The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law(IHRHL) deeply regretted statements credited to  Chibuike Ameachi, governor of Rivers State, where he reduced the decency and  humanity of Rivers citizens,  by  attempting to justify  death penalty for kidnapping in the 21st century. The IHRHL unequivocally condemns  this ,  statement in its entirty, as it is most uninformed,  at variance with current intellectual thinking globally,  and  indeed, a fundamental contempt to the ideals and principles of global civilisation in the age of enlightenment. The statement without any shadow of doubt , further display  incredible leadership deficit,  that have  turned the entire Niger Delta region of Nigeria, into rubbles and decay, an area where lives of citizens means absolutely nothing to so-called leaders.

The IHRHL strongly  maintain  that if the same kidnapping law aimed kidnappers,  are critically interpreted and applied, the governors and political elites that have presided over unprecedented  evil governance in the history of creation since 1999; the kind of personal rulership that kidnapped the political processes and resources of the people and sent thousands of men, women, children and youths to their early graves, should be the first to benefit  from the death  sentence which they themselves have enacted.  Yet those  they have  impoverished;  families and communities that hve been inflicted with extreme poverty in the midst of abundance, therefore lost family and community members to hunger; youths turned animals through political sponsorship of cultism and arms proliferation for purposes of retaining power by hook or crook, have not pronounced death penalty for governors and other power holders, signifies how significantly out of touch with
 reality our so-called leaders are within their environment.

The IHRHL wishes Niger Delta citizens to place it on record, that the drumbeat that culminated  to the ongoing senseless  carnage and humanitarian disaster in Delta state, presently  was started by Niger Delta governors whose recent solidarity centred on how to further slaughter their own citizens through the instrumentality of death penalty, rather than cure the structural violence of the state which citizens have endured ceaselessly.  It is without any shadow of doubt that the structural violence of the state is responsible for  a sense of frustration and helplessness that have led to a call to arms, by some youths, in an environment where citizens have no effective avenues of letting out their legitimate greviances and steam.

The IHRHL calls on Go vernor Amaechi to tell the global community to what extent his draconian Anti-Cult legislation as Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, curbed violence in Rivers State, or did it rather contribute to the chaos and intensified violence that has made Rivers State a most unstable and insecure place in Nigeria, inspite of military occupation.

Finally, the IHRHL calls on the Governor to rethink his belligerent position on serious matters bothering on  the rights of citizens, and should realise that there is something in the saying that: violence begets further and sometimes worst violence. That is exactly what his Kidnapping Law will achieve, nothing less.

IHRHL  strongly  believe that  his government nor any other government for that matter, can be able to  outlaw struggle for  injustice. As long as social injustice remains prevalent; as long as only lip service is paid to the  unnecessary suffering   of the majority of citizens; as long as majority of citizens watch their collectively owned resources being filtered away by a few in a most corrupt manner;  it would only be logical that  social deviance, indeed, the worst kind of social deviants, which regrettably include violent crimes shall remain a fundamental response to an oppressive system.  The IHRHL strongly insists that it is the government, especially since the May 1999 transition in Rivers state,  that have created the kind of space that breed cultists, militants and kidnappers. The onus therefore, is on government to retrace its steps, deal with the symptoms and supply sustainable human development and security, not  draconian laws, not bullet
 for bread.

Augustina  Nathaniel (Ms.)
Access to Justice to the Disadvantaged Unit

National Headquarters: 2B, Railway Close, D/Line. Port Harcourt. Rivers State. Niger Delta. Nigeria. Tel/Fax: 234-84-231 716. [email protected]


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