HURIWA to Gowon: You Were Never A Leader, You Stole Your Way Into Power

HURIWA to Gowon: You Were Never A Leader, You Stole Your Way Into Power

Civil Rights Advocacy group: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has expressed concern that persons who violently took over power in Nigeria in clear breach of the nation’s constitution are still been rewarded with generous pay packages thereby making it look like coup plotting is a political achievement even as the Rights group plans a strategic advocacy campaigns to get Nigeria to stop rewarding military coup plotters such as Gowon.

HURIWA has therefore suggested that as a way of discouraging any attempt to torpedo constitutional democracy, that pensions and maintenance allowances paid hugely on monthly and yearly basis to erstwhile military despots like Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, should be stopped forthwith, if current Nigerian leader is to stop looking over his shoulders in mortal fear of imminent or speculated military overthrow of a civilian administration. HURIWA said if these saboteurs of our collective democratic heritage aren’t being rewarded, the recent media statements by some sections of the Nigerian military warning against coup plot, couldn’t have arisen since there is no gain in illegally stealing political power.

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko,  HURIWA condemned the war- time military tyrant of Nigeria General Yakubu Gowon, for praising his war-time atrocities in which over 3 million children, women and old men of defunct Eastetn region of Nigeria were massacred by the Federal forces led by Gowon when that region through General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared a secession and formation of a new nation known then as Biafra to protest the pogroms of mainly Igbo people in the then Northern Nigeria which the Gowon junta failed to stop.

“HURIWA never wanted to make any comment to confront the ugly statement from Gowon because we thought the best answer to such a tyrant like Gowon was to simply ignore his tantrums and his irrational justification of the war crimes that he committed during the war. But a section of our organisation has insisted that we must properly position this erstwhile junta mastermind and to remind him that he was never a leader of Nigeria but he was simply a coupist who stole his way into power by the barrels of the guns and so should stop over -estimating his importance.” 

HURIWA continued: “Were Gowon to be in Europe,  he could have been serving multiple life sentences for the genocidal killings of over 3 million Igbo people between 1967-1970. The fact remains that, were it not that democracies in the West such as Great Britain, supported and funded that genocide of the then Biafrans by Gowon and his hirelings in the then federal forces, such a mass killer should have been thrown into jail by the International criminal court in The Hagues Netherlands for his multiple crimes against humanity. Unfortunately,  such mass killers such as Gowon and Buhari, are still being paid by Nigeria for stealing their ways into power when they were active soldiers.”

HURIWA recalled that Yakubu Gowon, a former military ruler, had encouraged President Bola Tinubu not to worry about criticisms from Nigerians, saying he was criticised for being “too slow” leading Nigeria into civil war to crush Biafra secessionists. Yet he crushed the secessionists.

“I was telling him (Mr Tinubu) that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these; all that is being said about him. But with Nigerians, don’t you worry you will get criticised,” Mr Gowon stated.

He said, “If I can remember, when I was fighting the war I was told I was too slow and that probably Nigeria cannot make it and that we should now seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably do not know the problem underground so that is where we are.”

Mr Gowon, who ruled Nigeria between 1966 and 1975, made this statement while speaking with journalists when he visited the Presidential Villa on Wednesday.

The ex-military ruler said he visited Mr Tinubu to “discuss various matters, especially the issue of the ECOWAS problem at the moment, being the surviving leader, or founding fathers of the ECOWAS.”

HURIWA carpeted Gowon for defending coupists in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso by pleading with ECOWAS for the sanctions against them to be lifted just as the Rights group said it wasn’t surprised because Gowon being a coupist who was similarly kicked out by another coup plotter, is always a supporter of unlawful take over of power. Such a dangerous man should be watched closely so as to safeguard our hard work which resulted in this constitutional democracy.”

HURIWA said such persons like Gowon who came to prominence by masterminding the violent overthrow of government, and are being rewarded with humongous wages yearly by the federal government and through a budget passed by the National Assembly, will always be available to speak for such despicable coupists like those who overthrew democracies in some West African nations. 

“This is why, beginning from next week, we will be campaigning for all allowances, pensions and wages paid to former military tyrants by Nigeria to be stopped because that is the reason why successive administrations are often tensed up thinking whether military coup could take place, particularly in times luke these, when the elected government has unleashed poor economic policies. Once we remove this pinnacle of support for coup plotters which are the generous pensions Nigeria pays to former totalitarian military rulers like Gowon, others still serving in the Army will remain subordinate to civilian rule since there will be no compensation or benefits for them for participating in an illegal overthrow of democracy,” HURIWA concludes.

*Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko,

National Coordinator,


March 1st 2024.

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