***Wants FG to have a single national template on counter-insurgency war
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lamented that the current government has dragged Nigeria backward in terms of all identifiable human development indices by about 60 years or more.
The Rights group said the state of human rights violations in the past five years has assumed epic proportions just as impunity, lawlessness and lack of respect for the sanctity of human life have become so widespread that much parts of Nigeria are currently in a state of civil war just as hundreds of armed mass killers are getting away with their dastardly acts of genocides waged against communities all across the country with the North-West and North-East of Nigeria becoming killing fields.
“The unfortunate scenario is that since the last five years top government officials have misused their powers to turn Nigeria into a police state thereby clamping journalists who write unfavourable news stories into detentions with lots of framed up and trumped-up charges, ” it said.
In a statement signed on Friday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said that it was laughable that whereas the federal government identifies the armed Boko Haram insurgency group as terrorists, it has rather chosen to treat armed Fulani herdsmen and the murderous attackers in the North-West States of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto as mere armed bandits.
According to the Rights group, the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari describing the killings of Christians and farmers in Southern Kaduna by armed Fulani herdsmen as a ‘revenge attacks’ does not communicate to the global community that the central government is willing to crack down on all terrorists carrying out mass killings of Nigerians irrespective of their religious or ethnic orientations.
HURIWA noted that: “it is said that in the last five years, the current administration has treated with kid gloves the cases of coordinated killings orchestrated and choreographed by armed Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Plateau, Enugu, Delta with the clear failure of either the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami or the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu to prosecute and punish armed Fulani herdsmen arrested with sophisticated weapons and paraded by the National Police in Abuja.
“We have a government that in the last five years has failed in the basic task of preventing mass killings and genocides. Sadly, whenever these suspected mass killers are arrested and are clearly shown to be from the same ethnic-religious affiliations with the President which is Fulani, these numerous terrorists arrested with sophisticated weapons of mass destruction and paraded to the media by the Inspector General of Police and before our very eyes the whole drama ends as media showmanship just as the exact whereabouts of these paraded armed Fulani herdsmen are not disclosed to anyone and the spate of killings have continued in an unending vicious circle of violent and blood cuddling attacks.
“It was a deliberate ploy by the current administration not to label these armed marauders and Fulani herdsmen responsible for the spate of killings as terrorists so the full weight of the law would not be unleashed on them applying the anti-terror laws of Nigeria to prosecute them in the competent courts of law.”
Besides, the Rights group said the killings of 74 Nigerians in Sabon Birnin Local Government Area Council of Sokoto state by over 100 armed terrorists could not have happened if the current administration had applied and deployed a single national template on counter-insurgency war and this dastardly act of killings of innocent villagers in Sokoto could not have happened had the current administration decisively prosecuted all suspected mass murderers rather than the policy of appeasement that the government has used if the mass killers are armed Fulani herdsmen.
“As Nigerians observed a low key fifth year anniversary of the current administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, it has been observed that due to cumulative inaction and systemic inefficiency, Nigeria’s national security has become so endangered as thousands of Nigerians are slaughtered by all kinds of freelance armed hoodlums and terrorists whilst the Government stands by and does nothing to put an end to these killings, ” HURIWA stressed
HURIWA said that in the area of economy, the current administration has unleashed the worst kind of mass poverty, unemployment, and youth involvement in crimes that have never been seen ever before in recorded history.
“In the last five years, the nation’s manufacturing sector has suffered spectacular setbacks following the progressive collapses of strategic national infrastructures like electricity, federal roads network, and maintenance of law and order.
“These varying degradation of these national infrastructures have resulted in the shutting down of industries and small and medium-sized businesses thereby compounding the crisis of unemployment in Nigeria.”
HURIWA further said: “Because the local manufacturing sector has suffered spectacular setbacks and the concomitant job losses have led to the massive migration of Nigerians to all kinds of places through the irregular migration routes such as the dangerous Mediterranean sea which has led to hundreds of deaths by Nigerians running away from the suffocating economic challenges in Nigeria and the state of war in Nigeria”.
The current administration, the Rights group argued, should take responsibility for not being responsible in the last five years. Also, the practice of excessive borrowing from all kinds of international creditors including from some dubious places has gravely endangered the future of Nigeria because there are the apprehensions that due to corruption by government officials who have misapplied the billions of foreign loans borrowed by the current administration with the resultant poor infrastructural projects to show for the loans it will be difficult for Nigeria to meet the repayment obligations in the near future which may lead to the eventual take over of strategic national assets by China as has been witnessed in some African nations like Zambia, Zimbabwe and even South Africa.
HURIWA also recalled that Nigeria during the current administration overtook India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.
HURIWA recalled that the findings were done in 2018, based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute, show that more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number.
The Rights group also lamented that it is sad that two years after, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed the poverty status of Nigeria by stating although in a politically correct manner that 40 percent of Nigerians have entered an absolute poverty situation.