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The use of brute force: An account of a peaceful protester

I concluded when we staged a peaceful protest in Kano recently that the common enemy of both the past, present and future government in Nigeria…

I concluded when we staged a peaceful protest in Kano recently that the common enemy of both the past, present and future government in Nigeria is and will always be a peaceful protester.

My conclusion was based on our encounters with the security operatives drafted to disrupt our peaceful protest that was meant to send a message to our political leaders in the comfort of Aso Rock.

Whilst I was maltreated and manhandled by a team of the security operatives at the protest ground, I equally stood my ground as a citizen of Nigeria.

The security operatives that comprised the police, the DSS, the Civil Defense and others whose status couldn’t be ascertained due to their dressing in civilian regalia, have tried by all means necessary to disrupt, blackmail and intimidate us for exercising our rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.

We were first stopped by the security operatives at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ (NUJ) Secretariat along Farm Center Kano where our Match to freedom started.

I was singled out for attack when I stood with my phone camera snapping pictures. ACivil Defence operative rushed after me and claimed that he saw me making a video; so he jumped on me and started to engage me and dragged me by force to snatch my phone from my hand.

I stood my ground and held onto my phone and shouted on top of my voice for him to stop.

I shouted, ‘I’m a citizen of Nigeria, your salary is paid with my own money, where were you when we fought for the NCDC bill at the House of Representatives?”

I continued by calling his attention to Section 40 of the Constitution which gave us the ticket to converge for a peaceful assembly and associate with like minds. I equally called his attention to chapter 4 of the Nigeria constitution which has expressly identified and guards our rights to peaceful protest and assembly.

After some hours protesting at the gate of the NUJ Secretariat, we concluded amongst ourselves to proceed for a procession to the Media houses starting with Daily Trust and that was when the DSS intervened and stopped us.

They insisted we will not go anywhere; our movements as free citizens were restricted by the same people who were supposed to ensure that we exercise our rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. We argued with them and insisted that their stand to stop us from exercising our constitutional rights is itself was a crime; this was when I was marked.

We dispersed to our meeting point at NSITF building housing CITAD Secretariat at Zoo Road where we have been using as our meeting point for a week, but to our amazement, as we just entered the gate and converged, many of the security agents were stationed at the gate waiting for our exit.

The short meeting amongst the pioneers of the protest that includes myself as Chairman; Kungiyar Matasan Kano Advocacy Organisation; the Kano State Coordinator of Joints Action Front (JAF), Dr. Bala ; Executive Director, Center for Human Right And Social Advancement (CEFSAN), Barr. Sani Yusha’u Yankuzo, Nura Iro Ma’aji of ASUU, Comrade Fagge

We noticed that the security agents especially the DSS who have been somehow friendly from the beginning started to show their true colour, probably on instruction they received from the control room might be the reason they changed status.

They threatened that our insistence to continue the protest might invite miscreants who would hijack the procession; of course, it’s all part of their strategy, but we remained defiant to whatever they suggested which was not in tandem with the provisions of the law and the Constitution.

Other communications they had with their office we believe informed their next move; since we refused to listen to their advances of threats and intimidation, they acted by seizing our banners and left us to our fate. But even at this stage, some operatives in civilian clothing were left behind to monitor our movement. Refusing citizens opportunity  to exercise their fundamental human rights as provided by section 40 of the 1999 Constitution is an act of rape against the Constitution. This is why the fight against injustice must continue.


Comrade Alhassan Haruna Dambatta writes in from Kano


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