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Foiled Imo Bombing: Group Slams HURIWA Over Shettima, Seeks Drastic Action Against Terrorism

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 17, (THEWILL) - A non governmental organisation, the Northeast Security Advocacy Forum, Tuesday, slammed the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) over the latter's allegation against Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, warning it against bringing tribal sentiment and unpatriotic action into the fight against terrorism in the country.

A statement issued by the group noted that though most terrorism acts in the country were targeted at the North-east geopolitical zone, there has been few cases in other parts of the country as well.

It therefore warned HURIWA not to link the botched Imo bombing with recent comments by Shettima.

Shettima had recently raised the alarm that the Boko Haram insurgency could as well spread to other parts of the country if not adequately contained.

The group said it was unfortunate that HURIWA National coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, alleged that Shettima's statement was an indication that the governor whose state has been under Boko Haram siege for five years now may have something to do with the sect.

But in a reaction, coordinator of the Northeast Security Advocacy Forum, Mrs. Stephennie Joshua, warned against introducing ethnic sentiments to HURIWA's activities, saying the statement of the association over the Imo botched bombing published in the papers points to that direction.

Lamenting that her group was surprised that despite all the serial attacks and killings in parts of the North-east that have claimed so many innocent lives, in addition to abductions, rape, destruction of communities and public buildings, HURIWA under Onwubiko's watch has kept mute only to find its voices now that improvised explosive devices were found in Imo.

According to Joshua, “Human rights activists are supposed to be detribalised, we have been working in the South-east and other parts of Nigeria. Human rights activists are supposed to ‎be patriotic.'

She maintained that “All the years that we have been suffering in Adamawa, Borno,Yobe, Bauchi and Taraba, HURIWA kept suspicious silence, HURIWA was dead. Now that bomb was found in Imo, Onwubiko came out to raise false accusations against one of our governors in the North-east that has been doing everything to address the problem.' Joshua stated further: “Is it because Onwubiko is from the South-east that HURIWA is now raised from the dead? We take serious exception to unwarranted attacks on any of our governors that are bearing the brunt of Boko Haram. HURIWA tried to draw a dubious analogy of what Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno said last week at a security conference our members attended in Kaduna.

“The Governor rightly said that if we don't contain Boko Haram in the North-east, they will extend to other parts of the north and after that they may attack the South. This is a logical analogy. After all, even before Shettima spoke at that conference, the Army in Port Harcourt had last year arrested Boko Haram explosives in Rivers State, police have done same in Lagos last year and last year, too, someone was arrested trying to plant bomb in Bayelsa, are these places not part of the South; wasn't the security agencies that first raised the alarm before Shettima's analogy?

“Besides, the Governor's remark as he said in his keynote has a good basis because like he analysed, Boko Haram was first restricted to Yobe State in 2002, in 2004 they attacked Bama and Gwoza Local Government Areas in Borno, in 2007 they attacked Panshekara in Kano, in July 2009 they attacked Bauchi and Maiduguri. In 2012 they attacked Abuja, Niger, and Kogi States, in 2013, they attacked Kaduna and now they are suspected to be in Plateau, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara States under the guise of herdsmen.”

According to Joshua, “Governors like Suswam had said this before, so what is new with Shettima's well educating and appreciated keynote at that conference? Is it because he is an APC man or because he is from the North-east who are now regarded as second class Nigerians? “Enough of this rubbish. We expect HURIWA to champion the rights of thousands of people being killed in the North-east and those abducted but not to be used by politicians merely to get at the APC. The whole aim of HURIWA's sponsored remark is a calculated plot to link APC to that bomb. Why is HURIWA not asking whether the bomb was planted in an APC State in the South so as to continue to blackmail that insecurity is mostly in APC States? Onwubiko should please come out and join politics if that is what he wants. He shouldn't disguise please.”