HURIWA demands closure of illegal detention camps in Lagos and Abuja •Condemns use of naval operatives to harass traders in Abuja

Posted by News Express | 5 August 2013 | 4,230 times

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A call has gone to the National Assembly, the Police Service Commission; the National Human Rights Commission and President Goodluck Jonathan to set up investigative panels to unravel the circumstances surrounding the existence of illegal and unconstitutional torture and detention centres run by state governments through their environmental task forces and in the nation’s federal capital territory.

The call was made by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), which also requested an order for the closure of such detention camps after identifying their masterminds and prosecuting them for crimes against humanity.

The rights group also has called on President Jonathan to order the immediate dismantling of the well armed environmental taskforce in the Federal Capital Territory “made up essentially of naval operatives who have consistently unleashed a regime of unmitigated state-sponsored terrorism and violence on civilians just for merely going about their legitimate businesses as hawkers of wares and street traders.”

HURIWA said no sane government would organise the nation’s military and arm the operatives into some opaque taskforces to unduly unleash a wave of terrorism on vulnerable and poor citizens.

It further accused the Abuja-based naval-run environmental taskforce of  constituting themselves into a ‘fearsome terror gang’ who go about harassing innocent teenage girls in major streets of Abuja in broad daylight in the guise of arresting ladies of easy virtue. The rights group asked President Jonathan to direct the Chief of Naval Staff to immediately redeploy these naval operatives to the crime infested High seas [crude oil right of ways] to fortify Nigeria’s protective mechanism against the increasing and unprecedented rate of theft of Nigeria’s crude oil by syndicates.

HURIWA in a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said Nigeria as a nation state and a member of the United Nations is obliged to ensure that citizens are not subjected to torture and illegal detention because these abridgement of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry are absolutely detested and condemned.

It said that human rights organisations may be compelled to report Nigeria to the United Nations Security Council for running and tolerating state-sponsored terrorism if the Nigerian Government fails to take immediate, verifiable and firm action to remedy these anomalies and primitive violations of the human rights of Nigerians.

The rights group stated thus: “Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states unequivocally that ‘No one SHALL be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ and Article 7 provides that ‘Everyone are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law...’

“We in the human rights community frown strongly against the continuous existence of illegal detention centers and indeed torture chambers that are run by virtually all the state governments and the Federal Capital Territory administration but the most notorious offenders in this category of running torture chambers with tax payers money are the Lagos state government and the Federal Capital Territory administration whereby innocent poor  citizens struggling to eke out a living are constantly harassed; physically and sexually violated and bundled into rickety pick up vans guarded by armed security operatives and dumped like prisoners of war into dingy and poorly ventilated illegal detention centers whereby they are extorted and their wares captured and dispossessed by these rogue officials of these government agencies.”

The group said it was evil for state governments that failed in their mandate and social contract with the people to deliver functional social welfare services and workable infrastructure and strong institutions to empower the ordinary people economically to now turn back to run torture chambers whereby struggling poor Nigerians are detained; harassed and dispossessed of their hard earned wares/commercial assets in the guise of enforcement of some obnoxious and suffocating environmental edicts which violate the principle and letters of the chapter four of the 1999 constitution and all international humanitarian and legal obligations entered into by the Nigerian State.

Photo shows President Jonathan.

Source: News Express

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