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04.08.2013 Nigeria


By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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Amid criticism of the illegal expulsion of some destitute from Lagos state to head bridge at Onitsha in Anambra state by officials of the Lagos state Government, a call from HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has gone to the National Assembly, the Police Service Commission; the National Human Rights Commission and President Good luck Jonathan to set up investigative panels to unravel the circumstances surrounding the existence of illegal and unconstitutional torture and detention centers run by state governments through their environmental task forces and in the nation's federal capital territory and order their closure after identifying the masterminds of such labor camps who should be prosecuted for crime against humanity.

Besides, the Rights group has called on the President and commander-in-chief 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 will organize the nation's military and armed the operatives into some opaque taskforces to unduly unleash a wave of terrorism on vulnerable and poor citizens.

HURIWA further accused the Abuja-based Naval -run environmental taskforce of constituting themselves into '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 virtues. 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.

In a media statement authorized jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] said evidence gathered by human rights campaigners from the deportees who were expelled and dropped at the Onitsha head bridge by the Lagos state government goes to show that there exists multiple number of illegal torture chambers in Lagos state run by the notorious Lagos Environmental taskforce [KAI] just as the group said the existence of these illegal detention centers offends the chapter four of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [as amended] on the human rights provisions; the African charter on human and peoples rights and the Universal Declaration of Human rights which Nigeria had since signed on to.

HURIWA 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 organizations 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".

HURIWA which also condemns the slow remedial mechanism of such bodies as the Police Service Commission; National Human Rights Commission; and the notoriously incompetent Public Complaints Commission, has charged the National Assembly and President Jonathan to order the nation-wide probe of the allegations of existence of illegal detention centers across the country and to order the closure of these torture chambers and the prosecution of the operatives of these unconstitutional contraptions for the gross violations of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.

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.

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