Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has carpeted the Department of State Services (DSS) for its abysmal failures to pre-emptively prevent the horrendous attacks and killings of farmers and villagers by suspected armed Fulani terrorists but often engages in raising unnecessary and politically tainted alarms as soon as the victims have raised their objections to these horrific killings by terrorists masquerading as armed Fulani herdsmen.
HURIWA reacted against the backdrops of the recent alarm raised by the Department of State Services in which the secret police apparently accused some unnamed governors of North Central and North Eastern States of attempting to causing inter Ethnic violence in the unlisted states just as the Department of State Services apparently warned citizens angered by the unrelenting and unending fuel and electricity power scarcity as a result of governmental ineptitude and crass corruption by federal government officials not to publicly stage demonstrations against these acts of governmental failures.
HURIWA however thinks that the Department of State Services was being clever by half by raising this specific alarm that some governors in the North Central, South South and North East states are plotting to create anarchy. It is laughable that the same Federal security agency maintained conspiratorial silence on the massive and coordinated violent attacks against some states across the country. Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna and Benue State have been badly hit by waves of banditry and terrorist acts. Benue has been particularly over ran by armed Fulani herdsmen in the recent times with more than 17 local government areas been worse hit by the terrorists. Yet, the secret police spoke up only when the government and people of the victims of terrorism of armed Fulani herdsmen have spoken out against the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the killings. For instance, Benue State says they have justifiably being pushed to the walls and their women, children and the aged are massively being killed and that they have no other option but to activate their constitutionally permitted remedy of SELF DEFENCE. Only then, the DSS came up with this conspiracy theory of plans to destabilise Nigeria. HURIWA condemns this conspiratorial silence and the wilful inaction of all the security agencies to stop the continuous killings of Benue and Southern Kaduna farmers.
HURIWA in a statement read out at a Press conference in Abuja and endorsed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko recalled that worried by sustained attacks and killings of citizens of the state by militia herdsmen, Governor Samuel Ortom was compelled to declare that henceforth, decisive actions will be taken against the invaders.
Governor Ortom who made the declaration Monday, March 14th, 2022 at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi during a press conference on the state of the nation hinted that Benue will no longer talk about the number of people killed by the invading militia herdsmen but confront them through community efforts in collaboration with conventional security agents.
“In the last two weeks, more than 20 people have been killed by Fulani terrorists in unprovoked attacks in Guma, Logo and Gwer West, Agatu” which he said had given rise to “the growing number of IDPs in Benue. As I speak, more than 1.5million people are still living in poor shanties as shelter. They have no where to go to.”
He maintained that it is time for “the Federal Government to act fast before they push the citizenry into taking the risk of protecting themselves from these terrorists,” Governor Ortom stated.
Governor Ortom lamented the inability of the federal government to redeem its pledge, more than three years after Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo promised the sum of N10 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction of ancestral homes of farmers destroyed by militia herdsmen in that state. Till date, nothing has been sent to the state.
Governor Ortom had also accused the Federal Government of nepotism said “Borno State and the North East have continued to receive tons of relief in cash and materials from the Federal Ministry of humanitarian Services and International donor agencies.
Hear him, “just recently, Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo gave marching orders to a committee for the North East. What is the sin of Benue IDPs?” All of these have not been countered with facts by relevant agencies.
HURIWA further accused the Department of State Services of working against constitutional democracy by threatening to stop the citizens’ exercise of their rights to civil protests and wondered what else the DSS want Nigerians to do if the President consistently manifests a clear failure of governance and shows crass incompetence in handling the affairs of the State. HURIWA stated that Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution and a plethora of international human rights treaties, conventions and statutes have clearly allowed the citizens of Nigeria to assemble freely and peacefully to agitate for good governance just as HURIWA pointed to the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS and the INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS which are domesticated as local laws in Nigeria as the legal permission for any sort of peaceful protests in Nigeria.
