The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has rejected the bill before the National Assembly to constitutionalise the criminality of protest and civil disobedience.
The NANS president, Asefon Sunday, in a statement issued Friday night, said it was a direct assault on the very tenant of democracy and the most fundamental freedom of citizens.
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“This evil bill is a direct attempt to return our nation to a dictatorship where the citizens lack the right to protest and dissent. This bill will not and must not be passed,” he said.
The NANS president said: “Now that this bill is on the table, we will use the only instrument of dissent that our leaders and representatives understand which is a protest to frustrate its passage.”
He said the bill, sponsored by Honourable Chinedu Martins of the Peoples Democratic Party, Imo State, is not only ridiculous but unnecessary at a time elected representatives should concentrate on how to further enshrine and extend the frontier of democracy and freedom to dissent.
He maintained that protests and dissent in any developing democracy is a right of citizens and lawmakers should rather concentrate on sponsoring bills that will mandate security personnel to provide security to protesters to ensure protests are not hijacked by hoodlums.
“We will mobilize all our resources to see that this irrational bill die a natural death as no dictator or dictator wanna-be will be allowed to steal the gains of democracy and return us to the dark days of dictatorship using the democratic process,” he added.