Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA has commended the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for promising to prosecute persons involved in the killings in Idumuje Ugboko community, in Delta North Local Government Area of Delta State.
HURIWA noted that the current administration’s intervention in the protracted human rights violations that have threatened the social fabrics of a notable agrarian community in the crude oil rich Delta State known as Idumuje-Ugboko which is approximately a trekkable distance from the political seat of power of Delta State of Asaba is generally applauded.
In a statement on Friday, signed by Emmanuel Onwubiko, its National Coordinator, HURIWA said, “The need to restore lasting peace in Idumuje Ugboko on the one hand, and on the other hand to ensure that those who approached the National Human Rights commission through us to gain a sufficient redress of their dehumanization cannot be overemphasized.
“Some of these persons have died as a consequence of the physical torture allegedly inflicted on them by some or all of those that the Central government of Nigeria has instituted a case of terror related charges for which they will be fully represented in the Court of competent jurisdiction and will have their day.
“This is what the constitution says about the court system of Nigeria in Section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.”
The group said, however, that the persons charged are still innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty by the court of law, warning that there should not be any need for the accused to entertain any fear but should have their day in court to prove their innocence or otherwise.
“Besides, the effect of this section as it relates to these Nigerians from Idumuje Ugboko community charged to court for terrorism is that they will be given fair hearing in line with section 36(5) of the Supreme law of Nigeria, and they will be afforded every opportunity in this World to contradict the terror related charges filed against them, and they have three stages to do this; that is assuming without conceding that they may lose,” HURIWA maintained.
“They now have the opportunity at the Court of first instance, the Court of Appeal and the final appellate forum which is the Supreme Court of Nigeria. So it is not as if once they are dragged before the court of first instance, that they would be denied justice and an adversarial verdict imposed on them without any right of appeal.
“Although, the term ‘terrorism’ has posed legal definition challenge, its peculiar characteristics manifest in motive founded on ideology, identifiable by signature violence and targets primarily intended to compel compliance. Hence, those terrorized in Idumuju Ugboko were seen as ideological enemies of those allegedly inflicting these physical harms.
“All over the world, civilized people expect governments at state or national level where murder is committed to do everything within its legitimate powers to unravel the cause and perpetrators of such murder and bring the culprits to justice.”