HURIWA WRITES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, WANTS HOUSES FOR FALLEN HEROES

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The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has appealed to the hierarchy of the National Assembly to pass a legislation bringing into being a NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND FOR FALLEN HEROES so members of the immediate and direct members of the families of soldiers killed fighting terrorists can be adequately housed and their Children sponsored educationally up to University level.

In a media Statement confirming the development, the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said it has become imperative that the welfare and wellbeing of our brave soldiers killed whilst defending us and keeping Nigeria safe from being overrun by armed terrorists are not forgotten but that their memories are honored and rewarded through providing beneficial palliatives to the children and wives left behind by these heroic combatants killed in the line of duty.  

The letter was sent to the Senate President Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila. 

The letter titled: “KINDLY PREVAIL ON PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI (GCFR) TO BUILD HOUSES FOR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OF FALLEN HEROES OF THE NIGERIAN MILITARY”, reads as follows:

“On behalf of our well over eight thousand registered members and millions of patriotic Nigerians, we write you this letter to pray you and your members to legislate as quickly as possible the reward by Nigeria to all the immediate families of our military combatants killed by terrorists and hoodlums in the line of duty whilst defending each and every one of us from the murderous attempts of armed terrorists to destroy the country.

As members of the human rights community, we have watched as both the federal House and the senate have concentrated her energies negatively playing the politics of seeking the dismissal of the service chiefs as if that is the magic wand needed to defeat terrorists. We have also watched with disappointment as some of your members have chosen to become public advocates of terrorists in the guise of seeking to set up a commission for the so-called repentant terrorists. This is very absurd, very illegal and so outlandish. We urge you to throw that proposed bill into the dustbin of history where it rightly belongs. We making up the prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has warned that the proposed bill to legislate the outright pardon of armed terrorists under the guise of deradicalization programme could result in civil war either in the short, medium or long term. The bill is sponsored by Ibrahim Geudam of Yobe East Senatorial District and was read for the first time on the floor of the Senate. The bill seeks the establishment of an agency that would ensure the REHABILITATION, DERADICALISTION; and REINTEGRATION of the so-called repentant terrorists in Nigeria. But HURIWA has warned that the bill is unconstitutional and offends all relevant anti-terrorism Laws of the federation.

Let us from the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) caution the section of the National legislators who are actively conniving with armed terrorists to introduce a satanic legislation that will overlook the mindboggling crimes of genocides committed by terrorists and the killings of over 30,000 innocent Nigerians in the last ten years with the view to appease terrorists even when the victims of terrorism are scattered in different internally displaced people camps in Nigeria and are external refugees in so many nearby Countries.

HURIWA has categorically warned thus: “If this bill to legalize the freeing of arrested terror suspects under any guise succeeds, then the nation should be prepared for the consequences of their unconstitutional action because the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the terrorists attacks in the last decade will definitely not fold their hands whilst those who killed their loved ones are pardoned through roguish means by the passage of this criminally minded bill that is meant to legalize belonging to terror cells and participating in mass murders.”

This bill before the senate is not only satanic and unconstitutional, but will paint the picture of a rogue nation because in all civilizations, those who declare war against innocent citizens and participate in genocide are rounded up and prosecuted and made to face the full weight of the law. History is replete with a plethora of trials of persons who have joined terror gangs and carried out mass killings. The plot by the National Assembly to therefore permit the wanton defecation of the constitution of Nigeria by forgiving mass murderers must never be allowed to succeed,” HURIWA affirms.

In the statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf the Rights group said that: “The government must engage in a law based war by enforcing anti-terrorism laws. Section 1A (4) of the TPA (as amended) empowers “the law enforcement agencies” to “enforce all laws and regulations on counter–terrorism in Nigeria”. Prior to the TPA, Section 46 of the EFCC Act 2004 defines “terrorism” to mean a violation of the Criminal Code or the Penal Code and with likelihood of endangering life, integrity or freedom, or causing serious injury or death with the intent to force the person(s) or body or government to do or not to do certain things or disrupt and includes financing or aiding terrorism. The punishment for the crime by Section 15 of the EFCC Act is imprisonment for life.”

