HURIWA condemns clampdown on protesters, challenges new NBC code

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the clampdown on protesters, just as physically attacking peaceful demonstrators was antithetical to the principles and practices of constitutional democracy, rule of law, and the adherence to the tenets of fundamental human rights.

This is as the Rights group called on credible Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to challenge the newly introduced National Broadcasting Code (NBC) which criminalises free speech under the guise of fighting hate speech.

HURIWA National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a press statement, Wednesday in Abuja, said “Civil protests are the essential ingredients for the sustenance and advancement of constitutional democracy without which much that can happen as a system of government is autocracy and tyranny.

“We totally reject the undue resort to brute force by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration against unarmed and absolutely peaceful and constructive demonstrators who are only calling for good governance and adherence to constitutionalism.

“In any event, the federal government is only but the servant of the people who donated the legitimacy for the exercise of political authority by President Buhari for a statutory period.”

HURIWA while demanding an immediate end to the attacks against peaceful demonstrators by the armed security forces and for an immediate and unconditional release of all the detained protesters quoted relevant sections of the constitution.

According to the group, “Section 14(1)(2)(a) (b) and (c) states thus:”The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justices.

It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:

a.     Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its power and authority

b.    The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government

c.     The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

“Section 34(1) (a) provides thus: “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly

1.    No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;

2.    No person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and

3.    No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

“Section 35 states thus: Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law

i.               In execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;

    ii.      By reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;

   iii.      For the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence.

“Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before the court of law within a reasonable time.”

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