the conspiratorial and loud silence of the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of States Services and their failure to arrest this politician who is clearly instigating anarchy, chaos and violence against political opposition members in Kano state.“We are living witnesses to the constant harassment of the economist and erstwhile Deputy Governor of Central bank of Nigeria Dr. Mailafiya Obadiah by the DSS and Police over his disclosure that a state governor in the North is a terror mastermind but the Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed supported the terror actions of armed Fulani herdsmen but the security forces have gone deaf and dumb and to compound, the entire scenario of shame from Kano the APC state Chairman called on the supporters to decisively deal with any person or group of persons that will attempt to embark on any form of electoral rigging on election day come 2023.“Relatedly, HURIWA recalled that the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, had said Fulani herders carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked by cattle rustlers. He slammed his counterpart in Benue State, Samuel Ortom, over his handling of the farmer-herder clashes which had led to the loss of lives. Mohammed spoke at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bauchi State Council on Thursday at the Command Guest House.“DSS and the Nigerian Police Force must go after the Bauchi state governor because section 302 which gives him immunity did not authorise him to openly back terrorists known as armed Fulani herdsmen just as the Rights group said the Chairman of APC in Kano has committed high treason by supporting armed struggle by political thugs against political opposition members but the Police have rather turned their attention to peaceful protesters in Lekki toll gate.”HURIWA demand the immediate release of all the arrested protesters, adding that what they did is legitimate, constitutional and lawful.

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