*Names Katsina, Abia and Kaduna State governors as persons most intolerant of divergent opinions:
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as unprecedented suffocation and suppression, the dimension of whittling down and the systematic oppression of alternative views and freedoms of Expression generally in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari just as the Rights group said there was the need for the International community to step up the campaign globally to stop the forced disappearances and arbitrary incarceration of Nigerians only because they hold different views from those of President Muhammadu Buhari and some dictatorial governors.
“HURIWA regrets to hereby state that since the last five years, the current administration has turned Nigeria into a big prison yard with all sorts of arbitrariness, extrajudicial executions of persons by security forces and the clamp down on political views that are diametrically opposed to those of the powers that be. It is sad that many critics and journalists have disappeared and or arrested and detained by security forces for years WITHOUT fair trials.”
HURIWA has listed Katsina, Abia, Kano and Kaduna States as places whereby Nigerians with divergent political or religious beliefs and views from those of the establishments have had their fundamental freedoms crushed through unwarranted physical attacks and arbitrary detention just as the Rights group said the case of Abia State is uniquely unfortunate given that both the police and the office of the state attorney general have become torture chambers somewhat psychologically and these offices are deployed illegally to witch-hunt persons who hold different opinions from those of Governor of Abia state. HURIWA has also asked the Abia State chief judge to stop the abuses of the judicial process in the persecution of Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna who has been in an illegal detention after he was arrested by the police on the orders of the governor since over a Month and intentionally dragged before a magistrate that lacks the jurisdiction.
HURIWA lamented too that in Kaduna State one Bala Mubarak an Atheist was arrested by the police only because he left the Islamic religion to embrace Atheism just as the Rights group said there are concerns raised that the said Mr. Bala Mubarak may be handed over to the governor of Kano State whereby he might be subjected to a trial by the Islamic Sharia Court- a forum that will inevitably not guarantee hin fair trial since he has since left the Islamic religion and moved from his state of birth of Kano and relocated to the former Northern regional capital of Kaduna. The Rights group said critics of the Kaduna state governor Nassir Elruffai such as Steven Kefas spent months at the Kaduna prisons just as the erstwhile Governing board chairman of the National Human Rights commission Professor Chidi Odinkalu is being persecuted for objectively highlighting the mass killings in Southern Kaduna by armed Fulani herdsmen.
HURIWA in a media Statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf said that democracy in Nigeria is bleeding under the suffocating oppression of dictators at both the National and subnational levels just as the Rights group has asked the Abia State governor Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu to order the release of his critic and an Aba based Legal practitioner Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna who has since been clamped into prison detention after he was arrested by the immediate past police commissioner Mr. Okon Ene on some framed up charges of cyber bullying the Abia State governor.
“HURIWA is aware that the former Abia State police commissioner conspired with the Abia State governor to arrest the Lawyer Mr. EMPERO GABRIEL OGBONNA and framed up the charges that the Lawyer EMPERO GABRIEL OGBONNA and others now at large within the 18th – 19th day of March, 2020 at 118 Market Road, Aba in the Aba North Magisterial District conspired among themselves to commit a felony to wit: an act of cyber terrorism and thereby committed an offence Punishable under Section 27(1)(a) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention ETC) Act, 2015.
HURIWA is also aware that the count two of the charge filed before the Magistrate Court in Umuhia who ended up throwing away the matter because of the obvious fact that he lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charges, the police commissioner alleged that the lawyer and a critic of the Abia State governor EMPERO GABRIEL OGBONNA and others now at large, had on the aforementioned date and place in the aforesaid Magisterial District knowingly and intentionally published false and threat messages to internet that the Executive Governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu swore an Oath before the Ancient HARASHIMA (A Hindu god) to abide absolutely by conditions presented by his predecessor in office and subvert the people of Abia state, that he also signed a document between the former Governor of Abia state, Senator T. A. Orji, his son Hon. Chinedum Orji that the spirits they worship should deal with him if he fails in his undertaking, a publication he knows to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred and ill-will against Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 18(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition Prevention ETC) Act, 2015.”
HURIWA has also accused the governor of Abia state of abuse of power by reportedly ordering the re-arrest of the critic barely hours after he was freed from a Month-long detention at the Umuahia prisons.
HURIWA stated that it is absolutely condemnable that the immediate past commissioner of police in Abia state intentionally and knowingly planned to arbitrarily prolong the detention of the staunch critic of the police commissioner’s paymaster the Abia state governor by dragging the matter to a legal forum that has no jurisdiction to entertain his badly framed CHARGES even as the Rights group said the virtually one Month continuous detention of the lawyer by the Abia State governor through the Abia State police commissioner is totally reprehensible, disgraceful and a wanton violations of the Constitutionally guaranteed Human Rights of Barrister Emperor Gabriel Ogbonna.
HURIWA says whilst it condemns the illegal detention of the critic and lawyer by the Abia State police commissioner on behalf of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is challenging the Abia state governor to release the lawyer or to properly charge him in the competent court of law so he can be guaranteed fair hearing under the fundamental RIGHTS provisions enshrined in the chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Rights group said under section 36(5) of the Nigerian constitution the detainee is absolutely innocent before the law until proven guilty by the competent court of law and not the courts if jesters presided over by the Abia State commissioner of police.
HURIWA expressed consternation that the wanton and arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of Nigerians with divergent political or religious beliefs and views from those of the establishments have continued unabated all over the Country even as the Rights group said the action of the Katsina state governor who ordered the police to arrest a 70 year old citizen and two others for insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and the Katsina state governor shows a progressive deterioration of the respect for the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
HURIWA recalled that the Katsina State police command last week said it has arrested three persons over a viral video on social media allegedly insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governor, Aminu Masari just as those arrested are; a 70-year-old man, Lawal Abdullahi Izala; Bahajaje Abu and Hamza Abubakar all of Gafai Quarters, in Katsina metropolis.
HURIWA recalled that the spokesman of the state police command, SP Gambo Isah, said the attention of the Katsina State police command was drawn to the viral video on social media, showing one Lawal Abdullahi, alias “IZALA” insulting President Buhari and governor Masari.
HURIWA has therefore condemned the persistent illegal pattern of the government officials to resort to self help measures against critics of government officials just as the Rights group said the police has surely started abusing their powers by rushing up nebulous charges which they hurriedly attribute to the Cybercrime prevention Act of 2015 just so they can clamp down on opposition voices or persons with independent opinions.
HURIWA whilst canvassing the release of the three Katsina persons arrested for insulting President Muhammadu Buhari and the governor has stated that it is shameful that a government that claims to have been democratically elected to now become a fully fledged dictatorship is absolutely condemned. “We will continue to urge World leaders to put pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop forthwith his vicious attacks against Freedoms of Expression and media freedoms.”