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2019: ‘You can’t ban Igbo from travelling’

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[FILE PHOTO] Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Co-ordinator OF HURIWA

A Pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the reported ban from travelling for the 2019 election by Igbo speaking Nigerians resident in the 19 Northern states as disclosed by a socio-cultural club – Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) in Kaduna.

HURIWA accused the socio-cultural club of displaying either crass ignorance of the constitutional tenets on fundamental freedoms including freedom of movement or the group may simply be playing the political game of some persons who are totally confused anarchists who pay no heed to the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

In a media statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, yesterday, in Abuja, against the backdrop of the story in circulation about a purported ban from travelling to the South East from the 19 Northern states for purposes of the 2019 polls, HURIWA said such a brazen disrespect to the provisions of the constitution is an affront to civilization and must be disregarded by all right thinking free citizens of Nigeria.

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HURIWA also reminded the authors of the illegal ban that their public notice amounted to a breach of the section 42 (1) of the constitution, which prohibits discrimination since all other ethnic nationalities cannot come under such a blanket ban that is absolutely illegal and unconstitutional.

Specifically, section 42 (1) states thus: “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person – be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizen of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizen Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions.”

Besides, HURIWA also cited sections 40 and 41 which allow citizens of Nigeria the right to either belong to any association or not and the fundamental right to enjoy freedom of movement.

In Section 40, it is enshrined that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.

“Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.”

HURIWA however cautioned the group to refrain from imposing extralegal measures against citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even if they may be registered members of the body just as the rights group said it was inconceivable that in this 21st century a group could come up with such medieval body of rules which absolutely offends the clear provisions of the Nigerian constitution which permits freedom of movement to all Nigerians.

 


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