The Presidency has taken its case against ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
It asked the commission to investigate the allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on a political watch list and training snipers.
Jonathan made the demand in a letter to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof Bem Angwe.
A source in the commission, who confirmed the receipt of the December 23, 2013 letter, said Obasanjo may be invited for interaction on his allegation.
The Presidency asked the NHRC to “investigate the allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of the letter dated 2nd December 2013, written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) attached to the memorandum under reference.
“In order to properly delineate the issues within your sphere of competence, particularly as other issues raised in the letter are being investigated by appropriate agencies of government.”
The letter cited two offensive paragraphs in Obasanjo’s letter for investigation by the NHRC.
The paragraphs are:
“Allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha, and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria. Here again, there is the lesson of history to learn from for anybody who cares to learn from history. Mr. President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone. The Yoruba adage says, ‘The man with whose head the coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit’. Those who advise you to go hard on those who oppose you are your worst enemies. Democratic politics admits and is permissive of supporters and opponents. When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can. Egypt must teach some lesson.
“Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally, but particularly to the family of his victim. Assisting criminals to evade justice cannot be part of the job of the Presidency. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he had done for Abacha in the past? Hopefully, he should have learned his lesson. Let us continue to watch.”
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) in a memo to the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Bem Angwe, dated, December 23 to which he attached a copy of Obasanjo’s letter, directed Angwe to investigate allegations relating to human rights violations.
Specifically, Adoke requested Angwe to investigate allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained in pages 9 and 10 of the letter by ex-President Obasanjo.
The memo marked: HAGF/NHRC2013/Vol2/5, titled: “Re: Before it is to late,” a copy of which The Nation sighted yesterday, reads: “May I draw your attention to the above and the attached State House Memorandum dated December 23rd 2013 in respect of the above subject matter.
“I am to request you to investigate the allegations bothering on the human rights violations contained on pages 9-10 of the latter dated December 2, 2013, written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR attached to the memorandum under reference.
“In order to properly delineate the issues within your sphere of competence particularly as other issues raised in the letter are being investigated by appropriate agencies of government, I have decided to reproduce the relevant paragraphs below,” Adoke said.
A source in the NHRC said: “We have received the letter and a memorandum attached to it. With the issues raised in the letter, we may invite ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo for interaction.
“The question of being on political watch list raises some human rights issues. What I can assure you of is that we will be fair to all sides.”
Responding to a question, the source said the demand of the Presidency was within the mandate of the NHRC.
He cited Section 5(b) of the 2010 (Amendment Act) of the commission.
The section reads in part: The Commission shall- (a) deal with all matters relating to the protection of human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other International Treaties on human rights to which Nigeria is a signatory;
“(b) monitor and investigate all alleged cases of human rights violation in Nigeria and make appropriate recommendation to the President for the prosecution and such other actions as it may deem expedient in each circumstance;
“(c) assist victims of human rights violation and seek appropriate redress and remedies on their behalf…”