HURIWA CONDEMNS REPORTED TERRORIST ATTACK: DEFENDS MINISTER MATAWALLE AMIDST CALLS FOR REMOVAL.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has vehemently condemned the widely reported despicable act of terrorism that recently struck Maradun town, the headquarters of Maradun L. G. A of Zamfara State, and the hometown of Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle.

According to media reports, in the early hours of Friday, terrorists, commonly known as bandits, launched a brutal assault on the town, resulting in the tragic loss of two lives and the abduction of approximately 30 residents, including women, children, and adults. The attackers, reportedly armed with sophisticated weapons, unleashed terror upon the community, shooting indiscriminately and pillaging homes.

Expressing deep concern over the escalating insecurity in the region, HURIWA, in a media statement, urged the security forces to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack to ascertain if there are any political motivations behind it. Stating that the timing of the assault, coinciding with a barrage of media attacks directed at Minister Matawalle for his unwavering support of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, raises suspicions of possible political dimensions to the violence, HURIWA emphasized it is imperative that the relevant authorities delve into this matter to uncover any potential links to political interests and ensure that justice is served.

“In the aftermath of Matawalle’s comments advocating steadfast support for President Tinubu’s administration, voices of dissent arose, challenging the minister’s stance and calling for retraction and apology. Matawalle had emphasized the imperative of collective solidarity and unwavering loyalty to the government’s initiatives aimed at advancing the nation’s interests.”

Furthermore, HURIWA called upon the federal government to redouble its efforts in bringing an end to the vicious cycle of violence plaguing the North West region, highlighting that the persistent attacks by insurgents and bandits have inflicted untold suffering upon innocent civilians and pose a grave threat to the security and stability of the nation.

The prominent civil rights advocacy group reminded that it is incumbent upon the government to prioritize the safety and well-being of its citizens by implementing robust measures to combat terrorism and restore peace to the affected areas.

In light of recent developments, HURIWA reiterated the importance of absolute loyalty and unity among all appointed officials, especially those from the Northern region, towards President Tinubu’s administration. The association further stressed that Minister Matawalle’s advocacy for 100% loyalty to the government’s initiatives is rooted in the imperative of collective solidarity and unwavering support for the nation’s interests, just as it stated that this stance is not only justified but also essential for the continuity of developmental efforts initiated by the current administration.

HURIWA emphasized President Tinubu’s commitment to the North, appointing Northerners to key positions, including Security, Defence, Agriculture, Education, Health, and Foreign Affairs, to address the region’s challenges.

“It is noteworthy to mention the deliberate efforts made by President Tinubu in appointing individuals from the Northern region to key cabinet positions, demonstrating his commitment to addressing the challenges facing the region and fostering national unity.

“As highlighted by the National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, these strategic appointments aim to mobilize the restive youths in the North towards ending the persistent violence and working for the peace, development, and progress of the entire nation”, HURIWA underscored.

Addressing the spurious calls for the removal of Minister Matawalle over alleged involvement in corrupt practices, HURIWA dismissed such demands as baseless and politically motivated stating that there is no valid pronouncement from any court of law indicting the minister for any wrongdoing.

Referencing Section 6 of the Constitution, HURIWA reminded that only the judiciary has the authority to make legal pronouncements on such matters. Hence, the association opined that any insinuations of corruption against Matawalle remain mere conjectures until proven otherwise.

“The recent petition by the APC Akida Forum calling for the removal of Dr. Bello Matawalle, Minister of State for Defence, is not only misplaced but also lacks merit. This call comes at a time when Matawalle has been vocal in his support for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and has faced criticism for advocating for loyalty to the administration. The timing of the petition suggests political motivations rather than genuine concerns about performance.”

“Matawalle’s political influence in Northern Nigeria cannot be overstated, as he holds significant sway and commands electoral support, particularly in the North West. His contributions to the political landscape have been instrumental, and any attempt to discredit or remove him from office appears to be driven by ulterior motives aimed at undermining President Tinubu’s political profile.”

“Furthermore, Matawalle’s tenure as Minister of State for Defence has been marked by notable achievements and contributions to the nation’s security sector. He has spearheaded strategic initiatives aimed at modernizing the Defence sector, enhancing training programs, and strengthening international partnerships for peacekeeping efforts. His adept navigation of complex geopolitical challenges has earned him recognition both domestically and internationally.”

“Moreover, Matawalle’s leadership style is characterized by humility, integrity, and a genuine commitment to public service. Unlike many politicians who prioritize self-interest and grandstanding, Matawalle’s approach emphasizes action over rhetoric, focusing on tangible results rather than empty promises. His dedication to the welfare of Nigerians and his steadfast commitment to national security make him a valuable asset to the administration.

“Therefore, we as leading Civil rights advocacy group reject the call for Matawalle’s removal and urge the APC Akida Forum to base their criticisms on performance rather than political agenda. Matawalle’s achievements and leadership qualities exemplify the essence of true public service, and his contributions to the nation’s progress deserve recognition and support”’ HURIWA Highlighted.

In conclusion, HURIWA called upon Nigerians to refrain from spreading misinformation and unsubstantiated allegations against government officials. The organization enthused that Instead, citizens should focus on constructive engagement and demand accountability through legitimate channels, as it is only through unity, vigilance, and adherence to the principles of justice and integrity that Nigeria can overcome its challenges and realize its full potential as a prosperous and inclusive nation.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator,
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
April 27, 2024.

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