#June12Protest: CSOs ask FG, security operatives to respect rights of protesters

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to respect the constitutional rights of Nigerians to a peaceful protest.

The group, in a statement sent to The ICIR by its Coordinator Mbasekei Martin Obono on Friday, noted that Nigerians who had chosen to protest peacefully on June 12 must be allowed to do so without harassment from security agencies.

“The government and its Security Services must play by the rules and conduct themselves in ways that guarantee the safety and well-being of peaceful protesters,” part of their statement said.

“We align ourselves with the Federal High Court judgement in the case of Charles Oputa alias Charley Boy Vs. Nigerian Police Force & 2Ors delivered on the 22nd day of October 2018, where the learned Honourable Justice John Tsoho held that using teargas or water cannons on peaceful protesters was inhuman and degrading treatment.

“We wish to remind the Federal Government and its security services to abide by this judgment, the constitution they swore to protect and other international instruments and desist from carrying out arbitrary arrests and use of disproportionate or unjustified force on peaceful protesters.”



    The statement reminded Buhari’s administration that the murder of innocent citizens during the #ENDSARS protest at Lekki Toll Gate and other parts of the country was still fresh in the minds of citizens and the international community, warning that any violation or inhumane treatment of protesters would be redressed before national courts, if possible, and international courts, where necessary.

    While recalling that Section 17(2)(c) of the Nigerian Constitution required that governmental actions should be humane, the group called on the international community to pay close attention to the #June12Protest and help to avert any dangers.

    Some of the CSOs which signed the statement included: The Tap Nitaitive For Citizens Development; African Centre For Information and Literacy (AFRICML); Global Rights Nigeria; Dataphyte; Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria; Al-habibiyyah Islamic Society; Inibehe Effiong Chambers; Cross River Watch; Nigerian Bar Association, Unity Bar; Agba Jalingo; Basic Rights Council; Etim Okon, Chairman Cross River Traditional Rulers Council; HRH Eze Ositadinma Nwokocha, Imo Traditional Rulers Council; HRH Chief Michael Akpabio, Akpabio Traditional Rulers Council; DASS Emirate, Bauchi State; and Advocacy Centre For Development.

    Others were: Network of Yobe Civil Society Organizations (Yobo); Association of NGOs;  Gombe Emirate Council; Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy; Premium Times Centre For Investigative Journalism; International Centre For Investigative Journalism; Citizens Gavel; Connected Development; Dorothy Njemanze Foundation; Dinidari Foundation; Lawyers Alert; CDD West Africa; Medley Project; YIAVHA Nigeria; Education as Vaccine; Centre for Liberty; Adopt a goal; Bauchi State Network of CSOs; TIERS; Destiny Youth Foundation; Before 40 Youth Foundation; KIMPACT Development; AC4D; Jennon Pius & Co Legal practise; Accountability Lab Nigeria; and Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA).

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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