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Home » The State Of The CDHR, And The State Of The Nation

The State Of The CDHR, And The State Of The Nation

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Dedeigbo Ayodeji

At the end of the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Committee For The Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) held on Saturday, 13th February, 2021, the NEC exhaustively deliberated on two major issues: 

On The State Of The CDHR

A. The NEC observed that the vast majority of the Branch Leadership and members across board are upbeat and energized by the far reaching house cleaning decisions taken by the National Council (NC) at its historic meeting of 30th January, 2021, even though it took notice that a few renegades among those sanctioned choose to persist in their indiscipline and are now engaged in acts of impersonation. 

B. NEC commended the Acting General Secretary for the progress made so far in the implementation of the N.C Resolutions, and in this regard passed a resolution to empower the office of the Acting General Secretary and that of the National Publicity Secretary in appreciating the key roles of these offices in the revitalization of the CDHR in the period ahead. NEC charged the two officers to work very closely with the Vice President in the coordination and reactivation of all the Branches.

C. In further giving effect to the resolution of the N.C, the NEC in session, set up 2 Committees, the Constitution Review Committee made up of Comrade Malachy Ugwummadu (Immediate Past President) and Barrister Princewill Akpakpan (Legal Adviser) as well as the Code of Conduct/Operations Guidelines Committee made up of Comrade Yinka Folarin (immediate Past General Secretary) and Comrade Henry Ekine (National Publicity Secretary). 

The two committees were charged to consider existing draft documents relevant to their assignments, update same in the light of recent experience and submit their reports within the next two weeks.

‘ On The State Of The Nation ‘

On the state of the nation, NEC deliberated on the following issues:

The recent increase in the price of fuel, the hike in electricity charges, the resumption of protests, the pervasive insecurity nationwide and threat to national cohesion and unity. 

On The Increase In The Piece Of Fuel And Hike In Electricity Charges And The Right To Protest

NEC observed that even without a formal announcement, it has noticed that the pump price of petrol has been increased to between N168 and N170 per litre.

The CDHR condemns in the strongest terms this insensitive step in view of the spiral nature of the adverse consequences that will follow it, particularly on the standard of living of the average family in Nigeria. 

It is doubly tragic that this increase comes simultaneously with another hike in the tariff payable for electricity.

Within the past few months, NEC observed that the charges payable for electricity for the CDHR National Secretariat has more than doubled, from an average of N22,000 per month to N49,000. 

CDHR finds no justification whatsoever for these increases other than the quest for profit maximization by those who control our national economy and our lives. 

The logic of passing the so called increase in the cost of production on to consumers is unacceptable as same is a recipe for perpetual pauperization.

 The consumers and populace as a whole have no control whatsoever over the claim of increase in cost of production; that we know there have been no increase in the labour component by way of raises in salaries paid to the workers in both industries.

 Thus, if any person, group or entity is to bear the burden of any increase in cost of production, it is the “fat cats” who must live with a reduction in their profit margins, not the unending impoverishment of the long suffering masses.

We condemn the indifference to and connivance of the Buhari Government as these anti people measures weigh down and crush the masses of our people.

We remind the Federal Government that the #EndSars Protests in the last quarter of 2020 were preconditioned by the same insensitive increases in the price of fuel and electricity charges.

One major fallout of the #EndSars agitation was that government was compelled to acknowledge that there is a constitutionally protected Right to Protest.

In view of this, CDHR condemns the stealth with which these measures were introduced and demands an immediate reversal of these anti people policies.

We call on the Nigerian People to commence mobilization for protests on a decentralized neighborhood by neighborhood basis, as opposed to massing up in single locations. 

We condemn as provocative the attempt at intimidating the Nigerian People by the unnecessary show of force by men of the Nigerian Police, particularly in the Lekki Toll Gate Area in Lagos State, and the arrest of 38 persons engaged in non violent protests. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested.

On The Peevassive Insecurity Nationwide

CDHR agrees with the National Assembly that no other evidence is required in proof that the Nigerian State under President Muhammadu Buhari has not only failed woefully, but has shown through a combination of lacklustre performance characterized by incompetence and indifference, that the State under Buhari leadership cannot meet the fundamental purpose for which it was established- to uphold the security and welfare of the Nigerian people.  

We affirm that the economic policies of the Buhari government by pauperizing the masses on an ongoing basis directly and indirectly fuel insecurity, as they engender acts of desperation on the part of the unemployed and impoverished teeming population of youths, the pretences at insignificant palliatives notwithstanding.

On The Threat To National Cohesion And Unity

Again, to the CDHR, the primary culprit is the failure of the Buhari Government whose 6-year tenure has so far promoted want and deprivation across board for the teeming masses of Nigeria on the one hand, and wealth accumulation for a few, on the other. 

General Buhari has through appointment and body language encouraged the thinking that his tenure in office is to promote the ethnic hegemony of the Fulani Stock; some hawks amongst whom who now openly talk of the consummation of the Uthman Dan Fodio Jihad of conquering the entirety of the land mass called Nigeria.

President Buhari, being an owner of herds of cattle himself, obviously cannot rise above his entanglement in conflict of interest in the Herdsmen/Farmers faceoff.

We are not surprised that after the rejection of his Ruga Proposal, he has retreated into subterfuge in shadowy maneuvers. 

