HURIWA condemns Plateau, Benue killings, backs Ortom’s call for self-defense

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), on Wednesday, condemned the killings of scores of innocent Nigerians in Plateau and Benue States, describing it as unbecoming. HURIWA also expressed consternation that the President can only issue statements and not back the rhetorics up with actionable legal sanctions strong enough to deter the killers.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also backed Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom’s umpteenth call for people of the Middle Belt to carry weapons and defend themselves against rampaging marauders who have no sanctity for human lives.

The group said the need for self-defense is pertinent in the face of the failure of the Federal Government and the security agencies led by an inactive retired major general and President, Muhammadu Buhari, to live up to its utmost constitutional responsibility of protection of lives and properties.

According to reports, more than 6,000 persons displaced due to attacks carried out by suspected terrorists in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State are currently taking refuge in markets and primary schools.

The suspected terrorists had invaded about seven communities in Kanam LGA on Sunday and shot at anyone they saw, which led to the killing of over 70 persons. Several persons were also abducted by the terrorists, who also set their houses ablaze. HURIWA says the Plateau State governor has not demonstrated any appreciable level of concern to teach the mass killers the hard lessons of their lives by making it tough and difficult for armed non State actors that have become enthusiastic killers do not find Plateau State welcoming to mass murderers. There is just nothing on the ground in Plateau State to show that the state government is angry enough to stamp off the agents of genocidal killings of the native people of Plateau State who are majorly Christians.

Recall that killer herdsmen invaded several communities in three local government areas of Benue State on Monday night and killed 25 people, including a traditional ruler. HURIWA said the killings are well Coordinated, clinically executed and sadly the killers are permitted to roam around on a killing spree.

The armed herders were said to have invaded Tse-Sumaka village in the Mbadwem Council Ward of Guma Local Government Area, killing nine people and injuring one.

Ortom, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, had stated, “It is becoming increasingly glaring everyday that my people are now endangered species and so we can no longer wait for help. My people will have to rise to the occasion to defend themselves and their heritage against the Fulani army of occupation.

“We are law-abiding citizens. We have cried for help against these invaders but nothing is forthcoming. We are left alone and it looks like it is a deliberate strategy. Now, we have only one option; to defend ourselves or be extinct. This is a case for our survival.”

Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The attacks and loss of lives in Plateau and Benue states are condemnable. The security agencies and the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari again failed Nigerians because it has consistently shy away from its major constitutional responsibility according to Section 14(2)(b) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which states, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” because according to section 17(2)(b) of the same constitution, “the sanctity of the human person shall be recognized.

“HURIWA therefore backs Governor Samuel Ortom’s call for self defense because Section 33(2)(a) makes self defence lawful when undertaken in “defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property.”

“HURIWA adds that the security challenges of the country have apparently overwhelmed the Buhari regime as said by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. The security agencies are also obviously inundated. Helpless Nigerians have no option but to rise up and defend themselves like the people of Ukraine.

“It is the responsibility of government to decisively crush terrorists and criminal gangs by strengthening the security architectures of the state and by setting up formidable armed vigilante well-trained by the Army just like the Civilian JTF of Borno State to withstand the invasions of their communities.

“The state House of Assemblies should borrow from the doctrine of necessity as was adopted by the National Assembly when Goodluck Jonathan became President in 2015 so the lives and property of citizens are safeguarded by every means possible. This measure must be adopted by states facing invasions of mass killers. This must be done with immediate effect.”

Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
April 13, 2022

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