The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack forthwith the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha from the special intervention platform.
HURIWA also wants President Buhari to compel Mustapha and other members of the committee, who violated the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC’s protocols on burial of dead bodies from COVID-19 ailment by attending the burial of the late Mallam Abba Kyari without observing social distancing rules to self-quarantine.
According to the rights group, such persons should also subject themselves to the prosecutorial powers of the mobile courts in Abuja handling cases of violations of the lockdown order by the Federal Government.
HURIWA, in a statement signed and forwarded to NAIJALOADED by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the apologies tendered by the discredited Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, was insufficient to atone for the gross misjudgment and the flagrant breach of the fundamental law guiding the declaration of lockdown in Nigeria by Buhari as a way of containing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The rights group said allowing the chairman to continue to preside over the strategic task force on COVID-19 will pass the impression to millions of people around the world that Nigeria is a country of two laws – one for the commoners and the others for the ruling elite who are apparently above the law.
HURIWA said that it was “disgraceful and an unmitigated insult on our collective national psyche for Mr. Mustapha to boldly flout the established protocols made by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and thereby putting the lives of the rest of the public in Abuja at grave risks of contracting the severe flu virus which has no known cure at the time being and to have the temerity to still attend the National briefing session of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in the nation’s capital.
“It is unimaginable that in this same Abuja the seat of political power of Nigeria and the custodian of the central law-making organ for the entire nation that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who should show good example is the person that led some other members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to abuse and disobey clearly established laws and regulations meant to keep Nigeria safe but he is being treated as a sacred cow whereas hundreds of poor residents of Abuja and Lagos such as Jenifer Akindele who committed same infractions of violating the Social distancing rules were prosecuted and convicted.
“We must never create the impression that some persons are bigger than the law. It is in that frame of mind that we believe that the right cause of action is for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and other members to honourable quit the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and present themselves to the mobile Court in Abuja to be prosecuted for the offences of violating the Social distancing rules just like all other Nigerian Citizens who have been so prosecuted.
“He has to exit the PTF or be sacked by the President. In other civilised climes such a person would even be sacked from his political position. But we are not going as far as demanding that he be dismissed from the position of the SGF because he is the only Christian holding strategic national positions under a highly sectional administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. But we are recommending his sack from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.”
HURIWA said it, however “dismissed the hurriedly packaged apologies from Mustapha as too little too late” saying that there was no better way of telling Nigerians that the current administration tolerates impunity and disregard for the laws than to allow the discredited Mustapha as well as other members who flouted the protocols to remain on their seats as members of PTF driving the process of implementing a national response to the rampaging COVID-19 disease.
“We must demolish this mountain of hypocrisy being erected by the Federal government and we must insist that the laws, Rules and regulations must be respected by all and sundry because the Rule of law is paramount and nobody is above the law.”