51 Civil Society Organisations Condemn Attacks, Arrest, Detention Of Protesters - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

51 Civil Society Organisations Condemn Attacks, Arrest, Detention Of Protesters

A total of 51 civil society organisations on Tuesday condemned the shrinking civic space in the country as well as attacks, harassment, arrest and detention of Nigerians, particularly protesters and journalists by security agents under  the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and called for a halt to the occurrences.


The 51  civil organisations including Centre for Democracy Development (CDD), Centre for Democratic Research and Training (CRDDERT),  Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Falana Falana Chambers  noted that media harassment, intimidation as well as continuous attacks on human rights and anti-corruption civil society organisations and activists in the country have become a growing phenomenon.



They, therefore, called for restrain of arbitrary misuse of power against the citizens for a non-violent protest, demonstration to express their views, immediate release of all activists who are in detention for exercising their fundamental rights; in a statement made available to The Daily Crucible


They also called on security agencies and government officials to ensure total compliance wirh the rule of law as provided for in the nation's legal system.

 

"Since return of democracy in 1999 and particularly following the 2019 general elections, the citizens were very hopefully of renewed vigor in addressing the myriad of problems bedeviling the country ranging from intensification of insecurity, the deepening of corruption, growing poverty and unemployment as well as flagrant and frequent disrespect of the rule of law. Nigerians believed that the Administration which received the mandate of Nigerians for another four-year term would reciprocate the people's goodwill and trust; and commit itself to expand the civic space and facilitating citizen's engagement in an expanding democratic space.

We, the undersigned civil society organisations have observed with great concern and indeed, alarm, massive violation of the rights of citizens, including the right to protest, concerted attacks of media organisations, press freedom and civil society organisations:

         Media Harassment and Intimidation

 

"The Nigerian mass media has become a regular focus of illegal attacks by the security agencies. Unlawful arrest and detention of journalists have become a growing phenomenon, and our great tradition of a free press and freedom of expression is under severe stress. 

 

  Constant Harassment of Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Civil Society Organisations

 

"The Nigeria state is currently engaged in continuous attacks on human rights and anti-corruption civil society organisations and activists in the country. An instance is the unfair attack on Amnesty International Nigeria by some security agencies and unscrupulous agents using hoodlums and miscreants threatening Amnesty International Nigeria to vacate the country. Trying to force a legal organisation that has all Nigeria citizens to vacate and leave the country without an attempt by security agencies to protect their rights is unacceptable. 

 

      The Unlawful Ban on Protest

 

"We are gravely concerned over the unlawful statement issued by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force threatening to prosecute the organisers of the peaceful rallies in Nigeria. There are existing provisions of law and judicial authorities recognising the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to non-violently convene and participate in rallies, demonstration and protest marches. Fundamentally,  the provision of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons…” is sacrosanct and must be protected. 

 

"We therefore, call for restrained of arbitrary misuse of power against the citizens for a non-violent protest, demonstration to express their views.

 

"We demand immediate release of all activists who are in detention for exercising their fundamental rights.

 

"We call on security agencies and government officials to ensure total compliance to the rule of law as provided for in our legal system.

 

"We also call on government to respect and allow the flourishing of civil space for meaningful contribution to democratic governance in Nigeria.

 

"We further call on government to be more accountable and responsive to the citizenry they were elected to serve for good governance,"  the 51 organisations stated.


Reporter: Jane Okafor, Abuja

 

 

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