Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a Civil Rights Advocacy Group, has called for the arrest and prosecution of alleged campaigners and sponsors of third term agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Rights group said it is necessary to arrest those proposing another four years in office for Buhari, saying their action is treasonable and amounts to a coup against the constitution.
HURIWA said any hidden or open campaign, sponsored by persons in the current government for the constitutional term limits for the office of the Nigerian president to be extended by force or through the National Assembly, is an offence against Nigerians and the 1999 constitution.
It warned that the plot must not be swept under the carpet through propaganda, as it could manifest in reality if not dealt with.
The Rights group said Chapter 6, part 1 of the Nigerian constitution, and specifically section 137(1)(b) provides that a “person shall not be qualified for election to the office of president if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”.
It noted that any attempt to violate that part of the constitution must not be dismissed with a mere wave of hand, but be penalized.
Also citing section 1(1) of the constitution, HURIWA further stated that: “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria” even as section 1(2) states thus: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.
“Why will president Buhari arrest a 21-year-old boy and the activist Omoyele Sowore for planning to organize mass protests against the government, but the same government has looked the other way when street urchins hired by hawks in the presidency are protesting publicly urging for the breach of constitutional provisions so as to achieve tenure elongation for President Buhari?, HURIWA asserted.”
The group also condemned what it called selective enforcement of arrests of protesters, based on the nature of the message they communicate to the public, adding that it is double standard and discriminatory.
“The statement denying any plot by president Buhari to self-perpetuate is just tissues of soft propaganda and is treated as such unless this government will arrest and prosecute for treason all those going about campaigning for the third term because these characters are attempting to foist a government through a process other than what the unambiguous provisions of the constitution have stated.
“We in HURIWA wishes to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that his statement that he will not seek tenure extension at the end of his 2nd term in office as rumours of a possible spread in the gossip mill is deceitful and manifestly unacceptable as long as his government fails to arrest and charge for treason all those going about campaigning for tenure elongation to favour him.
‘‘Can we hereby tell President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu that his statement on Nigeria’s Independence Day in which he said that the President will not seek tenure extension under any circumstances and will not support an amendment of the constitution to make that happen has not totally and conclusively addressed this matter and can we tell him and his boss our President that discerning Nigerians are not convinced that the well-funded campaign for the third term against the constitution can be dismissed as an internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary regarding presidential term limits, given credence by so-called support groups, staging street demonstrations asking President Muhammadu Buhari to do a third term.
‘‘In Nigeria, it has been proven that abnormalities have been normalized by that in government including the President who on many occasions openly disrespected the binding orders of courts. Who says that tomorrow this administration will not deny issuing this tepid press statement?,’’ it further said.