HURIWA Lauds Buhari’s Acceptance Of Dialogue On South-East
…Condemns Governors’ Stance On IPOB
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s acceptance of dialogue as a way to resolve the agitation for self- determination in the South-East by the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The rights group however carpeted the governors and political leaders of South-East over their recent denunciation of the agitation for self- determination by the IPOB and other similar groups in the region.
HURIWA said it was illogical for South-East governors who were initially instrumental to the proscription of the peaceful and unarmed IPOB to pretend not to know how significant the agitation for self-government not just in Igbo speaking areas but even in the South West of Nigeria, has become.
In a statement by its national coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said : “It is a big incurable fallacy for the South-East governors to live in denial and say they do not recognize IPOB’S agitation for self- determination but in another breath to set up committees on dialogues with the same agitators.
“The most logical step is for the South-East governors to undo the illegal banning of IPOB in the South-East that they did before President Buhari took it a notch further, and after unbanning IPOB, the South-East governors can then be in a better frame of mind logically to convince President Buhari to withdraw the national proscription of IPOB as a terrorist group and the proper constructive dialogue can take place in an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
“In as much as we believe in a united Nigeria, these agitations from all over mean that Nigeria’s status quo is unjust and unfair and should be restructured.”
According to HURIWA, “there exists no reasonable ground for the proscription of IPOB when they are non- violent and indeed all the alleged violent actions attributed to them by the police and army have been denied by them and also the same organisation enjoys global legal recognition. Besides, why has Muhammadu Buhari’s administration refused to proscribe Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association which backs armed Fulani herdsmen as a terrorist group but has maintained the ban on IPOB? The South-East leaders ought to engage IPOB and others to step down their agitations for the breakup of Nigeria but to opt for fundamental restructuring of the country instead .
“We commend President Buhari for finally seeing the need for dialogue. We hope he will be consistent and not treat it like the way he is handling the concept of restructuring which he promised during his campaigns and for which the All Progressives Congress even set up the governor El Ruffai-led committee on restructuring, but only for the same president to castigate campaigners of restructuring few days back. So consistency is needed on this issue of dialogue. We hope Mr. President actually promised to adopt dialogue as was reported to Nigerians by his Labour Minister Chris Ngige.”
Also, HURIWA said that it was disappointed by a statement by a group , the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), signed by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman. The group said that only a referendum for Igbo exit could guarantee a peaceful Nigeria.
HURIWA said : “This press statement of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) is nothing but a deliberate subterfuge, red-herring and ethnic profiling carefully designed to put the Igbos on the spot and reopen the wounds of the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War with the aim to discredit the campaign for a Nigerian President of an Igbo extraction. As if determined to clear any doubt in this regard, the group noted that Ndigbo ought to count themselves lucky since they lost the civil war as they ought to suffer more severe marginalization. In their words: ‘The vanquished in a civil war are always oppressed, marginalized and don’t enjoy the privileges of equal citizenship for decades afterwards.’ To this northern coalition therefore Igbos cannot be equal citizens with the rest of Nigerians and can only take whatever is thrown to them as the vanquished.
“HURIWA wishes to observe that the ethnic profiling of Ndigbo being promoted lately by some known northern leaders and some amorphous groups is an ill-wind that will blow no one any good. Apart from the Colaition of Northern Groups, Hakin Baba Ahmed recently made the same call for an Igbo referendum on behalf Northern Elders Forum. That other call for Igbo referendum came about the same time that a serving northern senator told the same Igbo ethnic group that they would get war if that was what they wanted.
“It is important to remind those profiling other ethnic groups and calling for Igbo referendum, that it is not only Biafra secessionist agitation that is going in the country. A section of the Yoruba nation is calling for Oduduwa Republic, while Boko Haram terrorism has the simple objective of creating an Islamic Republic in the North East. What could be more secessionist than such? And how come such groups are not calling for Yoruba referendum or a referendum for an Islamic state in the North East if indeed their motivation is partiotic and in good faith?
