HURIWA Decries Unmitigated Attacks on Leading Politicians on Campaign Train as Evidence of Failed Police Administration
By Ed Malik, A | January 26, 2023

Prominent civil rights advocacy group- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the violent attacks by armed hoodlums in Katsina that targeted Peter Obi the Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate and the violent attacks on the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in Maiduguri Borno State and governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos Abdul-Azeez Adediran(Jandor) show that generally, policing has collapsed spectacularly.

HURIWA said the serial beheading of politicians by unidentified armed non state actors in Imo, Anambra States and the killings of political opposition politicians in Ebonyi State without any form of effective investigative actions and resolutions leading to arrests of the suspected killers and attackers, are symptomatic of a failed State even as Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the clear collapse of the Nigeria Police Force in terms of the enforcement of the law shows that next Month’s election may 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 is also calling on the government to institute extensive investigation to fish out politicians in public offices and the heads of the armed security forces enabling the escalation of violent attacks targeting political opponents of political office holders even as the Rights group lamented that the failure of the National Assembly to successfully alter some sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 to bring into being the creation of state police with oversight functions of a centralized authority in Abuja is the major cause of the widening spectres and the ever expanding frontiers of terror related attacks against political opposition politicians in some States.

The Rights group recalled that the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council had condemned the alleged attack on the campaign train of its candidate, Peter Obi, after a rally in Katsina on Monday.

HURIWA said that the campaign team of Peter Obi claimed that the attack took place after Obi had met with women in a townhall and then held a rally at the Muhammad Dikko Stadium just as it will be recalled that Labour Party’s Presidential Candidate Peter Obi took his campaign to Katsina where he promised to tackle hunger, insecurity and unemployment among others. Obi and his campaign team, including his running mate, Datti Baba- Ahmed, told the crowd that they were ready to serve the country with all the strength in them if elected. On his (Obi) way to the airport, hoodlums attacked the car our candidate was riding in with heavy stones from his driver’s side causing substantial damage to the vehicle. “Subsequently, another set of thugs also threw stones outside the stadium which damaged several vehicles including that of our official stage crew,” the campaign team narrated in a statement signed by its Head of Media, Diran Onifade, on Tuesday. “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,” Onifade added.

HURIWA which strongly condemned attacks of opposition politicians in the All Progressives Congress controlled Lagos State, also quoted the PDP’s Governorship Candidate Jandor as expressing frustration on Tuesday at a meeting with the Chief Imam at the Ketu Central Mosque. The PDP flagbearer met the religious leader on the sideline of a scheduled tour of Kosofe Local Government Area.

HURIWA recalled that on October 25, 2022, the Lagos State Police Command said it had commenced a probe into the first attack on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign train. Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin made the announcement on Monday.
The spokesperson confirmed that the party notified the DPO in Badagry of the locations of its visits and security was provided. “However, the campaign train made an unscheduled visit to a totally different and undisclosed location on their way back without commensurate notification to the police,” he said.

HURIWA condemned the Police hierarchy in Abuja and across Nigeria for progressively destroying the capacity of their operatives to proactively combat the threats to lives of Nigerians by terrorists and has called for a quick, decisive but thoroughly thought out reforms of the near moribund police force.

HURIWA Backs the call by Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the IPC executive director, who made the call on Tuesday in Abuja for bullet proof jackets to be made available to journalists who will cover the February general election also affirmed thus: “Bulletproof, why not, especially for cameramen? If the police can give us bulletproof once we are accredited, we will be happy about that. But beyond that, what we are saying is that on election day, know that your own life matters.”

HURIWA recalled at the Presentation of the outcomes of the International Press Centers analysis of trends in reportage of the 2023 election, Mr. Arogundade revealed that 250 journalists were attacked during the 2019 elections in the country and asserted that: “Though no journalist was killed on election day in 2019, 250 journalists were molested across the country, including some of them who were accredited, particularly by overzealous law enforcement agencies,” he said, calling on security agencies to protect journalists covering this year’s elections.”

HURIWA is also calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission in partnership with the media owners in Nigeria to take up life insurance policies for the journalists penciled down for 2023 election coverage. Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria said it will amount to daydreaming for the government to overlook the signals and early warning empirical proofs of how violent the election might be and then put impeccable measures to preempt these attackers and violent terrorists.

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