“Section 1(3) of the TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT (TPA) (as amended) defines an ‘act of terrorism’ as that deliberately done with malice aforethought and which may seriously harm or damage a country or an international organization. Any act also amounts to terrorism when it is done deliberately with malice aforethought and intended to unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act. A terrorist act is committed when done with the requisite intent; it seriously destabilizes or destroys the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structure of a country or international organization by intimidation or coercion. It also amounts to a terrorist act where it involves an attack upon a person’s life that possibly results in serious bodily harm or death. Intimidating or coercing a government or international organization is a terrorist act where it involves or causes: the kidnapping of a person, or destruction of a government public facility, or private property etc. This is particularly so where the act is likely to endanger human life or result in major economic loss. By section 2 (b) (I), which defines terrorism as acts done to unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act the definition of terrorism is confined to non-state actors thereby excluding state terrorism from the ambit of its definition. There is an omnibus provision which criminalizes and treats as terrorist act ‘any act or omission’ in or outside Nigeria which constitutes an offence within the scope of a counter-terrorism protocols and conventions duly ratified by Nigeria”

HURIWA has also stated that even before the Senate came up with this bad piece of proposed legislation to pardon terrorists, It is difficult to dismiss the general notion that the Nigerian State has not shown political will and commitment to the war on terror.  “It seems that not only have the real brains behind it not been prosecuted but are also being shielded. An ideology based crime does not end with the incarceration of the “foot soldiers”. Unfortunately usual extra judicial killing of high profile suspects suggests a pattern of cover up.  Both Mohammed Yusuf and Alhaji Buji Foi, Boko Haram leader and the financier respectively, suffered the same fate while in police custody.”

“Closely related is the manner of enforcement of the law on the subject; enforcement must be within the arm bit of general sense of legality. This implies that government should be conducted within the framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict discretionary power as opposed to the uncertain and crooked cord of discretion as held by the Court in the cases of Miscellaneous Offences Tribunals v. Okoroafor (2001) 10 NWLR (Pt. 745) P. 310 and All Nigerian Peoples Party v. Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (2006) 11 NWLR (Pt. 992) p. 597. “

“In the English case of Arthur Yates & Co. Pty. Ltd. v. Vegetable Seeds Committee9, Herring C.J held thus in this regard:

“It is not the English view of the law that whatever is officially done is law … On the contrary, the principle of English law is that what is done officially must be done in accordance with the law.”

HURIWA argued further that: “Nations which have achieved stability and national security are those which have elevated law above political, religious, ethnic sentiments. The present federal government must be compelled to advocate national security on the basis of respect of not only individual rights but also the rule of law but definitely not the appeasement of terrorists.”

However, we want you in the National Assembly to concentrate your POSITIVE energies towards working out palliatives for the surviving members of our brave combatants. We must admit that the current Army chief has elevated the welfare of these fallen heroes to the pedestal of excellence and has consistently paid out supporting funds to these families. But we think the fallen heroes deserve much more than what they are getting at the moment.

It is a fact that the surviving immediate families of these fallen heroes from the war on terror, are often not able to find good housing assets to live in if some of them are asked to vacate their official quarters in the barracks.

We propose that Nigeria should create a special Trust Fund to build six bedroom bungalows in any town of their choice for the legitimate surviving immediate families of the fallen heroes.

We urge you to look at page 9 of today’s Nigerian Pilot to see the emotional photo showing the little boy Master Obinna Akataobi and his mother Mrs. Stella Akataobi left behind by their breadwinner who was killed by terrorists whilst he fought bravely to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. That photo says the Chief of Army staff through the Deputy Director of Welfare department Brigadier General Isa Abdullahi issued a cheque to this family of one of our fallen heroes.

Once more, we urge the National Assembly to applaud the Chief of Army staff for this show of good leadership and also to follow up by establishing a functional and transparently administered SPECIAL BUILDING PROJECT TRUST FUND for fallen heroes so each member of the military who dies defending us will have a house whereby his immediate family can call their home.

Sir, in addition to that, may we pray that the Federal government should pay upfront all educational expenses up to university level of the children of all the fallen heroes.

These incentives are necessary to reward these great people for their supreme sacrifices.”

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