May go to court
By Segun Olaniyi
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has warned the Federal Government of the far-reaching consequences of dialoguing or encouraging dialogues through so-called back channels with bandits and terrorists threatening national security.
The group said it was considering suing President Muhammadu Buhari and National Assembly to compel executive and legislative arms of government to enforce the counter-terror Act, should principal actors in the federal cabinet continue to actively sympathise and fraternise with terrorists and armed bandits in clear violations of the extant law.
According to HURIWA, the decision of President Buhari to tolerate dialogues with terrorists as championed by the Kaduna Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, is highly treasonous and breaches the extant counter-terrorism law.
In a statement signed yesterday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA expressed shock and consternation with the language employed by Gumi in the so-called dialogues with terrorists.
HURIWA said: “If it is true that the Moslem cleric blamed Christian members of the armed forces for the killings of the armed bandits, then this is an act of treason taken too far if proven.
“Why did the Department of State Services (DSS) and police harass, humiliate and intimidate the Christian Southern Kaduna-born erstwhile deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafiya, for revealing that a northern governor knows more about the terror attacks in the north, but these same security institutions are watching as Gumi is violating the counter-terror Act by dialoguing with terrorists and even having knowledge of the exact locations of heavily armed non-state actors and terrorists who have many kidnapped school children?”
The group condemned activities of the Kaduna-based Gumi, accusing him of interfering with the war on terror, undermining national security and portraying the country as a lawless contraption whereby the counter-terror law means nothing and should not be applied to some categories of terrorists because of their ethnicity or religion.
“Dialoguing with terrorists and armed bandits negates the essence of the extant counter-terror law and does not meet the threshold of the legal necessity of extending public support to the war on terror. In fact, the toleration of the active sabotage of existing law portrays the country as a banana Republic whereby some terrorists are better than the rest.
“No policy of government succeeds without public support. The war on terror is no exception. The primary way in which the law advocates support for the war on terror is the proscription of support for terrorism.
Section 4(1) of the TPA provides that a person who knowingly, in any manner, solicits or renders support for an act of terrorism or a proscribed organisation or an internationally suspected terrorist group, commits an offence under the Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years and a sentence of death where death results from the terror.”