The leading Civil Society Organization in Nigeria: – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked the governors of the South East of Nigeria to lobby President Muhammadu Buhari to lift the terrorism tag on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) so the Federal Government can tap on their extensive grassroots knowledge and popularity to uncover the characters masquerading as unknown gun-men who are bombarding Security Institutions.
This is even as the Civil Rights group has told the Federal Government to look inwards and fish out suspected members of the deep State who may be the masterminds of the sporadic attacks in the South East of Nigeria targeting strategic National Security assets.
The group said since the government has consistently displayed open biasness/favouritism towards armed Fulani herdsmen who are also attacking farming communities it will be difficult for the citizens to volunteer intelligence since the Central government is largely seen as pro-armed Fulani herdsmen.
“We in the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) think that external forces are behind these attacks in the South East. The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and the governor of Imo State have been quoted in the media as also exonerating either IPOB or ESN.
“What is the best way out is for the President to remove the blanket declaration of terrorism imposed on IPOB and then adopt law based methodology of dialogue to bring the agitators of self-determination to a round table so their agitations are logically debated and an acceptable decision reached democratically since agitation for self-determination is supported by International Human Rights Law and particularly the international covenant on civil and political Rights article 1 which provides that: ‘all peoples have the right to self determination.
“By virtue of that right they freely determined their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development ‘. Also, IPOB says they are against armed struggle. This could be intepreted to be that they are open to constructive debates. The unilateral decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to obtain an exparte order from the Abuja Chief judge in his Chambers without right to fair hearing granted to members of IPOB, makes their classification untenable and unconstitutional”.
HURIWA, which condemns the attacks on the police formations in Abia and Anambra states today and the killings of civilians said the Federal Government will gain more if it adopts a less hardline approach towards such self-determination groups such as IPOB amongst others including the Sunday Igboho led Yoruba self-determination agitators even as the Rights group said if the Central government officials are not part of the masterminds of the ongoing attacks by unknown gun-men, then what government should do is to unmake the erroneous declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group so everyone that is respected in the South East of Nigeria are mobilized to unravel the exact characters who are behind all these attacks against the police in the South East of Nigeria.”
HURIWA deplores the reported bombardments that happened earlier in the day as it was reported that suspected hoodlums reportedly bombed Zone 13 Police headquarters in Ukpo, Anambra state even as not less than four vehicles have also been burnt while fire fighters have arrived to put out the inferno. The development, as learnt, has heightened tension across the State.
The prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group said too that it is unhappy with the state of insecurity going by the report also that gunmen have reportedly attacked and razed down a police station in Uzoakoli, Bende local government area of Abia State in the early hours of Monday.
Quoting the media, the Rights group said while details of the attack were still sketchy at the time of filing the report, it was gathered the gunmen overpowered the policemen on duty and released suspects in custody.
The Rights group said the fact that these unknown gunmen are having unfettered movements shows that there is more to it than meets the eye, which is why IPOB and all other stakeholder should be brought on board to restore peace and orderliness.
HURIWA stated thus: “We hope that our conclusions that external forces especially members of the deep state are behind these unwarranted attacks against security institutions based on the South East of Nigeria will turn out to be untrue.
“However, the central government has given us every reason to suspect that some of their officials are the masterminds of these attacks just so they can destroy the economic stability of the South East and as a payback for the apparent popularity that the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra has become in the South East of Nigeria.
“The Federal Government’s ill-advised decision to rush to Abuja Court in the Wee hours of the morning to unilaterally obtain exparte order against IPOB so as to tag them as terrorists is the fundamental cause of the unprecedented fame gained so far by IPOB and the way out is for government to untangle this illegal declaration and bring them on board with the aim of making peace.
“Let there be free atmosphere of constructive debates between agitators for self determination and those of us who believe in one Nigeria so ultimately, we will all agree to restructure Nigeria for greater harmony and Inter-ethnic peace because there is no gain in war and the only person who escapes the consequences of war is the man in the grave”.