News The African Way

Nigerian Rights Group Challenges A Sitting Northern Governor

By Iliya Kure

imageA Nigerian non-governmental organisation, Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy(CEDRA), has petition its country’s human rights commission to investigate a sitting governor, Naisr El-Rufai for human rights violations.

In a letter by its Chairman, Dr. John Danfulani, addressed to the Human Rights Commission, CEDRA listed instances where it says, the governor used hate, or inciting language to provoke certain individuals and his political opponents.

Governor El-Rufai had enjoyed people’s popularity while campaigning and got unprecedented number of votes that brought him to office in May 2015, but less than six months in office, he had lost popularity among the masses who voted him.

Two weeks ago key members of his political party announced the constitution of leadership of the political party in Kaduna State, a structure that became a mere shadow, since the selection of the state party chairman to serve as the deputy governor of the state.

AFRICAPRIMENEWS learnt that his party stronghold left El-Rufai because he sidelined them by not consulting and involving them in running the affairs of the state.

Find below content of letter CEDRA sent to the Human Rights Commission.
The Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
NO19 Aguiyi Ironsi Street Maitama
Abuja- Nigeria

Sir,

HATE SPEECHES AND HUMAN RIGHTS AB– — — USES BY GOVERNOR NASIR AHMED EL-RUFA’I OF KADUNA STATE

1. Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Rights Advocacy(CEDRA) is a Kaduna based Development and Human Rights advocacy group with the mission of promoting development, good governance, advancement of democratic ethics and protection of fundamental human rights guaranteed by Nigeria’s 1999 constitution and other global and regional protocols. Since incorporation, CEDRA have been monitoring and reporting incidences of human rights violations or actions capable of triggering upheavals in many parts of Northern Nigeria.

2. With the advent of civil rule in May 1999, Nigeria’s record on human rights improved. And setting up of a commission like National Human Rights Commission to monitor and recommend sanctions for human rights violators is evidence of how democratic regimes placed high premium on human rights. So far,National Human Rights Commission have kept faith with its mission and mandate.

3. From 29th May 2015 to June 2016 Governor El-rufa’i of Kaduna State made the following hate speeches and abuses of human rights:

(i) On 17th October 2015 Mr. El-rufa’i told dissidents and holders of opposing views in a town hall meeting in Kaduna to climb Kufena Mountain and fall.
(ii) From January 27th to February 2nd Dr. John Danfulani of Political Science Department at Kaduna State University was arrested on allegations of making social media updates capable of inciting classes in the society. His services were subsequently suspended from the University.

(iii) On 30th March 2016 Mr. El-rufa’i called all PDP members in all the 23 Local Government Areas in the state viruses while swearing-in the Caretaker Committee Chairmen of Local Councils.
(iv) In May 2016 a journalist Mr. Jacob Dickson was arrested and locked up for days for reporting an incidence involving the stoning of Mr. El-rufa’i in Malali Kaduna.
(v) On 4th June 2016 Mr. El-rufa’i said Sen. Shehu Sani, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts and Deputy Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the 8th Senate and kingpins of an APC faction in Kaduna State “APC AKIDA” are ants he will kill, crush and burn.

4. The right to agree and disagree with policies of leaders are integral part of all democratic political systems . Unfortunately, pronouncements and actions listed (i to v) hereinbefore gave a clear signal that Mr. El-rufa’i is an intolerant leader incapable of being faithful to his oath of office in terms of safeguarding people’s rights to hold dissenting views .Sad enough, institutions with the constitutional responsibility of pulling the brakes on his executive excesses are weak and ineffectual.

5. Consequent to the dangers Mr. El-rufa’i’s actions and pronouncements that are life threatening to dissidents and political opponents , we call on National Human Rights Commission to investigate these hate speeches and abuse of human rights by Mr. El-Rufa’i . A delay or unwillingness in setting up an investigation committee will tacitly give Mr. El-rufa’i the audacity to continue making further hates speeches and abusing people’s rights in Kaduna State. A stitch in time saves nine.

6. Thank you.

Dr. John Danfulani
Chairman Centrum Initiative For Development
And Fundamental Rights Advocay(CEDRA)
SF7 Zabura Plaza Behind Samrada Fuel Station
Ungwan Romi Kaduna
7th June 2016

Cc:
The U.S. Embassy
British High Commission
EU Ambassador to Nigeria
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch

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