By Ed Malik, A | September 14, 2022

For making an incendiary, very dangerous, toxic and absolutely unthinkable statement that the labour party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi was plotting a fake attempted assassination against himself, a call has gone to the heads of the nation’s security services to arrest the junior minister for labour Mr. Festus Keyamo, so he can provide all the information that he has about the phantom assassination plot he spoke about.

HURIWA has also tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Festus Keyamo of the public office of a minister because he can’t hold public funded office and at the same time be engaging in a virtually full time private duty as staff of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

The Rights group said this is absolutely unethical and unconstitutional since one person cannot at the same time draw public and private funds whilst essentially engaging in a strictly private partisan duties for All Progressives Congress.

HURIWA said for the fact that only few hours ago a prominent Anambra Senator Ifeanyi Ubah was nearly assassinated by armed attackers in Anambra State and given that many political stalwarts have either been killed by assassins or kidnapped all across the country with the relevant security agencies not solving almost any of these attacks and violent killings of politicians, the reckless statement by Festus Keyamo should not be overlooked just as the civil rights group said it is much more effective to prevent an incident from happening than do nothing until something happens and then for the relevant security agents to activate their usual fire brigade approach.

Besides, the prominent civil sights group – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, which made the call, has also called on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Muhammadu Buhari that it is unconstitutional to continue to deploy huge numbers of operatives of the publicly funded security forces for purely political assignments for only the interest of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential flagbearer Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Speaking on the vacuous allegation that the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate was planning a phantom assassination plot against his person as made by the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, the rights group affirmed that the reckless statement is a direct affront to national security and is as satanic and destructive as the spread of fake news and hate speech which precipitate hate crimes.

HURIWA has also asked the Nigerian Bar Association to be worried that someone who wears a title of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) could come up with such a sensational allegation just to massage the ego of his political paymasters.

HURIWA recalled that the junior minister who still earns salary/juicy allowances as a public office holder but works as a partisan appointee of a private candidate in the 2023 general elections as the Director of Media and Public Affairs and Official Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, on Monday, alleged that the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, was planning to fake an assassination attempt on himself and hire some supporters dressed in the APC caps and T-shirts to attack some of his party offices.

The rights group in a statement said that Keyamo’s statement partly read, “Our attention has been drawn to an offensive, hate-filled video made and circulated by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, in which he accused an amorphous and non-existent “Tinubu’s Group” of spreading a WhatsApp message calling on the Yoruba people not to vote for him. The purported message, according to Mr. Obi, forewarned the Yoruba that a vote for Obi would be a vote for a seaport in South-South and South-East.

“We are also aware that plans are afoot by Mr. Peter Obi to fake an assassination attempt on himself and hire Labour Party boys dressed in the APC caps and T-shirts to attack some Labour Party offices. It is all part of the “US Plan”. Firstly, we vehemently deny the existence of any of such “Tinubu group” that made and circulated such a message.”

Reacting to Keyamo’s allegation, Obi’s Media Aide, Emeka Obasi, described it as fallacious.

The former Anambra State governor’s image maker said he was surprised it was coming from a personality like Keyamo.

He said: “It is a fallacy! You, media people, should also know when you see something fallacious. Does Peter look like someone who pretends or fakes things? What do we gain to start faking assassination attempt? Are they in anyway trying to carry out such attempt and seeking on blaming Obi for it? The public deserves to know and that’s what we should put up in the press.

“Does Keyamo know more than we know and just using this opportunity to cry wolf? What is his plan for uttering this kind of statement? Does he think Obi is part of the Old Order who are always desperate for power? Whenever he says ‘Go and verify’, does it look like scheming?

“But we are aware of what Keyamo has done before. It is not out of place for him to say things like Obi is attempting to fake his assassination attempt? It is a terrible thing to say,” Peter Obi’s Spokesperson affirmed.

HURIWA speaking against the backdrops of the controversial statement by Festus Keyamo believes that if Nigeria truly practises constitutional democracy, the junior minister Mr. Keyamo should have by now be cooling off at one of the head offices of the law enforcement agencies in Abuja to answer a few questions on all that he knows concerning the phantom assassination plot which he alleged sensationally without any shreds of empirical data against the Labour Party’s candidate.

HURIWA has also challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sanction political parties employing toxic hate filled sentiments such as the one just made by Mr. Keyamo.

On what it calls misuse and abuse of power by the President and Commander –in–Chief of the Armed Forces concerning deployment of armed security services for purely political assignments, HURIWA said the massive deployment of armed security forces in Lagos when Bola Ahmed Tinubu arrived Lagos after winning the presidential primary election of APC and the huge numbers of security operatives that created nightmares for citizens going about their businesses in Abuja when APC’s presidential candidate attended the last week’s national meeting of his party are illegal, vexatious and suspicious.

HURIWA recalled that last week security was beefed up in around the National Secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the hosting of the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu by the National Working Committee (NWC).

The party’s flagbearer was then expected to be accompanied by his running mate, Senator Kassim Shetima and the Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong.

Security operatives were observed at strategic positions leading to the party’s National Secretariat on Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.

The rights group expressed worry that if the central government continues to politicize the armed forces of Nigeria to do the bidding of All progressives Congress then there is no guarantee that the military won’t interfere with the conduct of 2023 general elections.

HURIWA is asking the President to be a Statesman and to stop misusing the operatives of the armed security forces funded by the members of the public.

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