The Civil Society Organisations under the umbrella of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) among others have expressed concern over the unlawful statement issued by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force threatening to prosecute the organisers of the peaceful rallies of the Revolution Now in Nigeria.
They group said 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.
In a joint statement issued by them said 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.
According to them, since the 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.
They said 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
“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.
“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.
“We therefore, call for restrained of arbitrary misuse of power against the citizens for a non-violent protest, demonstration to express their views,” he said .