Human Rights Writers Association of HURIWA, has described as irresponsible, irrational and vacuous, a statement credited to the Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that Nigeria’s insecurity is no longer severe.
“Once more, we in the human rights community representing the voiceless and oppressed citizens of Nigeria and inviting the cabinet-level minister of information to travel by road with no security cover from Abuja to Zamfara, Katsina, Borno and then back to Abuja through the Lokoja/Kwali Abuja Federal Highway,” HURIWA challenged the minister in a statement signed by Emmanuel Onwubiko, its National Coordinator.
The group said while making the journey, the Minister should stop over at the Okene highway near Ajaokuta in Kogi State, adding if the minister is able to embark on this journey which should be televised live on NTA, Trust television and AIT then maybe his statement about improved security may be listened to by right thinking human beings that are rational.
“We find it completely ludicrous but insensitive, reckless and unacceptable that in the face of the heightened security challenges confronting Nigerians including the 28 bus passengers in Ondo that were just kidnapped into the Ondo forests by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, the holder of the office of information minister will continue to assault our sensibilities and spread fake news,” it added.
HURIWA said the information minister must be living on a very distant planet from the earth for him not to be aware that in some parts of Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, armed terrorists have started carrying out government jobs and reportedly arresting petty thieves and handing them over to the police.
The group reminded the minister that in parts of Kaduna State and Zamfara State, farmers now pay taxes to terrorists even as a terrorist kingpin was recently inaugurated as a traditional title holder in Zamfara depicting a failed state.
Also, HURIWA recalled that a few days ago, elders of rural communities in Katsina State lamented that men in their villages now work as slaves on farms ‘owned’ by bandits, even as the hoodlums have developed a taste for constantly raping married women and teenage girls.
Besides HURIWA narrated that a newly posted Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State, was kidnapped and for weeks has been in chains.
The rights group specifically recalled that the DPO was abducted along the notorious Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway around 9am a few weeks back on his way to assume duty at his new place of assignment, according to sources who confirmed the incident to journalists on conditions of anonymity.
It said it was not clear whether the police officer was travelling alone in the vehicle when he was abducted or not, as the Kaduna State Police Command was yet to issue an official statement on the development.
The advocacy group recalled that the Birnin Gwari local government area of the State has been in the news lately for various attacks and abductions by terrorists, and it was on Sunday that a terrorist group known as Ansaru issued a statement banning political activities in some communities of the local government area.
The Rights group stated that as of today, reports have it that friends of the abducted DPO have paid over 5 million Naira requested ransom including motorcycles and hard drugs given to the terrorists but even the bearer of the ransom was kidnapped and the DPO still in chains.
In direct contradiction to these facts and realities, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, reassured Nigerians that the worst of insecurity in the country is over. He hinted that although there might still be pockets of attacks nationwide, he pointed out that the situation can never be worse.
He made the submission at a joint press briefing with three other heads of ministries, including Ministers of Defence, Bashir Magashi; Police, Dr. Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi and Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
Also at the briefing were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor and chief executives of agencies under the Ministry of Interior.
The purpose of the forum, Mohammed stated, was to inform Nigerians about the security situation in the country. He noted that while the most populous black nation might not be there yet, the military and other security agencies, nevertheless, have succeeded substantially in containing insecurity.
The minister said, “As far as the daunting security challenges we face are concerned, we can tell you that the worst is over. Never again will terrorists and bandits and their cohorts hold sway in our country.
“President (Muhammadu) Buhari’s directive to the military to crush those terrorising our citizens is working, hence, peace and security are gradually being restored to the country.” He stated that the government remained committed to ensuring that no one is in the captivity of bandits.
HURIWA has therefore encouraged Nigerians to take steps to provide self-defence to themselves in any way possible because the Right to life guaranteed by the Constitution in Section 33(1) can’t be remedied once the citizens are slaughtered by marauding terrorists who are now on a rampage even as the government officials are bandying fake news that security has improved. Besides, the Rights group is appealing to the international community to help save Nigerians from imminent deaths from the terrorist attacks of daredevil criminals and terrorists.