Huriwa Condemns Persecution Of Women Protesters;

*Demands Proscription Of Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association As Terrorist Group:

A prominent civil Rights organization- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as A needless but extensively planned persecution of over 100 Imo state mothers arrested and clamped into prison by the Imo State government over their participation in a peaceful protest to demand the whereabouts of the director of the Europe registered Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Prince Nnamdi Kanu and his Royal Parents who disappeared after their house was invaded and attacked by armed security forces.

HURIWA condemned the unconstitutional action of the Imo state police command which deployed crude tactics and brute force to crush an otherwise peaceful protest by the women in Owerri Imo state just as the Rights group said it was incredibly unbelievable that a group of

citizens constructively demanding accountability and clarity from the Federal Government on the exact whereabouts of some citizens from the South East of Nigeria who disappeared as a result of military assault on their compound in UMUAHIA, could be rounded up and driven to prison.

HURIWA also condemned as a deliberate state sponsored violations of the fundamental rights of the women and a choreographed plot to detain the women indefinitely, the decision of the Police to arraign the women in a magistrate court when the police authority knew that they lack any verifiable and cogent evidence to sustain the bogus charges for which these protesting women were slammed before a court that immediately ruled that it lacked jurisdiction. HURIWA accused the Imo state police of using backhand tactics to cause the prolonged detention of the peaceful women marchers who from all indications did not commit any known offence in a constitutional democracy by demanding the production of citizens whose forced disappearance has yet to be sufficiently explained by the Federal Government which deployed the military force that caused the disappearances in the first instance.

HURIWA recalled that a magistrate court in Owerri, Imo State capital, on Monday remanded in custody at least 112 women suspected to be sympathetic to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). "This action of the magistrate court in remanding the women protesters is irregular, illegal and unconstitutional even going by the pronouncement of the magistrate that the forum lacks jurisdiction over the matter because if the court lacks jurisdiction to grant bail why did it exercise jurisdiction that it doesn't have in remanding in prison the respondents that were brought before the Court?"

HURIWA recalled that the women, who were arraigned on eight count charges, were arrested in Owerri by the police on Friday while they were

protesting and demanding that the federal government produce the leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu and his Parents.

HURIWA recalled that the protesting women claimed that the security agencies knew the whereabouts of Mr Kanu who has been out of public view since he had an encounter with the military in Umuahia about a year ago.

HURIWA however strongly condemned the police for the apparent show of force which was in display when armed police operatives attacked the unarmed protesting wome; injuring several of these women before arresting over one hundred of them.

HURIWA said the Nigerian Constitution recognises the right to assemble freely even as the Rights group affirmed that the protesting women were only exercising their constitutionally protected Rights to demand from government the production of some citizens whose whereabouts are unknown after their residence in UMUAHIA Abia State were attacked by armed security forces on the orders of the President.

"We demand the unconditional release of these women and the prosecution of the armed Police operatives who deployed brute force to crush their peaceful assembly which is a guaranteed right under the Nigerian Constitution and several international human rights instruments.

Relatedly, the Rights group has condemned the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare as a terrorist group the Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association which had repeatedly provided excuses for the killings that have taken place in Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna on the grounds of heist of some of their cows by youths of the communities visited with bloody violence by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen.

The deliberate unwillingness of the President to take the most necessary step of declaring Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association as a terrorist organisation and round up their leaders to face prosecution for the suspected sponsorship of the bloody violence unleashed by armed Fulani herdsmen across farming communities in the North Central States that have resulted in the killings of thousands of citizens is an act of abuse of power and has emboldened these persons parading about as Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association to constitute a big threat to national security and constitutional democracy to an extent that the organisation has threatened to unseat the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr Bukola Saraki following his decision to defect to the leading opposition party- Peoples Democratic Party.

"It is the height of irresponsibility for the heads of the various security institutions to let the officials of Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association get away with the serious issue of constituting grave threats to the national security of Nigeria only because these heads of the national security team of the current administration are made up largely of persons sharing SAME Ethno Religious affiliations with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association which had consistently defended the various attacks masterminded by armed Fulani herdsmen across the Country on the allegations of theft of their cows by the communities attacked. The Federal government under Muhammadu Buhari hurriedly branded a terror organisation totally unarmed group known as the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) registered in Europe and has unleashed venoms of police crackdown on their sympathisers but has refused to decisively crush the most dangerous group of people who have never hidden their support for the blood cuddling violence unleashed by their members- the armed fulani herdsmen. The police and other armed security forces are now been used to hunt for innocent civilians and women who are protesting over the sudden disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu and his Parents. Whilst those heading the National security architecture under Muhammadu Buhari look the other way as Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association even makes open threats against the head of the National Assembly the armed Police are being used to violently crush the peaceful gathering of grandmothers and mothers from the South East of Nigeria. This injustice is absolutely condemnable and despicable to put it mildly. We condemn this open double standards that have become the hallmark of the current federal government. Nigerians of good conscience must stand up and speak out before some undesirable elements are allowed to destroy the fabric that holds us together as one nation under the federation of Nigeria".