The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has strongly thrown its support to the proposal to expel Nigeria from the Commonwealth upon allegations of a genocide against Christians in some sections of the country.
The group in a statement issued by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and director of national media affairs, Ms. Zainab Yusuf, the group disagreed with the stance of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and presidential media aides that there was no genocide in the country as alleged by a group of British lawmakers.
The lawmakers had in a letter dated September 14, addressed to Patricia Scotland; Secretary-General of the Commonwealth noted that the failure of the Federal Government to protect Nigerians was a breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter.
Those who signed the letter to the Commonwealth scribe include Baroness Cox, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC, Jim Shannon, MP, Lord Williams of Oystermouth ( a former Archbishop of Canterbury) and Lord Carey of Clifton, also a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Others are Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Lord Bishop of Coventry; Philip Mounstephen, Lord Bishop of Truro; Lord Stoddart of Swindon; Lord Anderson of Swansea; Lord Cormack; Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC; Ayo Adedoyin of International Organization for Peace and Social Justice and Ewelina Ochab of Coalition for Genocide Response.
Mervyn Thomas, CSW; Dr Khataza Gondwe, CSW; Neville Kyrke-Smith of Aid to the Church in Need (UK); Dr John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International and Ann Buwalda of Jubilee Campaign also signed the letter.
The lawmakers had while alluding to a report by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, the lawmakers observed that thousands of civilians have been killed and that “elements of the Nigerian government may be complicit in violence”.
Responding to the development, HURIWA in a statement made available to GWG said:
“Contrary to the responses from the All Progressives Congress and the Presidential Media Aides evidence of orchestrated genocide against Christians abound. In response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions, the Christian Solidarity International on January 30, 2020, had issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action.
“This year alone, especially in Kaduna State, North Central region of Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen have unleashed gruesome attacks and terrors on defenseless citizens all in Christian dominated communities of the state.
“These attacks took place in Christian dominated communities in the southern part of the state some of these communities are: Kemari Rimi, Kallah, Gefe, Libere, Maraban Kajuru, Maraban Rido, Rafin Roro, Kawuwan Magani and Buda.
“Muslim Fulani herdsmen have also unleashed heinous attacks on Zipkak community in Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Gora Gan village, in the north-central state’s Zangon Kataf County, Kukum Daji, in Kaura County.
“Other Christian communities captured by the menacing killer Fulani herdsmen are Katchia County, Chibuak, Kigudu, Anguwan Audu, Doka, Afogo, Kallah, Gefe and Libere, Ladugga, Maraban, Sabon Gari, Gusawa village and Kauru County.
“In the midst of the scores of these gruesome attacks in Kaduna State, neither the President nor the governor has never made any sympathy visit to the communities, let alone take steps to alleviate their suffering by providing relief materials to the displaced. These threatened communities have consequently relocated to surrounding communities, thereby creating a very serious humanitarian situation.
“This effort by these concerned UK Parliamentarians therefore highlights the urgent concerns about escalating violence in Nigeria, where attacks, led by Boko Haram, Fulani herders and other Islamist militia continue in northern and central-belt states, with reports of increasing violence in the South-East.
“It also highlights “the state’s failure to protect its citizens, which is a clear breach of its obligations under the Commonwealth Charter in respect of human rights.
“We are by this statement backing this action and condemning with deepest dismay the indefensible statements by the APC and the Presidential Spokespersons distorting and trivializing the orchestrated heinous attacks on Christians by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
“Why is the Federal and Kaduna State government so comfortable with this anomalous situation of ARMIES OF OCCUPATION in Christian communities even when by their oaths they swore to defend the constitution and the Constitution guarantees Rights to life, rights to own properties and other fundamental freedoms, yet the government seems to be actively encouraging these attacks.
“The case of the constant harassment of Obadiah Mailafiya by the Department of State Security for raising alarm based on intelligence about the involvement of a certain governor in terrorism and the witch hunt of a journalist in Plateau state by the DSS for disclosing a credible intelligence he got about impending Fulani attack are examples.”