…Lament Impunity, Reckless Disregard for the Human Rights of Citizenry …Say Palliatives by Federal, State Governments Grossly Inadequate Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned what it called “the genocide of Nigeria’s impoverished citizens by security forces enforcing the lockdown measures ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari and many state
…Lament Impunity, Reckless Disregard for the Human Rights of Citizenry
…Say Palliatives by Federal, State Governments Grossly Inadequate
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned what it called “the genocide of Nigeria’s impoverished citizens by security forces enforcing the lockdown measures ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari and many state Governors over the outbreak of COVID-19 and appealed to world leaders to immediately intervene. This is coming against claims by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that more people have been killed by the security forces than COVID-19.
HURIWA said that it is worried that although extra-legal killings by armed security forces, especially “the highly unruly” members of the Nigerian Police have gone on for many years, the heightened cases of dastardly criminal acts of state-sponsored murders by the security forces under the present administration is particularly worrying. .
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said that it has in the past few days issued clarion calls on the Presidency to caution the armed security forces to check the incidence of extra legal killings of citizens.
It expressed regrets that it would seem that this and many other appeals from right thinking patriots and groups have gone without being heeded by the Federal Government.
HURIWA said: “We condemn all these atrocious state-sponsored killings by the Police, the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps (NCSC) and the Nigerian Army. The killings of Nigerians hungry and desperate to buy foods for the starving members of their families locked up in the guise of a lockdown by the Federal Government as a measure to contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease in the country without commensurate provision of much needed food reliefs is a crime against humanity which would never be swept under the carpets.
“The Police operatives responsible for these attacks on Nigerians in Anambra and Abia and the soldiers and NCSC officers that similarly deployed lethal weapons to kill unarmed citizens in Aba (Abia State), Warri and Sapele in Delta State must be arrested, prosecuted and punished severely for these killings or they would be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands for crimes against humanity.
“The policemen who killed five traders in Kaduna whilst seeking to enforce the draconian COVID-19 curfew ordered by Governor Nassir El-Rufai have still not been arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned in accordance with the principle of rule of law.
“This show of official impunity and the reckless disregard for the respect of the human rights of Nigerians is the very same reason we are making the present appeal to world leaders to speak out and put President Buhari under pressure to name, shame, dismiss and punish the
killer armed security operatives responsible for the spate of coordinated genocides of extra legal killings of citizens under the guise of enforcement of the stay-at-home order made by the Governors and President Buhari.”
HURIWA said the Federal Government owes the obligations to stop the killings because under a 1996 international law, the United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which provide for respect of the rights of the citizenry.
The group recalled that Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday claimed security operatives killed 18 civilians during enforcement of a total lockdown in major cities in the country over the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
HURIWA however condemned the rights commission for failing to utilise the newly legislated operational independence by not only barking without biting but for not prosecuting these killer security agents who have gone out of control due to official impunity.
“The same Executive Secretary of the NHRC will go the UN Human Rights Council and put up shameful defense of the human rights records of Nigeria rather than presenting an unbiased and uncensored human rights position in Nigeria. This same commission recently gave the President an award even with the dirty human rights records since 2015,” the rights group said.
The NHRC say that the Police have killed more people than coronavirus since the government imposed a lockdown in parts of the country to deal with the pandemic.
It claimed 12 people have died from Covid-19 as at Wednesday, while 18 have been killed by Police trying to enforce lockdowns and other measures.
Its report said it had so far received and documented more than 100 complaints in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states including Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, where a two-week lockdown was recently extended.
Other parts of the country have set a variety of restrictions which have seen the Police and Army deployed to enforce them.
NHRC said members of the public had called their special hotline and sent in videos showing the violations of human rights.
Nigeria has so far reported over 440 cases of coronavirus while recording 13 deaths. Over 100 patients have also been discharged.
Nigerian security forces have not responded to the NHRC’s claims.
The Centre for Truth and Liberty (CTL) has also frowned at the failure of President Buhari in his address to the nation on April 13, 2020 to demonstrate empathy for Nigerians who were “ruthlessly attacked and humiliated” by soldiers and Police following the restriction of movement imposed in his earlier address of April 29, 2020.
In a statement signed by Executive Director, Mr Olusesan Semaiye and Director, Communication, Research and Strategy, Mr Francis Abayomi, the group said, “It is unfortunate that Mr. President rather than condemn this act chose to pretend he was not aware of unwarranted ordeals Nigerians; including those on legitimate assignment amongst who were journalists experienced in the hands of overzealous security agents.
“CTL is concerned that President Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in a democratic setting has not, even prior to the present scenario, demonstrated enough concern by consciously dissuading security agencies from molesting innocent Nigerians.
It condemns unprovoked attacks on Nigerians by security agents who are obliged under the law to adopt civilised methods in apprehending violators of civil restrictions.
The group also expressed worry about the spate of robbery incidents, civil disturbances and insecurity stirred by the frustration of two weeks of lockdown at the federal capital territory (FCT) as well as in Lagos and Ogun States.
“The development glaringly comes down as telling portrayal of the prevailing fragile nature of the Nigerian society. There is no doubt that palliatives introduced by the federal and state governments have proven to be grossly inadequate to assuage the angers of millions of Nigerian already sidelined by the polity,” it said..