Land Matters: HURIWA Decries Massive ‘Poverty of Professionalism’ Among Military, Police Institutions

By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

ABUJA: Civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA), has decried what it termed the ‘poverty of professionalism’ among the military and police institutions in Nigeria, following their involvement in civil related matters of land. 

HURIWA, also said that it has approached the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) and the Public Complaints Commission(PCC) with a petition against the Nigerian Police over the persistent harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention of community leaders in Ugwuaji community of Enugu South Local Government Area Council of Enugu State,  South East of Nigeria. 

Speaking in a media Conference in Abuja on Thursday, the HURIWA Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, wondered why security forces will leave the central functions of their institution and veer off into land matters that should be treated by civil authorities.

The Rights group said the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu; Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and his Housing Commissioner should be invited to provide clarifications as to why they allegedly took hold of lands belonging rightfully to the community, in gross violations of extant Land Use Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigerian Constitution.  

HURIWA, said it has been approached for intervention by a Coalition of Ugwuaji Progressives on whose express request and unequivocal instruction they had forwarded this complaint to these institutions believing that the alleged human rights violators are called to order without any further delay. 

The petition sent to these federal government agencies read thus, “The Ugwuaji Progressives is drawn from all four villages in Ugwuaji Awkunanaw, Enugu South Local Government Area namely; Umunnugwu, Ndiaga, Isaigu and Umunnajingene.

“We are constrained to forward this petition to you in order to bring to your knowledge the dastardly act of malicious damage, destruction and vandalization of our community’s  properties which properties are also in their peaceable possession, harassment of members of the coalition with men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), including acts capable of inciting communal war perpetrated ALLEGEDLY  by the Honourable Commissioner for Housing, Enugu State one Vitus Okechi”.

Furthermore, Onwubiko noted that the ALLEGED  reckless activities of Vitus Okechi underscore the reason it is necessary to have articulate and capable hand run the affairs of a ministry as sensitive as the Enugu State Ministry of Housing. 

“It is obvious that this Commissioner is reportedly  barely literate enough to acquaint himself with the legal and regulatory requirements for the compulsory acquisition of the land in Nigeria. He also has scant regards for form and procedure”, He said.

HURIWA therefore called on the National Human Rights commission and the Public Complaints Commission to immediately step into this matter to compel the relevant authorities in Enugu State to abide by the letters and principles of the Nigerian constitution and to stop forthwith the continuous harassment and persecution of the claimants to the ownership of the land in Ugwuaji community of Enugu South Local Government Area Council of Enugu State which the Housing Commissioner has reportedly taken illegal possession of without due regards to the Rule of law.

Meanwhile, HURIWA has also called on the media to continuously pay close attention to the ways and manner that members of the security forces carry out their duties, stressing that the level of dehumanisation, indignity and contempt for the people of Nigeria by operatives of the security agencies is alarming. 

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