- The International Human Rights Commission recently threatened to facilitate a visa ban against Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and his family
- The group made the threat in response to the arrest of Uche Nwosu, a former governorship candidate in the state
- Reacting to the threat, an umbrella body of civil society groups in Nigeria, urged the commission to be neutral and get its facts rights
FCT, Abuja - Ambassador Friday Sani, the Country Head of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has been called upon to maintain neutrality concerning the security challenges in Imo in order to help promote peace in the state.
The call was made by Engr. Nwosu Emmanuel, the Executive Secretary of Civil Society Engagement Platform CSEP; an umbrella body of several Civil Society groups in Nigeria.
The CESP was responding to media reports credited to Sani, who threatened to facilitate a visa ban on Governor Hope Uzodimma and his family over the arrest of Uche Nwosu, a former governorship candidate in the state.
According to Engr Nwosu:
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“It smacks of deliberate mischief and may also be indicative of bias and contrived prejudice for an organisation as the International Human Rights Commission to clearly disregard the monumental allegations of Uche Nwosu's complicity in sponsoring violence and seeking to derail governance in Imo state.
“It is embarrassing that the representative of the Human Rights Commission in Nigeria could make such a vindictive and plausibly ignorant statement without appreciating the facts and issues as they are.
“Allegations backed by confessions made by suspects arrested by the Nigerian police appear to have indicted Uche Nwosu and it was on the strength of those allegations that his arrest was effected by the Nigerian police and not the Imo state governor; outside a church and not inside the church as has been falsely promoted.
“The question that is begging for an answer; which the representative of IHRC has shockingly avoided is whether Uche Nwosu has immunity against arrest or whether as inlaw to Senator Okorocha, he is above the law? Neither of that can possibly be the case.
“Granted, the manner of his arrest elicited negative reactions due to the shooting by the police into the air, but that would not have been if not for the attempts by Uche's followers to help him resist and evade a legitimate arrest effected right outside the church.
“These facts are supported by live video recording streamed on social media during the said arrest, none of which showed any shooting or arrest inside the church.
“There is no doubt therefore that the propaganda of arrest inside the church is a clear fallacy as there is no single evidence to substantiate it; in spite of the claim that it happened during a fully recorded and broadcast event that had multiple cameras live streaming on social media".
“It is sad that the Country Head of IHRC wilfully ignored these verifiable facts and neither relied on any judicial decision nor security intelligence to reach his clearly biased conclusion regarding governance in Imo state.
“The posture of the IHRC office in Nigeria to the issues in Imo state speaks of complicity and truly calls for immediate investigation.”
Engr Nwosu stated that the Uzodimma-led government since its inception has continued to do its best towards the implementation of its shared prosperity blueprint for the benefit of the Imo people.
He also said that wealth-creating opportunities have continued to be provided by the government to enable Imo youth to become meaningfully engaged.
The Executive Secretary of CSEP questioned the volte-face by the IHRC to the unprecedented act of defence of the rights of Imo Citizens by the Uzodimma administration through the restoration of all lands and sundry property illegally and brazenly confiscated by previous administrations.
He argued that if the IHRC in Nigeria was sincerely desirous of promoting justice as well as protecting human rights, it should have been its focus and not the position and claims of injury by Nwosu.
Aligning with the position of the CSEP, a politician from Imo state, Paul Onyekuru, told Legit.ng on the sidelines of an event in Abuja, that the governor should not be roped into what he knows nothing about.
“I expected the IHRC to do its due diligence before going public with such a sensitive matter. It is an embarrassment for the commission to simply rely on hearsay before coming to a conclusion.”
Governor Hope Uzodimma to host high-level Imo stakeholders meeting
Legit.ng had earlier reported that Governor Uzodimma will on Tuesday, January 4 host a high-level stakeholders meeting in Imo state.
A statement sent to Legit.ng by the Imo state government noted that the meeting which is in series presents an opportunity for the governor to give an account of the activities and direction of his administration.
The statement further stated that Governor Uzodimma will reveal the sponsors of insecurity in Imo state at the meeting.
Governor Uzodimma vows to ensure a safer Imo in 2022
Governor Uzodimma had earlier advocated for a renewed and collective effort by the people of Imo to stamp out violence and other forms of criminality in the state this year.
In his new year message to the people of the state, Uzodimma pledged that his administration will work in concert with the security agencies to ensure a safer Imo in 2022 and beyond.
He also pledged that his administration will this year redouble efforts to redress the infrastructural deficit it met on assumption of office.