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3rd term gambit: Your Assurances not Enough — HURIWA tells Buhari

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… Says Advocacy Amounts to Treason

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for the arrest and prosecution of campaigners and sponsors of the emerging campaign for self-perpetuation in office by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

In a statement on Wednesday, the Rights group said the arrest of the proponents of 3rd term bid became necessary because what they are advocating for is treasonable and amounts to a constitutional coup plot.

HURIWA said any subterranean or open campaign apparently sponsored by forces within the current government for the constitutional term limits for political office of president of Nigeria to be extended extra-legally or even through the national parliament is an offence against the Nigerian people and against the 1999 constitution capable of truncating constitutional democracy and must not be swept under the carpets or explained away through a presidential media propaganda.

The Rights group said the Nigerian constitution in chapter 6, part 1 and specifically section 137(1)(b) provides that a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of president if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.

It there posited that any contemplation to violate this sacred code of the grund norm through orchestrated and sponsored activities of thugs must not be dismissed with a mere wave of hand but must be penalized because if the weight of the law is not applied to sanction these violators the illegality will evolve into a life of its own.

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Also citing section 1(1) of the constitution, HURIWA further stated that: “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria” even as section 1(2) states thus: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.

The Rights group affirmed that going by the plethora of provisions in the extant constitution under which the current administration is serving out its last tenure of office cited above, all those sponsoring groups and members of such amorphous groups campaigning for tenure limitation to be disrupted should be arrested and charged to court for treasonable felony because what they are advocating for is for a change of government through an illegal overthrow of the Nigerian constitution.

The statement reads in part: “Why will president Buhari arrest a 21-year-old boy and the activist Omoyele Sowore for planning to organize mass protests against the government, but the same government has looked the other way when street urchins hired by hawks in the presidency are protesting publicly urging for the breach of constitutional provisions so as to achieve tenure elongation for President Buhari?, HURIWA asserted.”

For the group, the selective enforcement of arrests of protesters based on the side, texture and colour of the message they are transmitting to the public amounts to a double standard and is discriminatory.

“The statement denying any plot by president Buhari to self-perpetuate is just tissues of soft propaganda and is treated as such unless this government will arrest and prosecute for treason all those going about campaigning for the third term because these characters are attempting to foist a government through a process other than what the unambiguous provisions of the constitution have stated”, HURIWA said.

“We in HURIWA wishes to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that his statement that he will not seek tenure extension at the end of his 2nd term in office as rumours of a possible spread in the gossip mill is deceitful and manifestly unacceptable as long as his government fails to arrest and charge for treason all those going about campaigning for tenure elongation to favour him. 

‘‘Can we hereby tell President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu that his statement on Nigeria’s Independence Day in which he said that the President will not seek tenure extension under any circumstances and will not support an amendment of the constitution to make that happen has not totally and conclusively addressed this matter and can we tell him and his boss our President that discerning Nigerians are not convinced that the well-funded campaign for the third term against the constitution can be dismissed as an internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary regarding presidential term limits, given credence by so-called support groups, staging street demonstrations asking President Muhammadu Buhari to do a third term.

‘‘In Nigeria, it has been proven that abnormalities have been normalized by that in government including the President who on many occasions openly disrespected the binding orders of courts. Who says that tomorrow this administration will not deny issuing this tepid press statement?,’’


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