By Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria.
Foremost Civil Rights Advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has for the umpteenth time called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as a terrorist group including the MIYETTI ALLAH CATTLE OWNERS ASSOCIATION, which backs the daredevil activities of the killer Fulani herdsmen.
HURIWA also thinks the biased policy of President Muhammadu in appeasing the killer armed Fulani herdsmen is the single most dangerous public relations damage being done to the Nigerian Fulani community because the violent activities of the few who are being backed by some influential power wielders in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is making other multi Ethnic and Religious groups in Nigeria to perceive the Fulani indigenous Nigerians as war mongers and mass killers.
“The best solution to this building up of toxic perception about the Fulani ethnicity is for the current administration to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists so the anti-terrorism law is applied fully to deal decisively with the killer Fulani herdsmen who have clearly declared war on Nigeria and Nigerians including even the peace loving Fulani like those killed by armed Fulani herdsmen in a part of Bauchi State recently”.
HURIWA has for over fifty times since the last five years asked that President Muhammadu should emphatically declare armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists because of the cocktails of organised genocides and mass murders that they have continued to perpetrate since the last few Years resulting in the killings of over 6,000 innocent people all over the nation with the epicentre being the North Central states of Southern Kaduna State, Benue and Plateau states.
“We are sure that the President who is Fulani has refused to take steps to protect Nigerians who have being under bombardment and attacks from largely foreign Fulani herdsmen recruited by the Local Fulani herdsmen to unleash bloody violence against farm owners and villagers so as to occupy these lands for purposes of illegally grazing their cows instead of establishing ranches to observe the twenty first century compliant agricultural practices of animal husbandry.”
HURIWA has therefore backed the call by the Benue State governor; Samuel Ortom for the classification of armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists as stated in his charter of demand made on Saturday, July 11, when condemning the recent killings in several parts of the state by suspected herdsmen. Benue State governor; Mr. Samuel Ortom had said only a terrorist group would deliberately choose to violate the Benue anti-open grazing law.
HURIWA citing a media statement issued by his spokesperson; Terver Akase, quoted the Benue state governor as accusing herdsmen of violating the 2017 law that prohibits open grazing just as he stated that declaring armed herdsmen as terrorists would end the wave of impunity and guarantee the rule of law in the state.
HURIWA said the statement of the Benue State government is logical and sound but the group asked the Benue State government to take steps allowed by the constitution to enforce the lawfully made legislation by the Benue State House of Assembly since the Nigerian Constitution in section 4 of the Constitution permits a State Assembly to make laws to protect the citizens of the specified state in Nigeria.
Section 4 provides thus: “Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution. 4(1) The legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in a National Assembly for the Federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
(2) The National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Constitution.
(3) The power of the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List shall, save as otherwise provided in this Constitution, be to the exclusion of the Houses of Assembly of States.
(4) In addition, and without prejudice to the powers conferred by subsection (2) of this section, the National Assembly shall have power to make laws with respect to the following matters, that is to say-
(a) any matter in the Concurrent Legislative List set out in the first column of Part II of the Second Schedule to this Constitution to the extent prescribed in the second column opposite thereto; and
(b) any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(5) If any Law enacted by the House of Assembly of a State is inconsistent with any law validly made by the National Assembly, the law made by the National Assembly shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.
(6) The legislative powers of a State of the Federation shall be vested in the House of Assembly of the State.
(7) The House of Assembly of a State shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof with respect to the following matters, that is to say-
(a) any matter not included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to this Constitution;
(b) any matter included in the Concurrent Legislative List set out in the first column of Part II of the Second Schedule to this Constitution to the extent prescribed in the second column opposite thereto; and
(c) any other matter with respect to which it is empowered to make laws in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(8) Save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the exercise of legislative powers by the National Assembly or by a House of Assembly shall be subject to the jurisdiction of courts of law and of judicial tribunals established by law, and accordingly, the National Assembly or a House of Assembly shall not enact any law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of a court of law or of a judicial tribunal established by law.
(9) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the National Assembly or a House of Assembly shall not, in relation to any criminal offense whatsoever, have power to make any law which shall have retrospective effect.
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade; Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director; Miss Zainab Yusuf said the President is in gross violation of several sections of the constitution including his oath of office by allowing tribal and religious sentiments to becloud his sense of judgment which explains why he unilaterally declared a peaceful group of agitators for self-determination such as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra and the Religious group of Islamic Movement of Nigeria as terrorists groups only for peacefully advancing and canvassing their democratic views but the same President Muhammadu Buhari failed to declare armed Fulani herdsmen as a terror group even with concrete evidence of all the bloody attacks traced to them and the mass killings they unleashed all over the Country.
HURIWA said it is incumbent on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to confront armed Fulani herdsmen because the constitution is clear in section 14 that the primary duty of government is security and welfare of the citizens as clearly enunciated thus: “1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.
(2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:
(a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;
(b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and
(c) the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”