…Faults FG’s threat of another lockdown
By Dirisu Yakubu
Foremost rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Monday, called on the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike to focus on delivering good governance to his people, rather than fixating on continuous criticisms of General Tukur Buratai, the nation’s immediate past Chief of Army Staff.
This is even as the group argued that having been replaced by a set of new security chiefs, Buratai and his counterparts in the former security team should be allowed some modicum of peace in retirement.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, HURIWA Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko faulted the position of the governor who was reported to have described Buratai and his counterparts as failures, last week.
He said: “Wike is busy pointing one finger towards the direction of Buratai and other retired military chiefs who spent over 35 years of their very productive working life in public service to advance public good, but the remaining four fingers point right back at Nyesom Wike who is known to be highly intolerant of opposition politics and has shown arrogance toward opponents.”
While noting that the recently retired service chiefs had their weaknesses as humans, the HURIWA boss insisted that they discharged their duties to the best of their abilities, contrary to claims by the governor that they were somewhat partisan.
Reacting to claim by the Presidency that some “elites” were out to smear the person of President Muhammadu Buhari in spite of his achievements in office, Onwubiko reminded the Commander-in-Chief that in a constitutional democracy, criticisms form part of the liberty citizens enjoy even as he noted that freedom of expression is constitutionally guaranteed in the land.
“The President is not a monarch or an emperor that should not face criticisms. The Office of the President is such that the occupant must be willing, open and faithful to the constitution by accepting criticism going by the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in chapter 4 of the constitution including freedom of expression,” he added.
One issue that the group also took exception to was the threat of another lockdown by the federal government in the event of failure on the part of Nigerians to adhere strictly to COVID-19 preventive measures. According to HURIWA, “The President should show us the templates of what he has done to change the trajectory of the public health system to get out of its current dysfunctional state. It is better to show us your work than to always issue threats from all kinds of officials,” it added, urging the President to blame the Presidential Task Force, PTF, which it claimed is only “shinning on television.”
Onwubiko called on governors of the South-East states to borrow a leaf from their South-West counterparts who came together to form a regional security outfit called Amotekun. He added that the Eastern Security Network, ESN should similarly go through the legislative process Amotekun went through to become functional in the zone, to protect the lives and properties of the people.