A Prominent Non Governmental organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has carpeted the Presidency for rejecting the well thought out counsels from the international community urging President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse with immediate effect his unconstitutional and illegal overthrow of the hierarchy of the Judiciary. HURIWA dismissed the reaction of the Buhari’s administration to the statements from international community as empty arrogance of a dictator.
HURIWA has also asked the global leaders like the United States of America; United Kingdom; Canada; France; Germany and Australia to immediately slam diplomatic sanctions including travel bans on President Muhammadu Buhari and his top officials until the Nigerian government demonstrates transparent willingness to allow for the free; fair, transparent and peaceful conduct by an independent electoral arbiter of the February 16th Presidential election and the subsequent sub- national and national polls in March. HURIWA accused President Muhammadu Buhari of hijacking the Independent National Electoral Commission by supplanting his niece Mrs Amina Zakari to charge of the collation of results of the Presidential poll in which her Uncle President Muhammadu Buhari is a candidate of the All Progressives Congress just as the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has dethroned the legally constituted head of the Nigerian judiciary and supplanted an acting Chief Justice whose wife is reportedly and allegedly a Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bauchi State which incidentally is the state of origin of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Mahmood Yakubu who appears too weak to assert the autonomy of the electoral commission and resist the mounting pressure from the incumbent to manipulate the electoral process to favour the All Progressives Congress.
HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf condemned the Nigerian Presidency for the irrational, Illogical; unsound and unbridled response it gave to the International community in the wake of the series of public diplomatic statements from the USA; UK and European union expressing grave concerns that the illegal removal of the substantive Chief justice of Nigeria Mr Justice Walter Onnoghen and his replacement by a Presidency’s handpicked replacement Tanko Mohammed only few days to the polls would undermine the credibility of the forthcoming elections.
HURIWA faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for asking that the international community not to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs just as HURIWA stated that the electoral commission which will conduct the elections- Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is receiving funding and technical assistance from those nations and since Nigeria is not an island given that it is a member of several international organisations such as the United Nations and the African Union amongst many others in which the Country subscribes to several global treaties and conventions to protect and promote democracy and defend human rights, the Nigerian Presidency must keep to those values or expect international scrutiny including severe sanctions targeting government officials should the government deliberately deviates from those international legally binding obligations. HURIWA urges the World leaders to maintain the tempo of international pressure so President Muhammadu Buhari does not undermine democracy, destabilise the Country and create spectacular refugee crisis for Africa because if the election is rigged the Country might witness cocktails of violence that may spiral out of control.
HURIWA recalled that the presidency had reacted to the position of both the United States of America and the European Union on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen just as the Rights group recalled that a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, noted that as much as Nigeria welcomes prevailing interests and partnerships for successful 2019 general elections, the government would not condone unfair interference in matters that are wholly internal.
HURIWA recalled vividly that as a consequence of the groundswell of controversies generated by the suspension of Mr Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday and the appointment of a successor in an acting capacity, the United States and the EU issued statements advising the government to retrace her steps.
HURIWA recalled too that prior to the latest statements on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the U.S. and the UK had earlier on Thursday threatened to ban from entering their countries any Nigerian found guilty of instigating violence during the election or anyone engaging in rigging the process.
Buhari however through his spokesman stated thus: “Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,”
Presidency also stated that: “Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections”.
HURIWA however lambasted the Presidency for failing to listen to the voices of reason from the international community just as the Rights group asked the global leaders to impose diplomatic sanctions such as comprehensive travel ban on President Muhammadu Buhari and his close officials until he restores Justice Onnoghen to his position and show evidence of his willingness to stop his serial undermining of the democratic authorities and independence of the legislature and the judiciary and halt the serial abuse of power by his government.