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Buhari, Osinbajo Are Architects Of Hates Killings And Speeches In Nigeria, Says Intersociety


Jude Owuamanam Managing Editor, Northern Operations


Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Human Rights Group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, (Intersociety) has described President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice Prof Yemi Osinbajo, as architects of hates killings and speeches Nigeria.

The group, in a statement sent to Sundiatapost in Abuja on Tuesday, said that nothing aptly captured their assertion than the president’s address to Nigerians on his return after more than three months of medical treatment in London

The statement, which was signed by The Board Chairman, Barrister Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program, Barrister Chinwe Umeche, and Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law Program, Obianuju Igboeli, said that inciting presidential pronouncements; namely: Vice President Yemi

Osinbajo’s misinterpretation of the regional and international meaning

of hates speeches and returnee President Muhammadu Buhari’s war-like

and militarized State of the Federation broadcast have further exposed

how the democracy challenged Government breeds hates killings and

speeches and secessionism by way of security radicalization, inaction,

misinterpretation and selective application of the Nigeria’s Body of

Laws especially the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Intersociety observed that most, if not all Nigerians and the State actor and non-State actor

members of the international community have continued to express

shocks and disbelief over the presidential and private attitudes in

recent times of the person and office of the Vice President of

Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo-a professor of law and SAN (Senior Advocate

of Nigeria).

Intersociety argue that though professorship of law does not confer on its bearer the status

of the master of all in law knowledge and profession; a

dispensable authority in a very small unit of a sub law discipline;

yet the above named attentive and respected members of the modern

global community especially the citizens of Nigeria and all lovers of

democracy and its free society/speeches have expected Professor Yemi

Osinbajo to serve as soothing point and chief intellectual backbone

for the person and office of Nigeria’s President; as they concern the

leadership and management of the country’s democracy,

constitutionalism, development, human living, environment, rule of law

and human rights.

The statement said, ” Disappointedly, Professor Yemi Osinbajo as a vice president, senior

advocate of Nigeria, pastor of a Pentecostal church, human rights

activist and professor of law has failed woefully and disappointed

Nigerians and the entire global community. In a country governed by

the Constitution and numerous ratified regional and international

treaties as well as various codified laws of the country, the Vice

President has continuously since 2015 imposed on all Nigerians his

personal biases and highly sentimental views as the new laws of

Nigeria. In the immortal words of the late Music icon, Mr. Fela

Anikulapo Kuti; Professor Yemi Osinbajo has become a teacher who

teaches Nigerians nonsense!

Totally alarmed and condemned are Professor Osinbajo’s recent

undemocratic and biased interpretation of hates speech and his

description of same as “act of terrorism”. We not only view the Vice

President’s pronouncement with uttermost suspicion but also fear that

it is  targeted at shutting the country’s democratic forces and

exponents of free society especially based or hailed from the

South-south and Southeast Nigeria. Mr. Vice President/Law Professor

had not long ago given such warped interpretations to some sensitive

sections of the Constitution.

Nigerians and Nigeria are yet to recover from the controversial

interpretation by the same Vice President of Section 171 of Nigeria’s

1999 Constitution with respect to whether Nigeria’s Senate can confirm

or not the chairmanship nominee for the Economic and Financial Crimes

Commission (EFCC). The Vice President had claimed that the Senatorial

confirmation is not needed for all appointive headships of the Federal

extra ministerial bodies covered by Section 171.

Yet the EFCC Act of 2004 in its Section 2 (3) provides for the

confirmation of its Chairmanship nominee by the Senate. This was after

the Presidency had sent the name of Mr. Ibrahim Magu twice to Senate

for confirmation as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC. This has

made Mr. Magu as the longest serving federal government political

appointee in acting capacity in the history of Nigeria and its

acclaimed democratic rule.


Yet, it was the same Presidency that recently or much longer after,

sent another name to Senate to be confirmed as the Chairman of the

Nigerian Electricity Regulations Commission (NERC). NERC is another

extra ministerial body created or covered by Section 171 of Nigeria’s

1999 Constitution. Since then, there have been controversies after

controversies on account of the Vice President Osinbajo’s biased

interpretational pronouncement. The controversies got compounded on

account of the refusal by the Presidency and the Attorney General of

the Federation (AGF) to refer the issue, early enough, to the Supreme

Court for resolution.

“On the other hand, we see the Vice President’s recent description of

“hates speech in Nigeria” as “act of terrorism” not only as

militarist, draconian and unconstitutional; but it is also nothing

short of the return of Decrees 2 and 4 of 1984. Though hates speech

especially incitement to genocide is considered as a crime under the

International Criminal Court (ICC) and the international law proper,

but this is not yet criminalized and codified in Nigeria in clearly

defined terms and procedures.

“Contrary to Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s claim that hates speech is an
act of terrorism in Nigeria, hates speech has nothing whatsoever to do

with Nigeria’s Terrorism and its Prevention Act of 2011 (amended in

2013). No part of section of the Act clearly and unambiguously says


Besides, Nigeria’s body of criminal laws and their procedures do not

recognize mens rea (guilty mind) alone as a crime except it is

accompanied by actus reus or guilty act. Internationally, to be called

a crime of hates speech (i.e. incitement to genocide), its intent must

be irrefutably established printably or electronically with direct

link to its specific targeted genocidal population.

The Vice President’s referenced biased interpretation further offends

the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria especially

subsections 8 and 12 of its Sections 36; which forbids arrest,

detention, trial, conviction and sentencing of any citizen over an

offense that is not clearly written down in a written and constituted

an offense at the time of such arrest, detention, trial and

sentencing; with its penalties clearly written, defined and

proactively measured.