“While HURIWA does not support any form of secessionist agenda, the point being made is that singling out the Igbos for condemnation is a clear case of scapegoating – giving dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is important to further note that the Igbo leaders cannot be held responsible for Biafra agitation any more than the Northern leaders should be held responsible for the activities of secessionists and terrorists like Abubakar Shekau and Boko Haram or for banditry. It is the primary duty of government to deal with such problems within the laws of the land. Nnamdi Kanu for example does not live in Igbo land but in Britain and only the government of Nigeria can approach the British government if indeed they want to hold anybody accountable. Igbo ethnic group cannot deal with Britain as a country even if they want to and cannot apply for Nnamdi Kanu’s extradition.
“HURIWA therefore sees the call for Igbo referendum on the account of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB activities as being orchestrated in bad faith and carefully calculated to set up the Igbo ethnic group to be decimated once again, as was the case with the first military coup in which soldiers of many ethnic groups participated, yet, it was tagged an Igbo coup planned and executed to enthrone Igbo hegemony. Igbos as a result of this evil coloration given the first coup were visited with pogroms and ultimately the civil war which claimed over two million of them.
“Contrary to the claims of this northern coalition, marginalization for the South-East is real and something needs to be done about it by the government of the day. Beyond the marginalization of the Igbos which the coalition shockingly says is justified for losing the war, this northern coalition needs to be reminded that Nigeria as presently constituted is not working for anybody, including the north. If Nigeria were working, there would be no Boko Haram terrorism and armed banditry ravaging the north. These are worse centrifugal forces tearing the country down than the activities of IPOB.
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“Those calling for Igbo referendum ought to worry more about why secessionist agitations are springing up all over the country and not create the impression that it is a sole Biafra or Igbo franchise. They should not continue to justify the current repressive system of unitarism, social injustice and faulty lines of our fumbling country. Such groups if indeed they are fired by patriotic zeal, need to help Nigeria to urgently restore true federalism through massive devolution of powers, egalitarianism, social justice, equity and fair play. They need to be reminded that perpetuation of this current inequitable, skewed and extortionist system that is alien to all known principles of federalism, because it benefits a section of the country will never permit peace and development in Nigeria. Scapegoating the Igbos will not solve the problem; it can only exacerbate it.
“Reminding the Igbos that they must keep quiet because they have investments all over Nigeria is equally unfortunate. Apart from recent remarks including those of President Muhammadu Buhari calling the Igbos a mere dot in the circle that is Nigeria, the Northern coalition, equally stated, ‘From Kano to Port Harcourt, to Lagos, the Igbo continue to keep and expand their trades and businesses and enjoy a 60 per cent monopoly of the total available commercial, financial, banking and insurance activities. On the other hand, people of the other regions, particularly northerners, could only run small businesses and do menial jobs as the level of hate and uncertainty has denied a favourable atmosphere in the South-East for any other ethnic nationality to flourish in commerce, education or any other enterprise.’
“HURIWA urges the Igbos to continue to play the role of being the glue that holds Nigeria together, to continue to develop wherever they find themselves. They should not succumb to the emotional blackmail being orchestrated by some self-serving individuals and groups to frustrate them out of Nigeria, a nation they have laboured more than any other ethnic group in the country to build.”
HURIWA blamed an Arewa group for the murder of the Igbo private medical practitioner in Niger State few days ago, Dr. Precious Chinedu in Salka town of Magama Local Government Area of Niger State. HURIWA condemned the persistent incitement to commit violence against the Igbo in the northern states being promoted by the group and other notable northern politicians “but sadly the DSS see northerners as untouchables and sacred cows.
“HURIWA recalled that Dr. Chinedu, the proprietor of a private medical facility in Salka town was reportedly killed by masked gunmen and his remains abandoned in the bush. The six gunmen according to the report stormed Precious’ hospital at about 9:00 p.m. demanding his presence. Immediately Precious was identified, he was taken away only for his remains to be found in the bush the next day.
“It was said that a report was immediately made to the police in the area but no action was taken.
“A member of staff of the deceased said ‘When they took the doctor away we reported to the police and the local vigilantes.The following day (Thursday afternoon) the vigilantes called us that they had seen a corpse inside the bush and we were able to identify it as that of our oga.’ ”
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Born on the 3rd of April, 1944, Diya was military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari-Idiagbon coup of December 31st, 1983.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
While serving in the military, Diya studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
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“Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.”
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