The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take concrete steps to enforce rule of law and order and promote national harmony.
HURIWA called for the immediate suspension of the Attorney-General of Police and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The group also commended President Buhari for directing the immediate prosecution of armed Fulani herdsmen across the country.
HURIWA addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday necessitated by the growing restiveness and increase in inter-ethnic disharmony across the country.
HURIWA charged the President, governors, and all elected officers to put an end to the physical conflict of ethnicities flaring up everywhere in the country.
The rights group said though it had in a previous statement blamed President Buhari for keeping mute in the face of recklessness by Fulani herdsmen, it noted that it was inaccurate to place the blame squarely on the desk of the President.
HURIWA also said that it may not be completely true that there is a deliberate intention of Buhari to refuse to prosecute armed Fulani herdsmen.
The group, however, urged Buhari to always respect equity and equality of rights in all his official conducts, calling on him to either suspend or query Malami with immediate effect.
HURIWA claimed that Malami had in writing said arrested armed Fulani herdsmen who were hitherto paraded by the Nigeria Police Force here in Abuja will not be prosecuted because there is no case file.
The Minister of Justice told us in a response to our request that all the paraded armed Fulani herdsmen since 2015 must be prosecuted.
“The impression conveyed by the Justice Minister is that a set of suspects are above the law only because of their ethnicity,” HURIWA said.
“This perception is damaging to the image of the government. It is totally irregular, unconstitutional and absolutely illegal and we call on the Buhari-led administration to order the AGF explicitly to either carry out the order to prosecute offenders or be dismissed from public office.
“We hereby applaud the public statement by President Muhammadu Buhari where he directed that armed Fulani herdsmen and indeed all criminals be made to face the full weight of the law.
“The ball is in the courts of the Justice Ministry to do the needful and for the police to enforce the law by building up a strong case against all criminals. These prosecutorial activities must be transparent and accountable.
“These are the exact words of President Buhari which has given us hope that there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
HURIWA further noted that Buhari had ordered security operatives to arrest and prosecute anyone found with illegal arms in the country.
“From all that we have seen so far since 2015, the failure of the Federal Attorney General to carry out transparent prosecution of all kinds of criminals no matter their ethnicity is the primary cause of mass distrust in the government of President Buhari and when it is found out that there is a deliberate failure to prosecute armed Fulani herdsmen on the nebulous reason that there is no case file, you can now see why most people think there is a double standard by this government.
“So our charge to President Buhari is to compel his justice sector officials to either do their jobs or be fired.”