HURIWA wants Children’s Day, Democracy Day celebrations suspended
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decided to petition the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to demand that they put pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to take concrete measures to end the incessant violent kidnapping of Nigerian students by different armed non-state actors.
In a statement, the group said: “We suspect that some officials of Federal Government agencies and security forces are benefiting from the kidnapping of students through ransom payment. We also think that Nigeria will appear hypocritical in the eyes of the international community if the nation under this government goes ahead to celebrate the forthcoming Children’s Day and Democracy Day either on May 29th or June 12th without recusing the kidnapped Greenfield University students within 24 hours from today.
“The Federal Government should attend to the emerging news that a 400 level student of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Toyinbo Nathaniel Olayinka, has been abducted in a private farm at Abule-Itoko, Odeda along Ibadan road.
“Abule-Itoko, where the student was reportedly abducted around 8 a.m on Saturday, is about 25 minutes drive from the university’s permanent site at Alabata Road, Abeokuta.”
HURIWA quoted a friend of the student and a nursing mother who witnessed his abduction as saying he was kidnapped by gunmen at a private farm in Abule-Itoko, where he has been living and working as a practising livestock farmer in the last three years to sustain himself as a self-sponsored indigent student of the university.
The management of the university has reported the abduction at Ogun State Police Command headquarters, Eleweeran and it is working earnestly with the police to ensure the safety and release of the kidnapped student.
In the statement, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said: “We are calling for the suspension of this year’s Children’s Day and Democracy Day celebrations. And Nigeria will look like a banana republic in the eyes of the world if we go ahead celebrating while the Nigerian students are constantly being kidnapped and their fundamental human rights are being violated on daily basis and the government shows a lack of interest to protect these rights. Also, constitutional democracy suffers when the government is incapable of defending the citizens because the primary legal obligation of government is the protection of life and property of the citizens.
“It is shameful that the government has serially failed to rescue the remaining Chibok Secondary School girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists for so many years, even when that was the first promise Buhari made to win election in 2015 and on which he has failed to deliver.
“Aside from failing to rescue the remaining Chibok girls, the government also failed to stop the kidnap of Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State. Although the government went ahead and rescued some of the girls and left the only Christian among them named Leah Sheribu with Boko Haram terrorists to date, this government has failed the credibility test to defend Nigerian children/students. The government cannot be seen celebrating Children’s Day and it would not make sense to mark Democracy Day when it can’t defend the fundamental freedoms of the citizens. This is why it makes no sense celebrating children you refused to protect.”
HURIWA queried: why has Buhari’s administration failed to arrest and prosecute the armed Fulani militants who kidnapped students in Zamfara, Kastina and Niger State; why is the government promoting impunity and lawlessness; why the selective enforcement of the law by Buhari’s administration?
“Whereas this government refused to arrest Fulani kidnappers of students in the North, it has sent troops armed to their teeth to the South East to shoot-on-sight suspected members of IPOB just for setting up Eastern Security Network (ESN) to allegedly go after armed Fulani herdsmen terrorising farmers in the South East?
This is apartheid policy.”
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