Civil society organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed strong concern over alleged invitation of Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The rights group, which described the action of secret police as gross abuse of power and double standard by the secret police, said DSS which is bent on probing Mbaka preachings should also interrogate Islamic cleric, Ahmed Gumi for meeting severally with armed terrorists and bandits in their hide-outs in Northern Nigeria.
A statement issued on Monday by HURIWA, said DSS reportedly invited Mbaka for preaching a religious sermon in which he prophetically recommended the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to contain heightened insecurity.
READ ALSO : Mbaka bows, shuts down Ministry
HURIWA says the invitation of the Christian leader for using his pulpit to interrogate the state of the nation amounted to an egregious attack against the constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms of a citizen whereas the same secret Police has stood by as Gumi continues to dialogue with terrorists and branding them as good bandits all of which violates section 5 of the Terrorism prevention Act of Nigeria.
HURIWA said the crude display of discriminatory invitation is tantamount to a breach of section 15 (5) of the 1999 constitution; section 42 (1) of the constitution and if carried through could be interpreted as a violation of the constitutional oath of office by President Buhari who controls the operations of the secret police.
HURIWA affirmed that the abuse of power by Buhari through the discriminatory invitation by DSS against a Christian cleric is a breach of the Oath of office of the President contained in the Seventh schedule of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.
“Why has the DSS CONSISTENTLY looked the other way whilst an individual in the person of the Kaduna Islamic Cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi continues to dialogue with terrorists, defending the terrorists and branding them as good bandits all of which violates section 5 of the terrorism prevention Act of Nigeria but now a Catholic priest is been harassed just for constructively using his religious podium to call for good governance and for interrogating the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to discharge his primary constitutional duty of protecting lives and property of Nigerians?” HURIWA queried.
The group cited Section 5 of the terrorism prevention Act which states as follows;”(1) Any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support –
(a) for the commission of an act of terrorism, or (b) to a terrorist group, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.”
HURIWA states that the activities of Gumi directly offends the aforementioned provision of the Terrorism prevention Act but the DSS and all other internal security institutions have overlooked it apparently because he shares same religious faith with all the heads of the nation’s internal security architectures but the Secret police was quick to invite a Christian Cleric for purportedly criticising the Nigerian President in exercise of his freedoms of religion, freedom of expression and information which are Constitutionally guaranteed and the Sermon has in no way offended any provisions of any known law in Nigeria.