Why We Challenged Garba Shehu to Travel to Zamfara From Abuja and Lagos From Abuja By Road Without Escorts-: HURIWA

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Following a claim by the media spokesman Garba Shehu that his boss President Muhammadu Buhari deserves credit for his efforts in tackling security issues in Nigeria, he has been challenged to embark on road trips without security details from Abuja to Zamfara and Katsina and from Abuja to Lagos. 

The trips, according to the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) should either happen or the Presidential aide should cover his face in shame for talking down on the hundreds of innocent citizens wasted on Nigerian roads especially in the North West by Fulani terrorists in the last 6 years.

HURIWA disclosed that the Nigerian leader’s senior special assistant made this claim on Friday, November 26, while presenting a paper at the tenth year anniversary of Federal University Dutsin Ma (FUDMA) in Katsina state and  according to him, the Buhari administration is the only government that has provided a workable solution to herder-farmer crisis

HURIWA recalled that GARBA Shehu while presenting a paper, tagged ‘Fake news: Challenges of information management’, stated that it’s incorrect to assert that the government has or is not doing anything to address insecurity. According to him, the current administration led by Buhari is the only government of Nigeria since independence that has put forward a working solution to the herder-farmer challenges.

The Rights group said the spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari lacks decorum and respect for the memories of those hapless and innocent citizens whose lives were deliberately taken away by different armed non state actors including but not limited to the rampaging armed Fulani terrorists who have continued to escalate their terrorism and are unleashing unprecedented violence and bloodshed in parts of Plateau and Southern Kaduna State even as we write. 

HURIWA said it defies logic and commonsense to think that one of the key spokesmen of President Muhammadu Buhari could be this insensitive and reckless to utter such words that insecurity has been brought to a manageable level when in actual fact the nearly 60 worshippers of Alheri Baptist Church in Kaduna kidnapped and ferried into the lawless Kaduna forests are still being held hostage and indeed the hostage takers and Fulani terrorists have just reportedly demanded over N88 million cash as ransom before these innocent citizens whose lives were jeopardized by the crass inability of the President to take effective measures to combat terrorists, would be freed in this 21 St century World and yet Garba Shehu the spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari is making such a recklessly and senseless statement.

However,  it would appear that Mr. Garba Shehu is mistaken our challenge made out of altruism and patriotism to mean that we had ‘betted’ out (like NairaBet) or fixed some amount of money to be paid to him should he take up our challenge. We made our challenge based on empirical evidence that insecurity is still rife and that unless killers are brought to trial and published which is not the case now, we can’t say that government is successful with the fight against mass killings.  Mr. Garba Shehu had called us on the phone to accept the challenge on the condition that within 48 hours we should bring our lawyer so his lawyer sign agreements that something untoward won’t be orchestrated whilst he embarked on the journey in line with our challenge. However,  a Senior Advocate of Nigeria advised that we turn down the request because it is not necessary to sign an undertaken before someone travels and since he Garba Shehu had stated that security has improved dramatically,  all that he needed to do was to accept our challenge and the travel and show evidence that he actually did road travel without security details. He has to do it with credible television stations that should also be brave enough to cover it since they reported him saying that security has improved. 

Secondly, we believe that part of the reason for insecurity is the ways and manners that some ministers are undermining the RULE OF LAW and are abusing their public offices by influencing the President not to confront human rights abusers in the Army and Police. The ministers of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed and that of State for Labour are the two principal officers of this government whose media appearances and comments are undermining the dispensation of justice especially the redress of the monumental human rights abuses by Army and Police as found out by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the #ENDSARS PROTESTS and the massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20th 2020. Lai Mohammed stridently claimed that there was no evidence of any massacre even when the panel reported otherwise and the minister of Labour is now saying that the panel is illegal. 

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had described the panel the Lagos State Government set up to probe police brutality as…

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has described the panel the Lagos State Government set up to probe police brutality as illegal.

The National Economic Council (NEC) had in the wake of violent EndSARS protests against police brutality of 2020, directed states to constitute Judicial Panels of Inquiry to investigate complaints against the Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) and other police units.

A total of 28 states had set up panels, which submitted their reports to the governors.

However, trouble started after the Lagos panel submitted its report, which was eventually leaked.

In the report, the panel indicted the military and the state government while it declared that 11 people lost their lives at Lekki tollgate.

It also recommended the prosecution of soldiers and some policemen.

The Federal Government had earlier dismissed the report as fake, insisting that it was “tales by moonlight”.

When he appeared on a live programme of Channels TV, Keyamo said the panel lacks the locus standi to probe the military and the police by virtue of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He added that only the Federal Government can investigate the military and police.

These contradictions by these two ministers are directly detrimental to national security because what they stand to be saying is that extrajudicial killings of citizens should continue and that the effort made by the panels set up at the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari are of no moment meaning that they even rubbished the National Exco meeting and NEC meeting of the President and his cabinet which had authorized the setting up of these panels all across Nigeria.  These two ministers are enemies of human rights and they constitute grave dangers to national security because President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was right to have authorized the constitution of the #EndSARS protests panels of investigation in line with the constitutional  powers of the President and the fact that the PEOPLE OF NIGERIA ARE THE OWNERS OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF NIGERIA. MOREOVER BY LAW THE MILITARY AND POLICE ARE NOT ABOVE THE STATUTES AND THE CRIMINAL CODES IN APPLICATION ACROSS NIGERIA BECAUSE THEY ARE SUBJECT TO THE LAW JUST LIKE EVERY CITIZEN AND ARE ALSO TO FAVE MILITARY COURT MARSHALL IN ADDITION.

Nigeria 1999 Constitutional as Amended: Section 1 (1) stated thus: This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

4(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation: (a) shall be vested in the President and may subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him either directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation; and (b)shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has, for the time being, power to make laws.

14 (1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice. (2)  It is hereby, accordingly, declared that: (a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority; (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and 

218(1) the powers of the President as the Commissioner-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include power to determine the operational use of the armed forces of the Federation. (2)  The powers conferred on the President by subsection (1) of this section shall include power to appoint the Chief of Defence staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and heads of any other branches of the armed forces of the Federation as may be established by an Act of the National Assembly. (3)  The President may, by directions in writing and subject to such conditions as he think fit, delegate to any member of the armed forces of the Federation his powers relating to the operational use of the Armed Forces of the Federation.

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO: NATIONAL COORDINATOR

HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)

29TH NOVEMBER 2021

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