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June 12: SSS warns Nigerians to shun planned protest

THE State Security Service (SSS) has warned Nigerians against protesting on June 12 – the Democracy Day.

The Service, in a statement via its X handle, on Tuesday, June 11, said the protests were designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day celebration, noting that it was an attempt to incite ‘mass disaffection.’

The ICIR reports that Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), allows every person to assemble freely and associate with other persons.

“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests,” Section 40 reads.

The DSS, however, noted that while citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security.

Part of the statement read: “The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated. However, it is instructive to note that violent demonstrations are at variance with the peaceful disposition of the Federal Government to amicably address all contentions including the minimum wage. 

“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.

“Consequently, the DSS reaffirms its unequivocal position to protect the country from inimical acts being orchestrated by disgruntled groups to cause a breakdown of law and order. It will also sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

Until 2019, Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day on May 29.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the celebration be marked on June 12 in honour of Moshood Abiola, acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, held on the same date.

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June 12 has always been significant to Nigerians, many of whom refer to the 1993 election as the most peaceful and credible poll ever held in the country.

An estimated 14 million Nigerians showed up at polling units, defying poor weather to elect Abiola in an election they hoped would put an end to military putsches and dictatorship.




     

     

    Although data from the poll showed that Abiola won the election, he was never formally declared the winner.

    Abiola was also never sworn in by the military government under the administration of Ibrahim Babangida, an Army General.

    While struggling to reclaim his mandate, Abiola was imprisoned by the then Head of State, Sani Abacha, another Army General who took over from Babangida. Abiola died while still in detention, in 1998.

    Buhari conferred Abiola with a posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), the highest national honour exclusively reserved for presidents and former presidents

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    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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