Difference exists between a tribal group issuing a genocidal threat

with a public quit notice targeted at over 11million guest residents

and another agitating nonviolently for a statehood or a sovereign or

general peoples’ conference; without any form of genocidal threat

against its co-tribe; to determine how and whether to live together or

apart. Nationally, regionally and internationally, the former

presently receiving government protection, aiding and abetting; are

offenders of the crime of genocidal incitement.

For purposes of clear understanding and putting the records straight,

hates speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of

attributes such as race, religion. It is further defined as an

advocacy of hatred based on nationality, race or religion; which has

occupied an exceptional position in international law including the

Rome Statute of 1998, ratified by Nigeria in 2001. A major component

of hates speech is called direct and public incitement to genocide

which was one of the key charges laid against defendants in the

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in the case of its 1994


“In defining what constitutes hates speech, therefore, extreme is

always taken. In the case of the Rwandan anti Genocide Tribunal, for

instance, the Tribunal elaborated somewhat on the definition of the

crime (hates speech). In the particular case of the Prosecutor v.

Nahimana, Barayagwiza, & Ngeze, it stated that the defendant’s intent

must be established.

“The International Law also recognizes the inherent dignity and

equality of every individual as the foundational axiom of

international human rights. It is upon this that it condemns

statements which deny the equality of all human beings. Article 20(2)

of the ICCPR (Int’l Covenant on Civil & Political Rights) requires

states to prohibit hate speech, but does not require states to

prohibit all negative statements towards national groups, races or

religions but, as soon as a statement “constitutes incitement to

discrimination, hostility or violence,” it must be banned.

That is to say that while we condemn hates speeches locally and

internationally, our rise in strong condemnation of Professor

Osinbajo’s latest pronouncement of hates speech as “act of terrorism”

is strongly based on the likelihood of the present Buhari/Osinbajo

Administration brutally eroding constitutional liberties and

democratic free speeches hiding under the cover of “fight against

hates speech”. Advocacy silence over this could also give the

Administration room to run riot on Nigerians using “hates speech”.

This is more so when the same Government has now created its own

version of “hates speech” and terrorized it without codification or

federal legislation.

A central Government that arrested since 14th December 2015 and

detained till date without trial aging Nigerian husband and wife for

their religious beliefs; after battering their bodies with live

bullets and killing over 1000 of their sect members; cannot be allowed

a breathing space in its latest pronouncement and magisterial

criminalization of hates speech as an “act of terrorism”.

Yesterday’s Monday morning national broadcast by the returnee

President of Nigeria has further added more salt to the injury and

confirmed the real motives behind Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s

terrorization of “hates speech”. The broadcast was riddled with

threats of State violence, militarism and militarization and general

state of hopelessness for all Nigerians.

The broadcast also was anti free speech and a ferocious attack on

Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution especially its Section 22 (roles of all

agents of the mass media in defending, advancing and promoting

democracy and civil governance) and Section 39 (freedom of


Intersociety posited that the posture of the Buhari led administration further lent credence to the fact that Nigeria is not a democratic

free society or civil government, but a fully fledged malevolent

diarchy government with deployment of battalions of soldiers or

military in 28, out of its 36 States.

The statement added that the returnee President’s

broadcast has further put Nigerians in quandary and hopelessness.

Nigerians had expected their returnee President, to no avail, to

openly acknowledge and apologize; with packages of practical

solutions, that road routes from Enugu to Port Harcourt, Enugu to

Abuja, Edo to Abuja, Onitsha to Kaduna, Kaduna to Katsina, Lagos to

Ibadan, Asaba to Warri; to mention but few, have become nightmare.

Nigerians also expected returnee President Buhari, all to no avail, to

tell them how trillions of naira worth of central “budgets” since June

2015 have touched their lives tangibly and intangibly.

“In all, the truth that must be told is that it is the central

Government of Buhari/Osinbajo; and not ordinary Nigerians that breeds

hates speeches and killings and secessionism through its policies of

security radicalization, inaction, misinterpretation and selective

application of the laws of Nigerian.

By way of government security radicalization through militarism,

militarization, trumped up charges, over-criminalization, unlawful

killings, extra judicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances

and arrest and long detention without or before trial; the

Buhari/Osinbajo’s Government had since June 2015 bred citizens’

militancy, radicalism, ethnic chauvinism, ethno-religious divisions

and disunity. By way of Government inaction including omissions, aiding, abetting

and tolerance of illegalities, crimes and group violence; especially

in matters of ethnic violence and government aided mass murder; hates

speeches and killings are bred by the same Government with their

consequential ethno-religious divisions, mass poverty, undergrowth and

under-development. This was exactly the eruption of the Rwandan

Genocide of 1994.

By way of Government misinterpretation of the laws especially

Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, the return to the state of nature or

banana republic is bred and nurtured by same. As a result of same,

too, citizens begin to explore loopholes for the purpose of using them

to suit their malicious intents and purposes or whims and caprices as

well as manipulating and disobeying the laws with reckless abandon.

The key danger of selective application or enforcement of the national

laws is the disadvantaged or victim citizens’ resort to self help and

reprisal radicalization and other socially inimical approaches.

The most recent clear cases in point are the returnee President’s

broadcast where he deliberately and merely described well organized

and one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups (Fulani terror group

and its violent activities) as “Fulani herdsmen-Farmers’ clash”. The

second clearest case in point was the Northern elders backed quit

notice against over 11million Igbo citizens residing in Northern

Nigeria; which the central Buhari/Osinbajo’s Government has refused to

act on punitively till date”, the statement said.

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