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*HURIWA Accuses Abia, Katsina And Kaduna State Governments Of Intolerance:

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Worried by the undue use of the state owned media institutions in Abia State to consistently demonize opposition politicians and especially the All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA] Governorship Candidate in the 2015 February Governorship Election Mr. Alex Otti by the Abia state Government, a pro-democracy Non-Governmental Organization-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has challenged the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission [NBC] to sanction these broadcasting agencies to serve as deterrent to others.

HURIWA said it was unconstitutional, absolutely illegal and the height of moral depravity that the Abia state government will put the office of the State ministry of information and the publicly funded electronic media houses to the partisan services of only the current state ruling party-Peoples Democratic Party's governorship Candidate Dr Okezie Ikpeazu when in fact those institutions belong rightly to the generality of the tax payers and good people of Abia State.

The Rights group also faulted the involvement of the holder of the office of commissioner for information in Abia state serviced with tax payers money from operating as the propaganda chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party's governorship candidate. The Rights group said that it is a gross violation of the relevant provisions of the extant and binding electoral Act which prohibits the use of government fund for electioneering campaign even as it has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to check these excesses of the Abia state commissioner for information.

Besides, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has also carpeted the Kaduna and Katsina State Governors Mr Remalan Yero and Alhaji Ibrahim Shema for reportedly making veiled threats against political opponents who are campaigning for the seats of governors of those states in the forthcoming polls. The Rights group said it was unbelievable that several weeks after a section of the investigative online media community in Nigeria made the shocking allegations that Kastina State Governor reportedly called on his supporters to attack political opponents of the ruling party in the state because they are like cockroaches and the Kaduna state governor was allegedly caught on the recorded tape warning that his political platform will return 'fire-for-fire' against perceived political adversaries, the Nigerian Law enforcement agencies have failed to take up the challenge to investigate these damaging revelations and take proactive security measures to forestall the breakdown of law and order.

HURIWA has therefore blamed the failure of the law enforcement agencies to probe these range of allegations of threats to unleash violence for the reported inter-party unrests that took place in Kaduna city on Tuesday February 3rd 2015 which has resulted in the reported  killing of undetermined number of party loyalists on both sides of the political divides in the state. The Rights group warned the state governors not to hide under the mistaken impression of immunity clause under section 308 of the Nigerian constitution to allegedly undermine the rule of law since according to it the immunity provisions does not preclude investigation of alleged crime and prosecution of the culprits even after the expiration of the constitutional terms of office.

HURIWA also warned political opposition parties in Kaduna state to stop their overzealous members from throwing stones at the convoys of the Kaduna state governor during his ongoing reelection campaign. The police and other law enforcement institutions must arrest and prosecute these political hoodlums to stop the escalation of political violence in the eve of this landmark elections.

In a statement jointly authorized by the national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA stated that; ” We are worried about the one sided and destructive use to which the Abia State government has put the Abia state owned Radio and television to specifically and consistently target the demonization of the governorship candidate of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance [APGA] Mr. Alex Otti by peddling unsubstantiated and outrightly false allegations of arming private militia. We note with apprehension that the Abia State governor has further elevated the wrong use of the state media to carry out political vendetta and other callous political attacks of perceived strong opponents in the coming election against all ethical codes of professionalism and in breach of the legal provisions which prohibits publicly funded media houses from been hijacked and put to the services of only one candidate even when the media houses are funded by the tax payers. The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission must wake up from slumber and carry out oversight functions and sanction these defaulting media houses so as to restore a sense of decorum and decency.”

HURIWA has also called on the Chief of Defense Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the Inspector General of Police Mr Suleiman Abba and the Director General of Department of State Services [DSS]  Mr. Ita Ekpeyong to rein in their men and operatives in all the states of the federation and ensure that they remain objectively neutral and avoid being used by ruling parties in the various states of the federation or the national ruling party to execute politically motivated gestapo styled military attacks against perceived political opponents. “The national authorities of the Nigerian Security Agencies and Institutions must not allow their operatives and officers to be hijacked by moneybag politicians and the state governors who operate as emperors and dictators to witch-hunt perceived political opponents who are vigorously but legally campaigning to democratically dethrone them at the forthcoming elections”.

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