Asking the Rivers State Chief Executive Mr. Nyesom Wike to concentrate on the arduous task of governing Rivers State and stop his garrulous criticism of immediate past Army Chief Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, the leading Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) stated that the just retired military Chiefs have given their all to the service of humanity and Nigeria just as the Rights group said Civil Rights community appreciate the efforts of the retired Army Chief in setting up viable structure for the promotion of the fundamental human rights of citizenry in all internal security operations.
HURIWA therefore faults the Jaundiced and politically tainted claims by Wike that the then Army Chief and other service Chiefs failed. HURIWA said Wike should also allow plurality of opinions in his state and stop verbally attacking litigants who institute legal proceedings to challenge some of his actions like the lawyer who challenged the constitutionality of Wike’s huge investments in modernizing the Federal court of Appeal domiciled in Port Harcourt.
“Wike is busy pointing one finger towards the direction of Buratai and other retired Military Chiefs who spent over 35 years of their very productive working life in public service to advance public good, but the remaining four fingers point right back at Nyesom Wike who is known to be highly intolerant of opposition politics and has shown arrogance toward opponents”.
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike had on Sunday said the former Service Chiefs failed to achieve much in securing Nigeria because they were fully involved in politics.
President Muhammadu Buhari last week retired the former Service Chiefs comprising Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
They were replaced with Major-General LEO Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Speaking on Channels Television programme ‘Sunday Politics’, Wike said when security is politicised as done by the outgone Service Chiefs, nothing could be achieved.
While commending President Buhari for listening to the calls of Nigerians by replacing the service chiefs, he admonished the new Service Chiefs to stay away from politics and focus on assisting the President in his task of securing the country.
“Like I said, if you do the right thing, I will commend you. If you don’t do the right thing, I will criticise you.
“Mr. President has done what every Nigerian have expected that he should have done. We are happy with what he has done but having done it, what is the next step?”
“The next step is, you that have been appointed, what is your agenda? What are your plans to make sure that security architecture is improved?”
“I have commended Mr President for listening to Nigerians. Whether anybody likes it or not, he did and we should commend him for that even though it came late”
“Now, those that he appointed, what is expected of them? Very, very serious”.
“They must understand that the challenges are enormous and so they have a lot of work to do. They should not involve themselves in politics.
“Part of the problems we had with the former service chiefs was that they were involved in politics instead of concentrating on the security of the nation.
“They were very much involved in politics. Nobody can deny that fact. The moment you politicise security, then you are bound to have problems,” Wike said.
However, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) disagrees with Nyesom Wike and affirmed that General Buratai and the other service Chiefs showed high level of decorum, decency and professionalism even as the Rights group said the service chiefs were not partisan otherwise they could have used “Crude tactics” to stop Nyesom Wike from winning the 2019 election which he won, in a landslide just as the group said as imperfect beings, the retired service chiefs had their negative sides.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) also analysed the statement the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari who alleged that “elite” were harassing his administration.
The Rights group told the President that political governance demands a high level of tolerance of divergent opinions and affirmed that politics is like operating in a very hot Kitchen in which case the person must work out how best to efficiently dispense his/her duties or quit if the heat becomes too hot in the Kitchen for him/her to cope.
“dissenting opinion defines constitutional democracy. The moment any sovereign state witnesses regime of a single narrative, it means that Constitutional democracy has died and authoritarianism and dictatorship has taken roots. The Rights group told Buhari that he is very Lucky that Nigerians are not so much “political animals” like Aristotle said citizens should be. Also the citizens have been so much impoverished, starved and can not talk due to lack of energy.
Indeed, most Nigerians are docile and this docility is the killer of constitutional democracy. The few ‘elite’ so called who are speaking out should be commended for keeping the flame of democracy and constitutionalism alive in Nigeria of 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari who assured Nigerians of full implementation of the 2021 budget, with all transparency and openness in meeting the targets, while appreciating the National Assembly for the effective and detailed attention before the passage, also accused ‘elite’ of harassing his administration.
Speaking to newsmen in Daura, after the registration and revalidation exercise of the All Progressives Congress, the President said the budget aptly captured some of the visions of the administration, and all efforts will be poured in to ensure effective implementation.
“We have directed all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to follow what is in the budget so that we can get the National Assembly to easily support the next budget. We can tell them what we have received, and how it was spent.