HURIWA wonders whether the vocal support of the Rivers State’s Governor Mr. Nyesom Wike to the efforts by the Benue State’s Governor to speak for the interests of the good people of Benue State is now being conjectured by the DSS as a sign that Governor Wike and Governor Ortom are plotting to cause inter Ethnic violence when in actual facts, these two are asking that the killings by armed Fulani terrorists and other banditry activities going on in the country be stopped and the perpetrators arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned on accordance with the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
HURIWA recalled that not long ago, the Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike said he will continue to stand with the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom because he hates the injustice meted against the state because of the Governor’s principled position in defence of his people.
Governor Wike spoke Saturday, January 1st, 2022 in Makurdi when he paid a new year visit to Governor Samuel Ortom at his private residence in Judges Quarters.
The Rivers State Governor who was answering questions from journalists, condemned sustained killings in Benue by terrorist herdsmen.
He reasoned that even if the Federal Government does not like the Governor, they should support him because the people of the state voted for the president.
Wike was particularly angry at how Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs in Benue are not taken care of by the Federal Government as those in the North East and other states.
He recalled that Benue people also voted for President Buhari and so deserve his care and protection.
Wike recalled how Governor Ortom counselled him on how to handle crises in the PDP in Rivers State so as not to destroy it, pointing out that, “that is what I followed. And so you are a good man who gives good advice.”
While pledging the continued support of his administration to the government and people of Benue State, Governor Wike also acknowledged the confidence of the wife of the Benue State Governor, Dr Mrs Eunice Ortom in the relationship he shares with her husband.
HURIWA said the impression that some governors in the country are plotting against the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration does not arise because the killing sprees have spread to all segments of the Country with devastating consequences and therefore wonders why any security agency will selectively profile any one or few Governors for asking that the violence in their States be stopped or for supporting the call for swift action to stop the expanding frontiers of terrorism in Nigeria.
Can the DSS also accuse the governors of plotting the crises in the oil sector? What of the ingoing ASUU strike which has crippled our university education? What the DSS say about the rising cost of food prices? Are all these caused by these unnamed governors?
Only on March 20, 2022 the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that returned to Imo State recently was shattered on Saturday, March 19th, 2022 when gunmen razed the country home of the President General (PG) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor, and Umuguma Police Headquarters in Oru East and Owerri West local government areas respectively.
On March 20, 2022 gunmen attacked and razed the Divisional Police Headquarters in Omuma community, Oru east Local government Area of Imo State.
The attack comes less than 24 hours after an attack on the country home of Professor George Obiozor and the Divisional Police Headquarters in Umuguma community.
Eyewitnesses said two police constabularies on duty were killed during the attack on the Police headquarters even though the police spokesperson in the state, Michael Abattam, a CSP, denied it.
On 16 March 2022 daredevil gunmen killed four policemen and seven civilians in Gafara village, Ngasky Local Council of Kebbi State, barely seven days after the Zuru attack that claimed the lives of over 17 security operatives attached to the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State who were over ran by over 500 bandits who took over a tomato company, GB Foods, in the area.
The Police Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in Kebbi, Nafiu Abubakar, confirmed the report.
On March 20, 2022 one Fwangshak Plang, a step-brother of the Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Plateau State Governor, Diket Plang was assassinated in Pankshin Local Government Area of the State. The assailants who were suspected to be kidnappers, invaded Takas village, shot and wounded late Plang, leading to his death.
The other day, a Divisional Police officer in Niger State was killed by terrorists who have made life a living hell for indigenes of Niger State operating within the North West and the North Central.
So how does the DSS expect everyone to simply shut up and allow terrorists destroy the lives and property of the citizens when section 14 (2) (b) states that the Primary duty of government is to protect lives and property of citizens?
HURIWA therefore expressed disappointment that the security agencies that ought to protect the citizens are standing by and do nothing as the actual acts of terrorism happen but would quickly sprint up to issue baseless media statement trying to demonise public office holders in states the authorities seems to be at frown at their outspoken nature.
Let the DSS and other security agencies move swiftly and end the growing insecurity that is sweeping across the country rather than raise false alarms against perceived enemies of the federal government.
Thank you all for listening.
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
21st March, 2022.