The Centre for Democracy and Development has condemned the attacks, and arrests of protesters affiliated with the #Revolution Now movement in three states of the country: Abuja, Lagos, and Osun by operatives of various Nigerian security agencies.
CDD in a statement signed by the Director, Idayat Hassan noted that the security personnel were primarily from the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security (DSS).
The Centre strongly warned against the constant breach of trust and the abuse of human rights by Nigeria’s security agencies.
“The street-protesters were exercising their fundamental human rights as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. By the actions of security operatives on 5th August 2020, at least three fundamental rights of the protesters were infringed upon: the right of association, the right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of expression”.
“It is alarming that security operatives saddled with the responsibility to protect citizens have turned against the people and have contradicted the letter of the nation’s sacred law. We are warning 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.”
.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.”
“In 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 the 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.”
CDD, therefore, called on the Federal Government to unconditionally release all those arrested during the course of the protest, with the assurance and commitment that this occurrence will not happen again.