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Buhari, speak up on DSS, INEC, Fulani herds men killings – HURIWA

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*Demands immediate rerun election in Okigwe senatorial zone of Imo State

A pro-Democracy Non-governmental organisation – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)  has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the nation in a national broadcast.

HURIWA wants Buhari to comprehensively disclose workable measures to reform the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make it truly independent and impartial.

He is also to give clear directives to armed security operatives to treat armed Fulani herdsmen terrorising farming communities across Nigeria as terrorists. 

Specifically, HURIWA) is demanding the removal of the Director General of Department of State Services (DSS) Alhaji Daura.

HURIWA alleged that he is turning that national security institution to an exclusive protection and propaganda wing of the armed Fulani herdsmen responsible for mass killings across the country. 

HURIWA condemned the conspiratorial silence of the DSS concerning the genocide by armed Fulani herdsmen in Agatu community of Benue State.

Others include Taraba, Plateau, Delta, Enugu, Anambra and Edo States.

It also condemned the rapidity of the unscientific and provocative statement made by the DSS aganst members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

DSS had claimed that IPOB members slaughtered the 5 kidnapped Fulani herdsmen even without any forensic evidence.

That, according to HURIWA, clearly depicted the current hierarchy of DSS as sectional and myopic.

It, therefore, insisted that Daura should be dismissed for lacking professionalism and for attempting to ignite Ethnic genocide against Igbo residing in Northern Nigeria. 

The Rights group has also called on the National Assembly to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately organise a rerun poll in Okigwe Senatorial zone

That will enable the people elect their representative in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  

HURIWA said that it is imperative that the electoral body becomes truly independent and autonomous.

It should as well stop the current undemocratic role of an undertaker put in place by the powers that be in Abuja to dictate which trends and positions to adopt and who should be returned conclusively elected.

The Rights group said it was unbecoming of a body supposedly said to be independent to act in criminal collusion with some forces bent on denying the people of Nigeria their democratic and constitutional rights to elect Nigerians of their choice to govern them. 

HURIWA blamed INEC for the unnecessary bloodshed that occurred during the recent rerun election in Rivers State.

It accused INEC of undermining democracy in Imo State by refusing to conduct election in Okigwe Senatorial zone because of the conspiracy of the Governor Rochas Okorocha administration.

Okorocha, it alleged, is actively seeking to railroad his political surrogate to occupy the position without a free and fair democratic contest.

According to HURIWA, “The people of Okigwe Zone came out in the general elections of March, 2015 and gave their mandate to Chief Athan Nneji Achonu who ran on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

“The results of the election was challenged by the other candidates who filed petitions before the Election Petition Tribunal.

“[They are] 

– Chief Clement Owunna of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who came second 

– Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajimogu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who came third; and,

– Mrs Rita … of the Accord Party. 

“While the APGA candidate withdrew his petition, the APC candidate lost at the Tribunal and at the Court of Appeal. 

“However, the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal nullified the election based on the petition of the Accord Party candidate whose petition was hinged on the exclusion of her party’s logo form the ballot paper.”

HURIWA recalled thus: 

“It is interesting to note that the exclusion of the logo of Accord Party form the ballot paper for Imo North Senatorial election was pointed out by the PDP Agents on the morning of the election.

“INEC responded by withdrawing those ballot papers and substituting them with the ballot papers for Imo East Senatorial District. 

“INEC also assured the PDP Agents that it was an administrative error which can be cured by the emergency arrangement of using ballot papers meant for Imo East. 

“This was the circumstances under which the election held”.

 “At the Tribunal, INEC defended their position and tendered that ballot paper used for the election which is that of Imo East Senatorial District. 

“Unfortunately this did not sway the Tribunal as they went ahead to nullify the election and ordered a re-run within ninety (90) days. 

“This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal. Subsequently, INEC fixed February, 20th, 2016 as the date for the re-run election”. 

“Unfortunately, on the 19th of February, INEC was preparing to commence the distribution of election materials from the State head office in Owerri.

“Some hoodlums mounted a blockade at the gate of INEC in the name of protesting against the conduct of the elections. 

“We are sad to note that the APC candidate, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajimogu has openly owned up to sponsoring the hoodlums. 

“But more disheartening is that fact that the entire security men at INEC on that day, including the Police Army and Civil Defence were unable to bring the situation under control. 

“To ensure an effective blockade of INEC, the hoodlums drove and packed a truck load of sand at the gate of INEC, thereby making it impossible for any vehicular traffic into or out of the premises. 

“At that point, INEC consulted with the security agents and upon their advice, decided to postpone the elections for security reasons.”

HURIWA has therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to partner with the National Assembly to reform the morally challenged leaderships of DSS and INEC.

That according to HURIWA will save Nigeria from imminent implosion.  

It submitted that there’s urgent need for Mr President to address a STATE OF THE UNION BROADCAST on these national challenges to forestall civil war.

Emmanuel Onwubiko

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