Following the announcement of United States Department of States to begin imposing visa restrictions on Nigerians undermining democracy, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the US to include the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir Elrufai, and the ministerial nominee from Akwa Ibom State, Mr Godswill Akpabio in the list.
The civil society organization said any list that does not include the duo is incomplete and should be reconsidered.
HURIWA stated that the US visa ban would significantly help the advancement of democracy but was quick to remind the USA that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a violent crackdown on members of the protesting Shiites Islamic Movement of Nigeria demanding the release of their detained leader.
HURIWA, in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and media director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, noted that the Nigerian media recorded some of the politicians who made utterance capable of undermining the democratic process in the country.
The group said the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party was culpable because its national chairman threatened war should the incumbent President went ahead to rig the presidential polls.
HURIWA listed other politicians who actively made open threats of violence before the polls to include the then minister of transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi who staged a so-called traditional war dance in PortHarcourt Rivers State and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, and his Peoples Democratic Party’s Uche Secondus.
The CSO also mentioned that the Nigerian Army in the oil-rich Rivers state was reportedly accused of causing considerable chaos and violence in Rivers state with the Army commanders allegedly gave unlawful orders that resulted in fatalities.
HURIWA also recalled that “on February 6, 2019, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State threatened that foreign nationals who interfere in the forthcoming general elections would be given a “body bags treatment.”
HURIWA explained that “a body bag” is used for carrying a corpse from a battlefield or the scene of an accident or crime to either a mortuary or place of burial
The Rights group said El-Rufai, who sought re-election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), spoke on a live programme on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) anchored by Cyril Stober.
It also stated that on January 31, 2019, Secondus, threatened that there would be war in the country if the 2019 presidential election is rigged.
HURIWA also mentioned that Secondus threatened war while campaigning for election.
Secondus had said: “Today, by your mandate, we warn INEC and we believe there are good people in INEC… we know that government is pressuring INEC to rig this election, but if they rig this election, they’re looking for war.”
The CSO also cited words of the information minister who wrongly hinted that it had intelligence information indicating that plans had been hatched by opposition elements to truncate the general elections by instigating violence across the country.
HEDA had a couple of weeks ago demanded the immediate withdrawal of the US entry visa issued to a former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje.
The group said Goje was facing corruption charges, a N25bn scam until the Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation made a dramatic withdrawal of the charges.