I have never hidden the fact that I am totally opposed to General Muhammadu Buhari mutating into a civilian president.
My main concern during the elections was not even the possibility of gross incompetence and incapacity to run a country like Nigeria. My main grouse was his history of human rights abuses as a former military dictator.
In saner climes, someone with such a record will not be able to go anywhere near the seat of power…but this is Nigeria. It is in the light of this that we should note that whereas most of us have focused on what Buhari has not done/not achieved in his first one year in office, there are other key areas where he has not disappointed, based on his antecedents.
General Buhari’s tendency to violate the human rights of citizens came to the fore again in the course of his 365 days in office. We must not lose sight of this fact. Many lives have been lost, ruined, maimed and destroyed in his first year as a civilian president.
1. The massacre of hundreds of Shi’a Muslims in Zaria, including children. Their leader and his wife are both still being held captive. It is not clear exactly what their crimes are or when they will be charged to court for whatever reason.
2. A couple of weeks after Buhari was sworn in, villages in the Calabar/Akwa Ibom axis area were bombarded with air-strikes. This is a remote part of Nigeria and many people are not aware that this happened. But there are a few reports in the media. The excuse was that this large area was being used as “hide-outs” by “militants”. Up till today, we have no idea how many children and others were killed in this gross human rights violation.
3. Fulani herdsmen (terrorists) have been rampaging the country especially the middle belt, the east and part of the south west, destroying farmlands, killing people and raping women. There has been little or nothing done by Buhari’s government to address this incidiary issue – he did not even mention this fact in his broadcast to mark his first year in office.
4. Some people have been shot and killed by armed policemen because they were demonstrating to ask Nnamdi Kanu of Biafra People’s movement to be freed..
5. Many people, most of them opposition politicians are being detained indefinitely by Buhari’s government under the guise of corruption. Many of these people are or were close to the former President Goodluck Jonathan. Some were open critics of Buhari before they were rounded up and put in prison.
There are of course many other human rights abuses going on in Nigeria right now. While people are being distracted by the growing economic insecurities, we should not lose sight of the fact that people are being killed extra judicially in different ways.
By Modupe Debbie Ariyo