The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) have condemned the attacks by security agents on #RevolutionNow protesters in parts of the country.
This is contained in separate statements in Abuja by the CUPP National Secretary, HighChief Peter Ameh and the CDD Director, Idayat Hassan.
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Ameh said that Nigeria is a democratic state, and as such, citizens are afforded with the constitutional right to engage in peaceful protest.
“The presidency is, therefore, called to immediately hold the police and other security outfits accountable for the incessant violence and infringement of the rights of the masses.
“Nigeria has been liberated from the deadly claws of military regime and extra judicial killings.
“We strongly call on Mr. President to ensure that the blazing light of democracy handed over to him by the same electorates is not used as a furnace in roasting their lives.
“If only this actions can be transferred to Southern Kaduna and the North East that is under bandits and terrorist attacks where their attention are desperately needed then better result could have been archived,” Ameh said.
On her part, Hassan condemned the attacks and arrests of protesters affiliated with the #RevolutionNow movement in three states of the country: Abuja, Lagos, and Osun by operatives of various Nigerian security agencies.
She said that photographs, videos, and reports from the field corroborated that on 5th August 2020, unarmed protesters in Osun, Abuja, and Lagos were accosted by security operatives, and subsequently subjected to inhumane treatment.
“The security personnel were primarily from the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security (DSS).
“In the case of Osogbo, Osun state, the protesters were arrested at the chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists while addressing the members of the press – an action that can only be described as an abuse of power by these operatives.
“In Abuja, protesters at the Unity Fountain, Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama were either dispersed or arrested; and the surrounding streets were cordoned off by soldiers, thereby restricting citizens’ mobility.
“In Lagos, protesters, who gathered at the Ikeja under-bridge, were also dispersed or arrested by security operatives.
“The Centre hereby strongly warns against the constant breach of trust and the abuse of human rights by Nigeria’s security agencies,” she said.
According to her, thes street-protesters were exercising their fundamental human rights as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Further, the Centre emphasizes that by the actions of security operatives on 5th August 2020, at least three fundamental rights of the protesters were infringed upon: (i) the right of association, (ii) right to peaceful assembly, and (iii) the right to freedom of expression.
Additionally, security operatives have on this day, trampled upon citizens’ rights as provided in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria is legally bound.
She warned that the use of lethal force and tear gas, and the abuse of the people’s rights – as seen at the #RevolutionNow Protest – can no longer be condoned, particularly from those called to serve.
She said, “The CDD also warns the Federal Government against using the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to shrink the civic space.
“This repression of citizens is an objectionable trend which has become more prevalent across the globe, as governments restrict civic freedoms under the shield of the pandemic.
“A people-oriented government would focus on engaging its citizens, rather than abusing an opportunity to listen, learn, and most importantly, to engage with the issues of governance raised by peaceful protesters.”