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Owerri Bomb Scare: We Stand By Our Admonition For Gov. Shetima

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Our attention has been drawn to a story by a group identified as Northeast Security Advocacy Forum circulating in some online news portals [including those that failed to run our initial statement which occasioned the rejoinder which they have carried generously] which is a purported reaction to our earlier statement in which we called on the authorities concerned to probe the statement credited in the media recently to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state that Boko Haram would extend its murderous terrorism activities to the Southern Region should the insurgency be allowed to thrive in the North East.

Our group-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] had in a statement issued on June 16th 2014 in the wake of the June 15th 2014 attempted bomb attacks of five Churches in Owerri, the Imo State Capital by suspected members of the armed Islamic Insurgents asked the five South East states to take preemptive measures to stave off attacks by terrorists even as we asked that the public statement by the Borno state governor be investigated to ascertain whether the attempted bomb attacks in Owerri, Imo state were remotely connected therein to the statement because from studies it is clear that public statements of high profile leaders may indeed provide the needed motivation for renegades and social misfits waging war against the state and the citizenry including their own domain.

HURIWA however clearly stated in the said statement that it has no empirical evidence to link the Borno state governor to the attempted terrorists incursions into the South East even though it advised Politicians to be cautious and circumspect with their public statements so as not to provide psychological motivation for would -be terrorists. HURIWA also commended the Nigeria Police Force and the Winners Church's private security guards for their vigilance which foiled the attempted plot to bomb the Church building and the subsequent arrest of six suspected bombers. HURIWA is a non-partisan, non-political and independent Non-Governmental and democracy inclined membership platform.

In the said statement the North East Security Advocacy Forum through a signatory known as Mrs. Stephanie Joshua poured unrestrained diatribe at the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA'S national Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko alleging that his leadership was using the platform to promote ethnic sentiments even as she accused the Rights group of unduly attacking "one of their governors" in the terrorism infested North East region.

We would not have bordered to respond since most of the allegations are so unfounded and lacked substance but upon several calls by our registered members from all over the World including our affiliate body -the Association of African Writers on Human and Peoples Rights [AFRIRIGHTS], we hereby state that those insinuations made in the public statements of that Northeast Security Advocacy Forum were politically motivated and ill-motivated even as we ask our members to continue to work strenuously as great patriots to uphold democracy, the rule of law and respect for the fundamental freedoms of all Nigerians including the right to freedom of speech which was exercised institutionally by HURIWA in that media statement.

We repeat: "All politically exposed persons in Nigeria must be circumspect in their public statements so as not to fuel the ongoing murderous insurgency which has led to the killing in the most gruesome of fashions by the armed Islamic Insurgents of well over 12, 000 innocent Nigerians including Christians, moderate Muslims, children and the aged and has regrettably destroyed the economy of the North.

For the avoidance of doubts, HURIWA has authored over one thousand pieces on the insurgency in the North East and we have remained in the forefront of the groups championing for national reconciliation, peace, harmony and respect for the rule of law. But we will not fail to point out the wrongs done by public office holders [of all status and political affiliations] since these persons wherever they may be in Nigeria are holding public offices in trust for the Nigerian public including members of HURIWA spread all over Nigeria and beyond.

HURIWA had not too long ago commended the Borno state First Lady for her advocacy activities which are geared towards promoting the human rights of widows made so by the activities of the armed terrorists. HURIWA only last week condemned the call by Chief Edwin Clark for the removal of the North East governors as part of the extended emergency rule in the three North East states. We then wonder why this NORTH East Security Advocacy Forum never saw that publication which circulated extensively in the media but were quick to notice the so-called attack on the governor of Borno state.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko;
National Coordinator