Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has berated the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the Nigeria Police Force for incessantly and physically tormenting and harassing publisher of saharareporters Mr. Omoyele Sowore.
In a statement, the association said the arrest of Sowore for carrying out peaceful protests was wrong.
The rights group said the arrest of the activist confirmed the intelligence it got before the New Year that the year 2021 would be tough for civil rights campaigners in Nigeria because the federal government would unleash what it called ‘scorched-earth anti-activists policies which components will include forced disappearances, armed abductions and mass arrests of human rights activists.’
HURIWA said the reported threat to the lives of Sowore and his associates by armed police from the Federal Capital Territory’s Command who rounded the protesters up during their solemn cross over candle lights procession was not just unconstitutional and illegal but a violation of the rights to religious freedom, freedoms of movement, association and peaceful assembly as guaranteed by chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.
“This Nigeria Police Force has indeed refused to heed the voice of reason to change their terrible modus operandi as a force for evil and as an anti – democratic reactionary elements.
“The Nigeria Police Force needs to be tailored and refocused to confront and combat widespread violence tearing apart the fabrics of our nation state and join the men and officers of the armed forces to battle the expanding frontiers of terror attacks in the North East of Nigeria and the North West.
“The police should learn to respect the constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens. What Sowore and his associates did by assembling in Gudu junction in the nation’s capital has in no way constituted any threats to the national security interests of Nigeria.”
HURIWA called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the police to immediately release unconditionally Sowore and his associates.
HURIWA had in a new year message warned that Human rights defenders would come under attack in 2021.
It expressed disappointment and consternation at the declining respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens and the fast shrinking civic spaces in Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also expressed fears and anxieties over the declining state of governance in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory which it said would push millions of Nigerians into poverty.
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.