Tuesday, 10 March 2015

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ONITSHA – A human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, INTERSOCIETY and the Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, ALBON Tuesday condemned the burning down of Chisco Transport Headquarters in Lagos and the radio station of African International Television, AIT by unknown persons suspected to be political thugs.
INTERSOCIETY and ALBON attributed the two incidents during which about 25 luxury buses and 20 trucks worth over N5 billion were burnt at Chisco and the radio station touched at AIT, as a height of political brigandage and intolerance and expressed concern that up till date, they were not aware of any investigative and prosecutorial step taken by the country’s security agencies against remote and immediate culprits.
S peaking on behalf of ALBON, a legal practitioner based in Onitsha, Anambra State and  Legal Adviser to ALBON, Chris Ajugwe, a press statement, regretted that the APC supporters had set the Transport Company’s headquarters ablaze by throwing explosive devices into the compound, just because they saw President Goodluck Jonathan’s bill board hanging in another building sharing the same entrance gate with Chisco headquarters.
Ajugwe queried rhetorically: “Why do properties of Ndigbo become the first line of attacks any where in Nigeria where there is fracas? Why will it be Chisco this time around whose chairman, Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu is apolitical and a first class independent Nigerian businessman, but who engaged in a clean, honest and transparent businesses in the country and international, with no interest in government contracts?”
He therefore warned those he identified as agents of darkness who want to drag Nigeria back to the military despotism, authoritarianism and feudal bondage in the name of politics to desist henceforth as they have no monopoly of violence.
“I urge all men of goodwill not only to cash in on this latest provocation by APC supporters to cause any violence, but to persuade the federal government to pay appropriate restitution to Chisco Transport Company who has done nothing to deserve such an ill treatment that has caused him over N5 billion at a stretch.
INTERSOCIETY’s press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, signed by its Chairman, Board of  Trustees, BoT, Emeka Umeagnalasi and Head of Campaign and Publicity Department, Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, noted that the immediate and remote causes of the two infernos are strongly believed to be politically motivated.
The statement further noted that in the case of the AIT Radio premises, the inferno deeply looked politically and ill conceived because there has been a deep rift between a former top public office holder in Lagos State and the management of AIT over the latter’s airing of a documentary alleging ownership and acquisition of properties worth billions of naira illicitly by the former.
INTERSOCIETY contended that it was sad that the rights CSOs in the area have gone dumb over the two despicable and unwarranted attacks; thereby justifying its steady position that they have been heavily compromised. “We see the coordinated attacks against the AIT and its management including the referenced fire outbreak as persecution and gross infraction of the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 with its last amendment as well as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981; particularly as they concern press freedom and freedom of expression”.
“By Section 22 of the referenced Constitution, the AIT as a mass media is empowered to uphold at all times the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State Policy contained in the Chapter Two of the Constitution. The sighted provisions are called the dos and don’ts of the elected and appointed top public office holders in Nigeria. The AIT also draws current from Sections 36 (fair hearing) and 39 (freedom of expression) in the performance of its constitutional and civil duties. On the other hand, the same Chapter Four of the Constitution including its Section 46 empowers any present or former elected or appointed top public office holder who feels gravely harmed civilly by the constitutional activities of the referenced mass media to seek redress in court. At no time does the Constitution encourage resort to self help or Yorean method of justice.  The inferno at the AIT Radio may not have been engineered directly, but it certainly cannot escape the handiworks of moles and insider conformists hired and brainwashed for vested political interests or reasons by some political brigands”.
The statement therefore called on Nigerian politicians and political parties to eschew politics of bitterness and intolerance, adding, “We wish to put the World Press Council and the international community on notice and alert over the foregoing. It may most likely be safe to assert that the AIT, its staff and management are in the imminent danger of persecution, threats and other politically motivated unsafe conditions. By extension, the Freedom of Press is under threat in Nigeria”.
“The Presidency and security agencies in Nigeria are called upon to thoroughly investigate the two infernos under reference, apprehend the culprits and their sponsors and make them pay in accordance with the country’s criminal law. Maximum security and surveillance should be put in place in and around the AIT and other properties of specific social, economic and political interests in Lagos till the polls of 2015 come and gone”, the statement added.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/03/rights-group-luxury-bus-owners-condemn-burning-of-chisco-ait-buildings-in-lagos/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook#sthash.6L0abb4C.dpuf

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