Leading civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has carpeted the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Gutterres, over his support for rehabilitation, reintegration and granting of pardon by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to detained Islamic terrorists.
HURIWA said the support given to this irregular and unconstitutional handling of terrorists by President Muhammadu Buhari as made known during the whistle stop visit to Nigeria by the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Gutterres provided more fire and motivation for boko haram and ISWAP terrorists to escalate their targeted attacks on Christians believing that if and whenever they are caught the Nigerian President will grant them pardon with the international support now provided by the UN system through the person of the Secretary General.
The Rights group said it was shocked that despite the red flag given by ECOWAS on Nigerian government’s unwillingness to stop terrorism financing through Nigerian Financial system as revealed by the Economic Community of West African States, the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Gutterres went ahead to applaud the unconstitutional decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to continuously grant pardon to detained Islamic terrorists under its faulty reintegration policy in the North East of Nigeria.
HURIWA recalled that the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, established by the Economic Community of West African States, says Boko Haram splinter group, Islamic State West Africa Province, moved about N18bn ($36m) generated from trading and taxing communities in the Lake Chad region through the Nigerian financial system annually.
The group, set up by ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in 2000, stated that both Boko Haram and ISWAP had continued to mobilise, move and utilise funds through the nation’s formal financial and commercial system.
HURIWA recalled that the aforementioned ECOWAS group noted that the government lacked adequate insight into Boko Haram and ISWAP international linkages and abuse of the formal financial and commercial sectors.
The rights group added that it said even though the Department of State Services (DSS) had significant ability to identify and investigate terrorist financing activity, and that it even conducts parallel financial and terrorism investigation, there was little evidence of the effectiveness of such efforts.
According to HURIWA, the group, known as GIABA, stated these in its 2021 Mutual Evaluation Report, where it also noted that Nigeria lacked an explicit policy to confiscate proceeds of crime or property of equivalent value, including terrorism financing.
HURIWA said even with the aforementioned mentioned abundant evidence of the collusion of the Federal government with terrorists in Nigeria, the United Nations Secretary General backed the release without trials of terrorists by President Muhammadu Buhari.
HURWA said “the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his recent visit to Nigeria lauded Nigerian authorities’ ongoing reintegration of defectors from the jihadi Boko Haram group, which has waged a decade-long insurgency, as “the best thing we can do for peace.”
“But Speaking to reporters in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state where the insurgency is centered, Guterres also called for more global funding to help rebuild lives in northeast Nigeria where the rebels are operating.”
HURIWA has therefore asked both the UN Secretary General and President Muhammadu Buhari “to shut up and stop the empty political rhetorics over the bloody attacks by Islamic terrorists few days ago of a packed Catholic Church in Owo Ondo State”, just as the Rights group criticised the UN Secretary General “for failing to meet Christian leaders in Nigeria so he can directly visit some of the Churches destroyed by Islamists since the last 7 years but rather he applauded the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for treating Terrorists with kid’s gloves.”
HURIWA recalled that the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) condemned the Sunday attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, by gunmen, which claimed scores of lives, saying that the UN scribe called on the authorities to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, Guterres emphasised that attacks on places of worship are abhorrent, HURIWA said.
It read, “The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the heinous attack on the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, on June 5 that resulted in the death and injuries to scores of civilians as people gathered for the Pentecost service.
“The Secretary-General emphasises that attacks on places of worship are abhorrent. He urges the Nigerian authorities to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
The Secretary-General extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
He also expressed his sympathies and solidarity with the Government and people of Nigeria.
HURIWA however asked the UN Secretary General to shut the trap up because his latest statement is hypocritical and irresponsible because he had already backed the illegal release of arrested and detained terrorists as is being done by President Muhammadu Buhari just as HURIWA said that most of the released terrorists go back to bomb more soft targets ever after.