Several Nigerian human rights groups have written to United States President Barack Obama, urging him to intervene to halt human rights violations allegedly being carried out by his counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
The allegations are contained in a letter dated November 27. It was signed by officers of Leadership & Accountability Initiative; Egalitarian Mission, Africa; Intergovernmental Liaison; Coalition of Social Media Activists in Nigeria; African Youth Human Rights & Democracy Network; and 100 Lawyers for Democracy & Justice.
They accuse the Nigeria leader of a track record of human rights abuses beginning from his first time as military head of government between 1983 and 1985.
“Buhari's dictatorship was earmarked by chilling human rights abuses which included draconian decrees exemplified by Decree 20 under which the judicial murders of Nigerian citizens, Lawal Ojuolape, Bernard Ogedengbe and Bartholomew Owoh were authorized by Buhari,” they said, asserting that Ogedengbe was “murdered for a crime that did not carry the death penalty at the time it was committed.” in contravention of the law.
“After celebrating fairness, due process, and the rule of law last July to win the goodwill of the United States, General Buhari returned to Nigeria to do what he knows best. He went after perceived opponents in the name of fighting corruption. Prominent was the vendetta against former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd). He placed Dasuki under house arrest, confiscated his passport, charged him with unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering violations and sought a secret trial to prevent independent scrutiny.”
The petition makes a spirited defence of Mr. Dasuki, as an example of the violations it asserts are currently going on, stating that it is presumed that Dasuki’s involvement in the coup that sacked the Buhari junta in 1985 may account for the president’s “desperation” to nail Dasuki at all cost.
“Whether there is substance in the allegations of fraudulent arms contracts levelled against Dasuki, or not, the fact is that the DSS’s tough action ordered by Buhari has done violence to standard rules and procedures of investigations,” the petitioners stated in the letter, which was dispatched through the American Ambassador in the Nigerian capital.
“To make matters worse the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mustapha Malami, instead of protecting the rights of citizens, says the detention of Dasuki is in public interest,” the letter pointed out. His weird argument ‘It is not enough to conclude that the order was flouted. One has to look at the peculiarities of the prevailing cases on ground. You can be granted bail with respect to one case and there can be other cases that public policy demands investigation’”.
It recalled that the Washington Times recently indicted President Buhari over the current ordeal of the former NSA being prevented from travelling out of the country on a medical trip, despite a court order granting him permission, in a damaging article headed “Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari dupes the US”.
According to the petitioner, the newspaper “slammed Buhari for “ uttering time-worn democracy vows during his visit to the United States, where he promised to “ combat graft with procedures that would be fair, just, and scrupulously follow due process and the rule of law, as enshrined in the Nigeria constitution.”