HURIWA Drags Gov Ayade To Rights Commission Over Inter-Party Clash
Demands transparent and non-partisan probe of inter-party clash
A prominent pro-democracy and civil Rights advocacy group – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the Cross Rivers State governor Professor Ben Ayade over allegations of playing politics over the recent case of the gruesome killings of five members of both the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bendeghe Ekiem community, Etung Local government Area Council of Cross Rivers State.
HURIWA which condemns the killings of these citizens has also expressed shock and disappointment with the government of Cross Rivers State for selectively probing the remote and immediate cause of the dastardly killing of the three members of his political Party- the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) but has maintained a shocking sense of insensitivity regarding the the three other members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who also reportedly lost their precious lives during the unfortunate fracass that reportedly resulted in the fatalities including the ward leader of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) Mr. Ayuk Ogar.
HURIWA said it has watched with considerable shock and trepidation since over the last couple of months that this incident occurred to see how the state government will handle this and similar other clashes in Cross Rivers State but asserted that from all indications, it would seem that the Cross Rivers government has adopted a politically motivated approaches towards finding out the exact circumstances that occasioned the conflict just as the Rights group accused amorphous groups with links to the Governor for blackmailing the Governorship Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 governorship polls Senator John Owan Enoh and for spreading unsubstantiated innuendos and libellous allegations against him even when he is not remotely connected to the parley in Bendeghe Ekiem Community which led to the slaughtering of members of both the PDP and his own All Progressives Congress(APC). HURIWA said any sinister plot to turn the investigation and prosecution of persons allegedly fingered in the conflict to an avenue for political vendetta and blackmail against the governorship flagbearer of All Progressives Congress in the last election Senator John Owan will amount to an unmitigated disaster and an injustice of incalculable dimensions which must never be allowed to happen.
HURIWA stated that it was basically concerned with ensuring that the right processes of investigations are done which is why it has called on Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State to create the enabling environment for a thorough, comprehensive, open, transparent probe of the fracas and the killings of all those who died irrespective of their political affiliations or persuasion for that is the best way to promote the rule of law and to guarantee equity, equality of rights and social justice to all parties which are the hallmarks of constitutional democracy.
“As committed patriots, we will approach the National Human Rights commission to bring to their notice the ugly scenarios of the unconstitutional decision of the government of Cross Rivers State to use the sad incidence in Etung Local government Area Council to witchhunt the perceived political opponent of the Governor only because there is the perception in the governor’s camp that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration may consider on merits the person to appoint as the ministerial cabinet holder to represent Cross Rivers State. We have decided to table a three points demands to the National Human Rights commission to constructively mount pressure on the Nigerian Police Force and the Cross Rivers State governor to adhere strictly to best global practices even as there is the urgency of the now for an independent commission of Inquiry to uncover remote and immediate circumstances that surrounded the violence that occasioned the killings of 5 supporters of both the Peoples Democratic party and All Progressives Congress. Our basic concern is that nobody should be witchhunted for not belonging to the same political family as his State governor. As an organisation that has worked for decade plus some years we can confidently state that the greatest act of injustice that happens often in the states of the Federation is the tendencies of the governors to see themselves as demi-gods of their territory and they manifests the ugly attributes of harassing or intimidating any independent or dissenting voice that does not believe in the same political ideology as some of these governors who think they are Emperors who are above the laws. We will petition the National Human Rights commission to draw their attention to the injustice that is about to happen under the watchful eyes of the Cross Rivers State governor who as a former University don ought to follow the due process of the law and respect the fundamental human rights of all the citizens irrespective of the political divisions or affiliations which is at the core of the nation’s grund norm.”
“HURIWA has learnt that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of the Ward Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Bendeghe Ekiem community , Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State, Mr Ayuk Ogar and four others reportedly. Mr Orgar and the others were reportedly killed in Bendeghe during an alleged gun duel between supporters of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress. The clash occurred shortly after leaders of both parties in the area signed a peace pact to ensure violence -free elections. It was gathered that several others sustained injuries during the clash and were treated at the Ikom General Hospital”.
HURIWA however believes that the Cross Rivers State Governor needs to be reminded of his constitutional oath of office which he swore to be fair and just to all manner of people and to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) which in section 36(5) privided for fair hearing just as the Rights group stated that Section 33(1) which mandates and obliges the respect for the Right to life of all citizens must be applied to all citizens notwithstanding the political divisions or affiliations. It therefore faulted the selective investigation of the clash in which there are claims and counter claims that persons belonging to the PDP and PDP were killed.
Specifically, HURIWA reminds Governor Ben Ayade that section 36(5) of the Constitution boldly affirms that “in the determination of his civil rights and duties, including any question or decision by or against any government or authority, a person SHALL be eligible to a fair hearing…”