The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as a highly irresponsible, irrational and vacuous claim the statement credited to the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that Nigeria’s insecurity is no longer severe.
“Once more, we in the human rights community representing the voiceless and oppressed citizens of Nigeria are inviting the cabinet level Minister of Information to travel by road with no security cover from Abuja to Zamfara to Katsina, Borno and then back to Abuja through the Lokoja/ Kwali Abuja dreaded Federal Highway after stopping over at the Okene highway near Ajaokuta in Kogi State.
If the minister is able to embark on this journey, which should be televised live on NTA, Trust Television and AIT, then may be his statement about improved security may be listened to by right-thinking human beings that are rational.
“We find it completely ludicrous but insensitive, reckless and unacceptable that in the face of the heightened security challenges confronting Nigerians, including the 28 bus passengers in Ondo that were just kidnapped into the Ondo forests by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, the holder of the office of Information Minister will continue to assault our sensibilities and spread fake news”.
HURIWA, through the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said except the Information Minister lives in a very distant planet from the earth for him not to be aware that in some parts of Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, that armed terrorists have started carrying out policing jobs and reportedly arresting petty thieves and handing them over to the police.
In parts of Kaduna and Zamfara states, farmer now pay taxes to terrorists, even as a terrorist kingpin was recently inaugurated a traditional title holder in Zamfara depicting a failed state.”
Also, HURIWA recalled that few days ago, elders of rural communities in Katsina State lamented that men in their villages now work as slaves on farms ‘owned’ by bandits, even as the hoodlums have developed a taste for constantly raping married women and teenage girls.
In a report by BBC Hausa Service seen by HURIWA, the elders described the series of invasions and atrocities committed by the bandits as mind-boggling.
The elders, under the aegis of the Movement to Secure Katsina Residents, called on all “patriotic citizens” to contribute to the efforts to tackle the security problems in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the others in the interview with BBC Hausa Service, one of the elders, Dr. Bashir Kurfi, noted that apart from the senseless killing of innocent people and cattle theft, raping of women and teenage girls by the bandits was now rampant in the communities.
Kurfi said: “It is not hearsay; quite often, we come across victims of rape, women who were raped and even mutilated by these bandits.
“Even more worrisome, these bandits will knock at the doors of villagers and ask the men to bring out their wives and daughters.
These hapless men have no option but to obey or they will face the music.
“The wife or daughter will go with the bandits for one or two weeks and return to their homes after being sexually abused or raped. This is the calamity that has befallen most of our communities.