The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has condemned the arrest of protesters affiliated with the #RevolutionNow movement in Abuja, Lagos, and Osun by operatives of various Nigerian security agencies.
The Centre recalled that on 5th August 2020, unarmed protesters in the three states were accosted by security operatives, and subsequently “subjected to inhumane treatment by these operatives.”
The CDD, in a statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, argued that the street-protesters were exercising their fundamental human rights, stating that the ‘clampdown on them is inhumane and an abuse of citizens right.
“In the case of Osogbo, 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 these 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.
“Photographs, videos, and reports from the field corroborate that the security personnel were primarily from the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security (DSS)”, the statement read.
The Centre said the security operatives violated at least three fundamental rights to include; the right of association, right to peaceful assembly, and the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
“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.
“The Centre strongly warns 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 centre said.
The CDD also warned the Federal Government against using the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to shrink the civic space.
The CDD further called on the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the heads of the security agencies to redress their steps and unconditionally release all others arrested during the course of the protest, with assurance and commitment that this sort of action will never be repeated.