“We are always ready to make the balance sheet available for all Nigerians and the National Assembly. We have nothing to hide.’’
President Buhari said the administration had given more attention to agriculture in order to diversify and strengthen the economy.
HURIWA said the President is not a monarch or an Emperor that should not face criticisms saying the office of the President is such that the occupant must be willing, open and faithful to the constitution by accepting criticism going by the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in chapter 4 of the Constitution including FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
For crying out loud, WHY IS THE PRESIDENT SO SCARED OF CRITICISMS? Also why is the President using force to govern us by threatening to impose a second lockdown if COVID-19 infection rates continued to rise? The President should show us the templates of what he has done to change the trajectory of the public health system to get out of the current state of dysfunctionality. It is better to show us your work than to always issue threats from all kinds of officials. The President should blame his task force who are incompetent and only busy “shinning on television”
“If the food is not tasting fine, do not blame the eater but the cooks” Buhari should blame the incompetent PTF”.
President Buhari said through Garba Shehu thus:
To achieve this, COVID-19 task forces and committees should persuade members of the public to cooperate with the government in achieving compliance and avoid crude methods that may create resistance and resentment, thereby defeating the primary goal of the Executive Order.
The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lockdown the country and continues to emphasize the non-pharmaceutical measures and the only way to avert lockdowns is to observe these measures as put in place by the Presidential Task Force.
Nigerians have come a long way from the dreaded lockdown and the administration is unhappy about any prospects of bringing it back as many citizens will not have food on the table without venturing out on a day- to-day business.
Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep safe distance with anybody not in your household, hoping that this will help check spread of COVID-19.
Though vaccine availability is within reach, the propensity of the public for noncompliance weakens the fight against the virus.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) faulted this line of argument from the President and rather tasked the government to show Nigerians what it did with the IMF Loan of billions of dollars said to be for combating Covid-19.
On insecurity, the Rights group picked out the governors of the South East for doing nothing to protect their people just as the Rights group said the abdication of responsibility by South East governors explains why IPOB’S ESN has become popular.
The group charge the South East governors and states Houses of Assembly to legislate Eastern security Network into law so the citizens can have a sense of security. The group also urge ESN to follow the rule of law and accommodate all Nigerians who are legally exercising their duties as free citizens of Nigeria. Nobody should be expelled or harassed.
On the former Anambra State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Dr Christian Madubuko, who was allegedly abducted by gunmen and found in Abia state the group said South East must be secured.
The former commissioner was reportedly abducted few days after resigning from his job.
ON ABA INSECURITY, A CITIZEN WROTE US THUS:
Since the Issue of the Ends SARS protest, Abia State has been in a state of chaos, Abia State has become so porous when it comes to Security, the security of this state has become Abysmal, Especially in Aba, which is the commercial hub of the State, A lot of criminal activities are being carried out by set of unknown gunmen, in some cases the victims are being killed after they must have taken away their money.
The residents of Aba town are living in fear, they sleep with one eye closed and they do their businesses in great panic, sometimes these criminals go to the extent of kidnapping innocent people who they presume to be rich and demand for their ransom in millions, moving forward, they have resorted to killing POS agent operators after they must have taken their money, in most cases, the kiosk they use for their business is being vandalized, people who are in this business are beginning to shutdown gradually, because after each robbery the police do not put extra effort to find these gunmen whose activities go on in broad day light.
No corner of Aba town is safe as these criminal activities are being carried out in every axis and at each point there has never been any form of security to Savage the situation, it is getting worse because a lot of people are leaving the town for safety reasons and when they move, they move with their businesses and their families, no town prospers without proper security.
The security of the state is business killing as the police are yet to arrest any suspect.
Recall that Madubuko, whose letter of resignation was dated December 11, 2020, cited “corruption in the system” as his reason for bowing out and called on the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to “rise up and be in charge of his government”.
Dr. Madubuko had served as Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Commerce and Commissioner for Road, Rail and Water Transport.
Also, a Pos operator in Aba way killed at the weekend. In Imo, Kidnappers and assassins have had field days. The Rights group is demanding comprehensive action to stave off the evil tides. HURIWA blames the supreme court of Nigeria for denying Imo state her right to enjoy the services of the rightful governor.
1st February 2021.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.