The National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, has raised the alarm of threats to his life by those he described as goons.
In a statement he personally signed yesterday in Abuja, Onwubiko alleged that at about 7 p.m. on August 18, 2020, whilst he was on his way home, he was waylaid by some people in a Toyota Camry car driven by a fierce-looking person, who trailed him for nearly 30 minutes and made attempt to hit his car from behind. He said he was fortunate to escape attack by the unknown men who fled upon sighting a police van not too far away from the scene.
The human rights activist said that the attack might be connected with the recent publications he made over alleged massive corruption in the school feeding programmes of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.
Recall that the group had requested that the minister in charge of the ministry should accept an invitation for a public debate on the alleged corruption. Onwubiko claimed that, as a reaction to the challenge thrown at the minister, the supporters had made a rash of publications in several newspapers with a campaign of calumny against HURIWA and its national coordinator.
HURIWA, that said it was not accusing the minister of sponsoring the assassination attempt, expressed worry that “in the current administration, the citizens can no longer voice their opinions freely for fear of attacks.”
Meanwhile, the group has said it would petition the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) over the non-constitution of the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It said with the absence of the council as required by the law to function, the commission would not be able to make decisions concerning the numerous cases of human rights abuses before it, hence, the origin of the downturn of things in the agency.
The group gave President Buhari 78 hours to reverse the anomaly by setting up a governing board for the commission or it will be compelled to send a petition to the UNHRC to downgrade the NHRC, because operating without a board denies it of the element of independence and vibrancy and in violation of its laws.
At a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, Onwubiko expressed regret that since the coming to office in 2015, President Buhari has refused to reconstitute the governing board after the expiration of the tenure of the last team headed by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.