HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) is seriously worried by the apparent general climate of fear all around the Country. We are much more bothered about the lack of political will to effectively resolve the security issues as shown by the attitudes of the President towards combating the rising wave of armed kidnapping of school Children.
We are concerned about the spate of terror attacks targeting schools and the inability of the Central government to take clean, transparent, decisive and law based steps to protect the schools.
The incapacity and unwillingness of the federal government to protect children receiving education, is the lowest phase of insecurity and terrorism which must never be allowed to fester. A NATION whose political leadership is unwilling to protect school children has lost the legitimacy to govern. This is because the Primary duty of care and protection lies with the central and subnational segments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria must now realize that it is time to DECLARE A NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY WITH A VIEW TO ENFORCING TGE COUNTER TERROR LAW. THE PHENOMENAL ABDICATION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S PRIMARY DUTY TO PROTECT THE SCHOOL CHILDREN OF NIGERIA IS A SERIOUS ABD GRAVE THREAT TO THE EXISTENCE OF NIGERIA.
The failure of government of President Muhammadu Buhari to clearly declare as terrorists, the bunch of boys wielding weapons of mass destruction and abducting school children means that there is a game plan that is being played.
But why is the government playing gamble with the lives of school children? Why are the kidnappers being pampered and appeased and in some cases there are allegations of financial inducements running to hundreds of millions of cash settlements to these armed non state actors?.
Why is President Buhari in a hurry when it comes to crushing the unarmed IPOB but is as slow as a snail when the challenge and demands of his office to crush Fulani militia in the North arises? Why the selective Justice?
Why play Russian roulettes with security?
Why was the governor of Imo State in a hurry to invite solders to disband ESN in Orlu but for a week now passengers plying the Arondizuosu/Umololo/Uga/Onitsha Federal Road are subjected to armed terrorism by suspected Fulani herdsmen and their local collaborators?
Why are the Senators from Anambra Imo, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi silent whilst the South East is under attack by suspected terrorists?
We are once more calling on the governors of the South East of Nigeria to borrow a leaf from the South West states abd set up a similar and identical outfit like Amotekun and set up armed vigilante to thwart the terror attacks against their people. THERE IS NO LEGITIMATE REASON WHY IMO STATE GOVERNMENT WILL INVITE THE ARMY TO CRUSH ESN AND NOW THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH EAST ARE EXPOSED TO ALL SORTS OF ATTACKS BY KIDNAPPERS AND TERRORISTS? IS THERE A GAME PLAN TO DESTROY THE SOUTH EAST AND WHY ARE THE YOUTHS WILLING TO DEFEND THEIR TERRITORY NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO DO SO LAWFULLY? IS IT BETTER TO CONTINUE TO WITNESS THESE TERROR ATTACKS ON ALL THE FEDERAL HIGHWAYS IN THE SOUTH EAST OF NIGERIA INSTEAD OF SETTING UP A LAW BASED ARMED VIGILANTE TO BE DRAWN FROM THE GOOD MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC SAME THAT SHOULD BE REPLICATED ALL OVER NIGERIA TO COMPLIMENT THE COMMUNITY POLICE INSTITUTIONAL PLATFORMS BEING WORKED OUT?
A Stitch in time saves nine.
HURIWA hereby also adopts the scholarly position canvassed by a U.S based female Hausa /Fulani intellectual Dr. Zainab Usman who bagged her doctorate from Oxford University whereby she stated as follows:”A total and complete breakdown of law and order in vast swathes of rural areas in Nigeria. How long till it reaches urban areas? Crime and banditry have chased farmers away their lands, health workers from hospitals, civil servants from ministries, highways are empty… Nowhere is safe. Soon there could be a food security crisis, not because of a drought or natural disaster, but because farming villages are being emptied out on a daily basis. There is a raging internal security crisis. This is existential.”
She said also that: “Immediate solutions are available but the powers that be refuse to implement them. Why? Community policing is an obvious next step. An undertrained, over-stretched and poorly remunerated police force of 300,000 cannot cater to a population of 200 million people. Recruit, equip and train at least 1,000 people per local government as community police or civil defense corps to defend their communities. This needs a whole-of-society approach to combat this security crisis. Let each state draw on its security votes and along with the federal government’s coordination jointly contribute to funding this initiative. What is so hard in that? These proposals exist. Nothing I’m writing here is new. This is not rocket science. What really is going on? Where is the C-in-C?”
“In spite of government efforts, the security situation in Nigeria is deteriorating. Indeed, the lingering conflict between herders and farmers in north-central Nigeria has been rated six times deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency. The recent abductions of schoolboys in Kankara community, Katsina State and in Niger State are more examples of the deplorable state of security in the country. Notably, the unprecedented increase in violent attacks is defying the sustained narrative among analysts that the northwest is relatively peaceful compared to the northeast—even though the northwest is poorer; worse governed in some areas; and has lower levels of human development”. (Analyst contributing to a foreign blog).
“Interestingly, there is – on paper – a concrete legal response to tackle the brutal reign of terror perpetrated by the group, even in the midst of serious allegations of extra-judicial government high-handedness. In May 2011, the Nigerian National Assembly cleared the “Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011” and this was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan on June 3, 2011. The Act was in conformity with international standards, including UN guidelines. It addressed the issues of prevention, prohibition, and combating terrorism, as well as the financing of terrorism. It “also provides for the effective implementation of the ‘Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism’ as well as the ‘Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism,’ and prescribes penalties for the violation of its provisions”.
These penalties can range from a 20-year jail term to death sentences depending on the severity of cases. The Act also facilitates help from foreign governments by way of mutual assistance, information sharing, and extradition with regard to terrorism–related offences. But the law grants tremendous powers to law enforcement agencies to haul suspected terrorists with hardly any judicial oversight, and consequently, the law has been severely criticised by various national and international human rights groups. Thus, even though the law is yet to come into force – as per recent statements of the Inspector General who denied the existence of any such law for cracking down on Boko Haram operatives – the resurgence of Boko Haram activities in recent months and its use of suicide bombings to create further panic have compelled the federal government to amend this rather recent piece of legislation. The changes seek to: broaden the definition of a terrorist; introduce military trials for Boko Haram militants; transfer of complete authority to the office of the National Security Advisory as the lead agency for dealing with the terrorist groups; along with allowing death penalty for terror suspects if found guilty as charged. Presently, the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill, 2012 as enshrined in the Report of the Conference Committee on the Terrorism Act 2011(Amendment) Bill 2012 has not received the approval of the Senate in the Nigerian National Assembly”.( Sneha Bhura is Research Intern at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi).
How much was released by the Federal government towards the implementation of safe schools initiatives? To whom were these budgetary releases made and what are the uses to which the cash was put and why are our schools prone to terrorism and kidnappings?
What are the states and FCT doing to secure the schools?
Why are the kidnapping terrorgroup members not been arrested but rather settled with Financial inducements and what is the status of the counter terrorism Act signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan before he left?
What is the Job of the National Security Adviser and why has he failed to offer quality body of advice which is why the state of insecurity has deteriorated and why is he still being kept in office when his advice has not helped to improve security in Nigeria? THE NSA SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR GROSS INCOMPETENCE.
Why is Sheikh Gumi allowed to interfere in the counter terror war as a negotiator for terrorists kidnappers when the anti-terror law spells out what should happen to such an interloper and why are these kidnappers not classified as terrorists whereas government goes all out to clamp down on IPOB? Why this selective application of the law?
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
SPEECH DELIVERED AT A MEDIA BRIEFING.