Observance Of Human Rights Is Key

To us in the CDHR, the question of insecurity, the rise in the incidence of kidnapping, armed robbery, assassinations, the herders/farmers clash, banditry and even the scourge of Boko Haram terrorism, is all a matter of breaches in the enjoyment of human rights. At the heart of these challenges is the failure of the Buhari government to facilitate and guarantee the enjoyment of social, economic and cultural rights, of all the People of Nigeria, as he is constitutionally mandated to do. 

The Buhari government has failed woefully to uphold the template of equal opportunity and equal obligations and freedom from discrimination for all individuals and groups without exception in Nigeria. 

The teeming mass of idle youth in Nigeria are vested with rights: the right to education, the right to a job, the right to housing, the right to healthcare, the right to found a family and the right to aspire to the good things of life in an atmosphere where their right to dignity is also intact. Similarly, the herdsman has rights to found and sustain a family and to have children who are also entitled to education and to be equipped with skills with which to serve Nigeria.

The herdsman is entitled to the fruits of science and modern and newer ways of doing things, and the right to live in comfort as a matter of constitutional right. 

Undeniably, Farmers are entitled to the fruit of their toil which cow owners cannot take away with impunity.

The herdsman needs to be mobilized to break away from the condemnation of living like an animal, with cows in bushes without any amenities. 

They don’t own the cows yet they have committed the entirety of their lives to tending cows, without being paid salaries. 

The herdsman must be made to recognize at this time, that the relationship between him and the owners of the cows, who live in comfort in far away cities and towns, is an exploitative one; he works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without defined terms of service. This relationship is a carryover from the slave era. If cow owners want ranches, they should acquire the land through purchase.

The CDHR appreciates that conflict of interest prevents President Buhari and his rich Fulani and other cow owing friends of his, from championing the human rights of the herdsmen; that it suits their pockets to put forward arguments that it is a cultural way of life that no outsider should interfere in. The CDHR is committed to this and calls on all Nigerians and men and women of goodwill to make this matter top priority.

With proper orientation, the herdsman who is a worker, should come to understand that for the cow owners, cattle rearing is profitable private business. Consequently, feeding the cows is a business expense which the owners of the cows must bear, just like other business persons who own poultry farms and fish ponds.

CDHR is resolved that cow owners must not be allowed to set Nigeria ablaze, utilizing deceit and deliberate confusion of issues, by attributing their private business of cattle rearing to “Northerners” and that the clash and conflict of interest between the herdsman and farmers is one between the “North” and the “South”. Nigerian People from all parts of the Country also need to see these issues through this prism.

Given that the average Fulani herdsman cannot afford an AK47 rifle, it should be clear that it is this cow owing clique that is arming the herdsmen as part of their strategy to enforce their will, to get other Nigerians to be responsible for their business expenses.  

African Unity And The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA)  

We at the CDHR subscribe to Pan Africanism. This is in full appreciation of the fact that the goal of Pan African Unity is aimed at the attainment of the right to self determination of all People of African descent worldwide.

This is so, particularly in view of the experience of the African People in the hands of Arab and European enslavers, the slave trade and experience under colonialism.

CDHR is thus concerned about the cold indifference of the Buhari government and the backward role Nigeria under the Buhari leadership is playing as far as the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Treaty is conceived, despite the huge benefit derivable from same for the Nigerian People and Africans as a whole. 

We observe that unlike governments in some other African Countries, the Buhari Government has never really reached out to Africans in the Diaspora – in North, Central and South America who poses great potentials as far as investment in Nigeria is concerned. Rather, in six years, what the Buhari government has championed is micro nationalism at the level of promotion of the cause of Fulani Zionism, which to us at the CDHR is utter backwardness and a project that is doomed to failure. 

The CDHR affirms that humankind has wisely attained the stage of equality of peoples; the idea of a superior race or people entitled to dominate and oppress others is dead and buried. The focus now is on the imperative of abolishing exploitation and oppression of one person by another. Incidentally, this explains the futility of the Boko Haram project, whereby a particular sect with their religious beliefs imagines that by force of aims and violence, they can conquer all others and have them subjected to their religious inclinations. Fulani Zionism and Boko Haram will have to be taught the bitter lessons of history which Nazi Germany under Hitler and Fascist Italy under Mussolini, along with their Japanese allies, suffered in the hands of a United World in 1945. 

On the question of Nigerian Unity, without which there cannot be African Unity, CDHR will not stand idly by and watch President Buhari betray the cause of Marcus Garvey and all the other founding fathers of Pan Africanism .  

On The Way Forward

Finally, on the way forward, NEC CDHR resolved that the Buhari government should be ashamed that almost 3 years after the last minimum wage in Nigeria in the sum of N30,000.00 was passed into law, many States in Nigeria have refused to comply, thereby keeping workers in Nigeria in penury. This is to be taken side by side with the recently announced new minimum wage in the Republic of South Africa, fixed at the equivalent of N105,400; yet Nigeria boasts of being the giant of Africa, with the biggest economy. This only confirms that the big economy of Nigeria is not being run in the interest of the Nigerian populace, and that all the Buhari government stands for is to heap more and more burdens on a people already over burdened. 

CDHR calls on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress to draw inspiration from the Michael Imoudu led agitation by the Nigerian workers during the colonial era for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), in tribute to the truism that, if you do not ask, you wont get. 

The CDHR calls on the Buhari government to provide opportunities to all the idle hands in our Country by embarking on an expanded public works and sanitation program, nationwide. This, to the CDHR is the most eloquent and practical way of addressing the issues of insecurity and banditry, and also paying tribute to the legacy of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, whose performance while in office for a little over four years as Governor of Lagos State remains outstanding.  

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