Assault, beheading of politicians symptomatic of weak policing, failed state, says HURIWA
The reported attacks on presidential and gubernatorial contestants like Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) in Katsina; Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar in Maiduguri; PDP governorship candidate Abdul-Azeez Adediran (aka Jandor) in Lagos, as well as beheading of politicians by non-state actors in Imo and Anambra states are symptomatic of collapsed police system and failed state, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has declared.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the rights group said with the seeming breakdown of law and order, next month’s election might be marred by “uncontrollable violence, except President Muhammadu Buhari declares a nationwide security emergency and deploy special forces all around the country to deal decisively with armed non-state actors.”
HURIWA charged government to institute extensive investigations to fish out public office holders and heads of security agencies escalating violent attacks against political opponents, even as it lamented the “failure of the National Assembly to successfully alter some sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) to bring into being the creation of state police with oversight functions of a centralised authority in Abuja.”
The group recalled that the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council confirmed the alleged attack on its principal after a rally in Katsina on Monday.
It said the assault took place after Obi had met with women in a town hall and held a rally at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium. He was said to be heading for the airport when his motorcade was pelted by hoodlums, resulting in substantial damage to the vehicle he was riding in.
HURIWA quoted a statement by the campaign’s Head of Media, Diran Onifade, as saying: “Subsequently, another set of thugs also threw stones outside the stadium which damaged several vehicles, including that of our official stage crew.
“The two incidents taken together make us suspect that the attacks may have been premeditated at the behest of desperate politicians, who had been deluding themselves with the false claim that they had the North-West locked up, but are now shocked by the show of force of the Obidient movement in the region.”
The rights body also backed the call by Executive Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade, who on Tuesday, in Abuja, asked for bulletproof jackets to be provided for journalists, especially cameramen, covering next month’s general elections.