Human Rights

SOWORE/JALINGO: HURIWA ASKS MEDIA TO DIG OUT INFORMATION ON JUDGES; BLACKOUT RIGHTS ABUSERS, CONDEMNS SILENCE OF NLC, NBA, NUJ, NJC

A pro-democracy and civil Rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS
ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has accused the Federal government, the
heads of the Courts of collective conspiracy to silence dissenting
voices and to cripple the enjoyment of human rights by the citizenry.
HURIWA accused the Federal government of resorting to self help measures
because it is unable to steer the ship of State away from the economic
adversity it has self inflicted on Nigerians due to poor economic
policies. The Rights group said the government has realised that it has
failed comprehensively to deliver all the promises made to voters and
have concluded that the only way to retain power is to curtail the
enjoyment of constitutional freedoms enshrined in the chapter four of
the supreme law.

In the face of this coordinated attacks on freedoms of the citizenry,
HURIWA has tasked the media under section 22 of the Constitution to
investigate and publish background informations on the judges that are
now enlisted by the Federal government and some state governments to
perpetuate horrendous human rights abuses through obnoxious ex-parte
orders and unattainable bail conditions issued to detained Rights
activist and journalists such as Omoyele SOWORE; denial of bail
application by Agba Jalingo and many other users of social media
detained in the orders of many governors.

HURIWA has also advocated the immediate blacklisting of seemingly public
relations routine coverage extended to the President Muhammadu
Buhari-led administration, the Attorney General of the federation and
minister of justice, the Chief justice of Nigeria, the Chief judge of
federal high court, the Director General of the Department of State
Services (DSS); the governors of Cross Rivers; Kaduna;Kano and Kebbi
states and the office of the Inspector General of Police until they
purge themselves of the tendencies to abuse their offices and powers by
adopting contrived interpretation of the cybercrime and counter
terrorism laws as tools of political witch hunt targeting dissenting
voices including journalists and civil Rights leaders. HURIWA said the
government has turned logic on its head by misapplication of Cyber crime
and anti terrorism laws to use them as instruments of witch hunt and
vicious clampdown on social activists and social media users.

Besides, HURIWA laments the conspiratorial silence of the central body
of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ); the Guild of Editors and
the Nigerian Labour Congress in the face of the current hurricane and
brazen attacks of free speech and other basic and fundamental rights of
citizens as clearly guaranteed by Chapter four and chapter two of the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) as
committed by security agents under the direct control and command of
President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Rights group expressed consternation that the Chief justice of
Nigeria Muhammad Tanko and the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High
Court John Tsoho have refused to check the emerging unholy alliances by
some of the judges with the security forces to rope in human rights
activists and journalists and to facilitate the prolonged detention of
such human rights activists and journalists only because those who wield
political power are not comfortable with the exercises of the
fundamental human rights which are clearly guaranteed by both
international human rights laws and the Nigerian laws. HURIWA for
instance wonders whuly rhe Department of State Services has become the
official attack dog of the Presidency instead of going after the real
terrorists; armed bandits and traitors threatening the corporate
existence of Nigeria but has become the errand boys of governors and
have begun detaining even babies and their parents only for sending text
messages to the Kebbi state governor to demand for payments of pensions
owed their Father.

On a related development, the Rights group HURIWA absolutely condemns
obnoxious bail conditions slammed on the publisher of
Saharareporters.com Omoyele SOWORE by a judge of the Abuja division of
the Federal High Court even when she is aware of a subsisting bail
granted by another court of coordinate jurisdiction and which the
Department of State Services and the Nigerian government did not obey.

The Rights group said the refusal to grant bail to Agba Jalingo by a
federal high court in Cross Rivers state over allegations of publication
of false reports of corruption against the Cross Rivers State governor
and the brutal treatment of the journalist seen on handcuffs by the
federal police is a clear demonstration of the plots by the Federal and
state governments with the judiciary to harass, intimidate and detain
human rights activists and journalists for as long as possible with the
iron cast determination of government to create fear, panic and
apprehensions in the public space of Nigeria and to keep human rights
activists, investigative journalists and dissenting voices out of
circulation or in perpetual fear of the emerging police state.

HURIWA cited the media report that the police in Cross River State have
reportedly obtained a court order to keep a Nigerian lawyer, Joseph
Odok, in detention as one in the series of on going national CLAMPDOWN
of activists and dissenting voices just as the Rights group stated that
the media attested to the fact that Mr Odok, is a known critic of the
Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, was arrested on September 26 in Abuja
on allegation of “terrorism” and taken to Calabar by road.

HURIWA absolutely condemns the issuance of the court order which was
obtained on Friday at the Federal High Court, Calabar, through a motion
ex-parte by a prosecution counsel, Dennis Tarhemba, according to a
report published by CrossRiverWatch even as Mr Tarhemba, a deputy
superintendent of police, is the same official prosecuting a Nigerian
journalist, Agba Jalingo, in the same court.

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