A coalition of about 100 civil society groups under the aegis of Peace, Sustainable, Security and National Development (PSSND) have submitted a petition to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asking the National Assembly to pass a vote of confidence in the current leadership of the nation’s security agencies.
The groups also cautioned the Nigeria Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Amnesty International against meddling in what it described as Nigeria’s national interest.
The groups, who walked in their numbers from the Unity Fountain, Abuja, to the main entrance of the National Assembly, Thursdaysaid in a letter submitted to the Speaker that they were worried by the activities of individuals and groups who offered themselves as stooges to the machination of terrorist organisations from within and outside Nigeria in order to cause civil unrest and forceful overthrow a democratically elected government.
Both NHRC and the Amnesty International have openly condemned some of the actions of Nigerian security agencies against the citizens.
But in a letter to Gbajabiamilasubmitted by comrade AdamuMatazu, the groups said all over the world, National interest takes precedence over individual human rights “and no sovereign nation will sit aloof while its national security is being threatened, hiding under the shadow of free speech, human rights and democracy.
“Individuals or groups that amplify call for change in government through violence rather than through the ballot which is the only known constitutionally guaranteed means are state enemies and must be treated as such.
“In a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in a case of AsariDokubo (Appellant) Vs Federal Republic of Nigeria (Respondents) S. C. 208/2006 the Supreme Court ruled as follows “…where National Security is threatened or there is the real likelihood of it being threatened human rights or individuals rights of those responsible take second place. Human rights or individual rights must be suspended until the national security can be protected or well taken care of.”
The convener of the groups said: “There is nothing repressive or suppressive about the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Rather, it is a new era of transparency, respect for rule of law and security.
“That where national security is threatened, we must join hand with our security agencies in neutralising imminent threats to our collective wellbeing, safety and security.
“That we are satisfied with the present leadership of the Department of State Service (DSS) led by a seasoned intelligent officer, Mr Yusuf MagajiBichi under whose leadership has brought the needed reforms in the service.
“That we admonish the National Human Right Commission to as a matter factuality stop meddling in the national security issues in the name of protecting human rights defenders
“That we salute the DSS and other security organisations in containing all national threats and for safeguarding our democracy and for their tolerance to genuine and objective criticism.
“That we wish to sound a note of warning to Amnesty International Nigeria to stop its needless meddlesomeness in our national security affairs or risk being declared persona non grata by the Nigerian civil society community.
“That we call on both chambers of the National Assembly (Senate and the House of Representatives) to pass a vote of confidence as a resolution of the National Assembly on our security agencies, particularly the DSS for the daily sacrifices they are making in keeping our country safe and secured.”