President Bola Tinubu's reversal on dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other marginalised groups in the nation has been harshly criticised by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), with claims that such inconsistencies raise serious doubts about the credibility and sincerity of leaders.
The organisation noted that President Tinubu had promised to speak with IPOB to discuss their genuine concerns in the interest of the country's unity at a town hall meeting on November 17, 2022, in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
HURIWA said that Tinubu had "emphasised the non-negotiable unity of Nigeria while acknowledging the existence of "painful issues" that required resolution through peaceful means" at that meeting in Owerri.
However, the group claimed in a statement that it could not reconcile the Nigerian leader's views in Owerri and those he recently voiced in Kaduna, both of which claimed that President Tinubu's disposition was obviously influenced by political opportunism.
The group's National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, signed the statement on its behalf.
"President Tinubu’s recent remarks at the passing-out parade of Nigerian Defence Academy Cadets in Kaduna revealed a stark departure from his previous stance.
"He declared his administration’s commitment to tackling secessionist elements and counter-insurgency efforts without mentioning dialogue or peaceful resolution.
"This inconsistency raises serious questions about his credibility and integrity as a leader.
“What made matters more concerning was that this U-turn came at a time when the Federal Government was in clear breach of a binding Court of Appeal judgment.
"On October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal in Abuja upheld the appeal of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of IPOB, stating that the Federal Government had violated both local and international laws by forcefully rending Kanu to Nigeria.
"The court voided and set aside the terrorism charges against him, rendering them incompetent and unlawful.”