The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari was using security agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to “witch-hunt” members of the opposition.
Against this backdrop, the body warned that Nigeria would be worse off if Buhari was allowed to run his purported tyrannic government.
HURIWA urged Nigerians to resist all forms of tyranny by the Buhari government.
The body made the call while slamming Buhari for allegedly using security agencies and the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory to demolish of a section of African Independent Television, AIT, building in Abuja.
AIT is owned by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a known chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
In a statement titled: “Rights to freedom of Association and the Press are not only legal but also fundamental and not criminal” by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA decried what it described as the “rising wave of federal government’s intolerance of political pluralism, press freedom and freedom of expression.”
The Non-Governmental Organisation tasked Nigerians to “resist a return to full-blown dictatorship through every conceivable legal mechanism.”
According to it, “Nigeria and Nigerians will be worst off should President Muhammadu Buhari be tolerated to institute incipient tyranny which is what he has since started introducing with his initial serial flouting of court orders; attacks targeting judges including the illegal deposition of the head of the judicial arm of government and his government’s persistent witch hunt targeting political opposition using all security forces and especially the highly compromised Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
The Rights group also accused a section of the judiciary of “criminal collusion with the totalitarian presidency to undermine the enjoyments of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms as manifested in the recent unlawful jailing of a human rights activist Mr. I.G. Awala over a spurious charge of belonging to a so called unregistered association.”
HURIWA condemned the demolition of sections of DAAR Communications building by officials of the FCT and the recent illegal detention at the international Airport by Nigeria Immigration services (NIS) of Dokpesi who had just returned from overseas medical care.
It stated that the continued harassment of Chief Dokpesi were well-coordinated plots to “intimidate, cow and compel him and to undermine the independence of the only surviving independent television in Nigeria because of the predisposition of the African Independent Television to allow all shades of opinions in their broadcast station.”
HURIWA also resolved to petition the offices of the United States President; Prime Minister of Britain and the European Union to call Buhari to order, and for his regime to stop threatening press freedom.
The statement reads: “Nigeria is a secular state which not only does not function at the whims and caprices of some religious, political, cultural elite or oligarchy or group or institution but by the law which clearly spells out the rights and obligations of her citizen and all other within its geographical location. In this regard, the first, primary and most essential law of resort is her Constitution which is the grundnorm.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not only give life to all other laws but kills any law, belief, opinion etc which purports to negate its provision. It is apt at this juncture to quote from section 1(1) and (3) of the Constitution. Section 1(1) provides thus:
“This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”