The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has said that President Muhammadu Buhari must ensure that his order on illegal arms bearing is enforced and seen to be enforced to end the escalating insecurity in the country.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, who made the call on Monday in Abuja, however commended President Buhari for such an order.
He also urged Mr. President to take immediate, comprehensive but transparent and lawful measures to bring all kinds of conflicts of nationalities to an end, especially that the organisation had yesterday blamed the rise in these inter-ethnic conflicts on the apparent double standards of the central government.
“Our attention has been called to the position that it is inaccurate to locate the blame squarely on the desk of President Muhammadu Buhari. We accept this key point of correction. We have also been asked by some of our prominent members to correct the impression that there is a deliberate intention of Mr. President to refuse to prosecute armed herdsmen and that there is no empirical data to believe that there is an agenda to alienate any ethno-religious nationalities in the redistribution of national offices.
“However, we will appeal to Mr. President to always respect equity and equality of rights in all his official conducts even as we call on him to either suspend or query his Federal Attorney General and Minster of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) who even in writing told us that arrested armed herdsmen hitherto paraded by the Police here in Abuja will not be prosecuted because there is no case file,” Onwubiko said.
He commended the public statement of President Muhammadu Buhari in which he directed that armed herdsmen and indeed all criminals must be made to face the full weight of the law.
Onwubiko said that the ball is in the courts of the Justice Ministry to do the needful and for the police to enforce the law by building up strong case against all criminals and that these prosecutorial activities must be transparent and accountable.
He therefore urged President Buhari to appoint six zonal Presidential Advisers/peace envoys who should run their offices each in the geopolitical zonal headquarters and their mandates are to hold weekly dialogues with stakeholders in the grassroots.
He listed the stakeholders to include security officials, traditional rulers, community leaders and NGOs including religious leaders on ways to promote inter-ethnic harmony and these offices should be adequately funded to carry out their mandates.
He also urged Mr. President to downsize his special advisers to accommodate the above suggestion.
He added, “On no account should groups be allowed to issue expulsion orders on other ethnic groups because this offends our constitutional right to live wherever we choose to. Those making such orders should face the full weight of the law irrespective of their status, tribe or religion. The police should stop double standards of failing to arrest northerners when they issue expulsion orders on Southerners but will spring up to arrest southerners making similar unlawful pronouncement.”