Leaders of Conscience under the aegis of the Nigeria Consultative Front (NCFront), on Sunday, said the organisation will defend the arrested Yoruba Nation protesters in court.
The forum also condemned; “in the strongest terms the forceful disruption of the peaceful rally” organised by self-determination activists in Lagos on Saturday, reiterating that peaceful protests and rallies were constitutional rights of Nigerians.
NCFront is jointly led by a former Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ghali Na’aba and a former Presidential Candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi.
The National Secretary of the NCFront, Sir Olawale Okunniyi, in a statement on Sunday, equally demanded compensation for the family of a 14-year-old girl, who was killed during the protest while calling for the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the protest.
Daily Trust reports that a combined team of heavily armed security operatives had disrupted the Yoruba Nation Rally in Lagos, firing teargas canisters and hot water on the protesters demanding for self-determination.
In the process, stray bullets allegedly fired by the police hit the 14-year-old girl identified as Jumoke. However, the police had denied the killing.
The state police command also paraded 47 protesters on Sunday.
Reacting to the development, the NCFront said its standing legal team had been mandated to stand in for those arrested in connection with the protests.
It also vowed to challenge the “brute force” used by the federal government in quelling protests.
It said: “As a credible political alternative to the ruling powers in Nigeria, we wish to state unequivocally that the use of brute force to repress and quell self-determination agitations in the country, at this delicate period of Nigeria, is counter productive and may lead to violent struggle and anarchy experienced in other climes, where popular agitations of the people driven underground by State forces have foisted civilian guerilla reactions and underground violence against the unprovoked brutality deployed by State agents against citizens’ popular aspiration.
“In the same vein, abduction of a fugitive, without extradition order properly prosecuted is unlawful and nothing but official banditry, a precursor for self-help and anarchy in Nigeria.”
It said the use of live ammunition which resulted in the killing of the girl was “bestial, criminal and gross abuse of state power, which shall be taken up by our legal team in courts for the prosecution of the Police and to push for compensation and apology to the family of the girl slained by the Police…”
It said it would put up charges “against the various abuse of powers by the federal government, especially at the International Court of Justice, ICJ in due course as State security forces are not expected to act as bandits but protectors of citizens’ rights.
“Again, to the best of our understanding, Citizens do not require Police Permit to hold rallies and protests to express their aspirations and grievances but mere notice of protest to obtain police protection as done by the organizers of the Lagos rally on Thursday; as a copy of the letter of notification to Lagos State Commissioner of Police was sighted by our national secretariat.
“Finally, the NCFront will like the Buhari government to note that nothing could best restore peace and stability to the country as much as the immediate convening of a people’s constituents’ assembly and the conduct of a citizens’ referendum to democratically decide how Nigerians want to harmoniously coexist and constitutionally run their political affairs peacefully; as the ongoing constitution amendments by the national assembly can barely save the country from pervasive insecurity and anarchy rocking the nation’s stability without the fundamental agreement of the people of Nigeria.
“What Nigeria requires urgently is national equity and reconciliation to stem the growing political tension and pervasive insecurity in the country.
“The federal government will do well to support the ongoing process initiated by the NCFront to save Nigeria,” the statement added.