The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Thursday warned the Federal Government against the continuous abuse of human rights, particularly the arrest of RevolutionNow protesters on Wednesday.
The Centre described disruption of the protest and arrest of protesters carried out by by the security operatives comprising of soldiers, police officers and operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) as a breach of trust and abuse of natural rights.
Idayat Hassan, CDD Executive Director stated disclosed in Abuja while condemning how the security officials confronted protesters in Osogbo, Osun State, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Lagos, and subjected to “inhumane treatments.”
The act, she noted contravenes Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Photographs, videos, and reports from the field corroborate that on 5th August, 2020, unarmed protesters in Osun, Abuja, and Lagos were accosted by security operatives, and subsequently subjected to inhumane treatment by these operatives,” Hassan said.
“The Centre strongly warns that the use of lethal force and tear gas, and the abuse of the people’s rights – as seen at the #RevolutionNow Protest – can no longer be condoned, particularly from those called to serve.”
She cited an instance in Osogbo where the protesters were reportedly arrested at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) chapel while addressing the press – an action, she described as an abuse of power by the operatives.
These arrests, Hassan maintained contravenes at least three fundamental rights of the protesters: (i) the right of association, (ii) right to peaceful assembly, and (iii) the right to freedom of expression.
She described as alarming how security operatives saddled with the responsibility to protect citizens have turned against the people, thereby contradicting the letter of the nation’s sacred law.
“The Centre hereby strongly warns against the constant breach of trust and the abuse of human rights by Nigeria’s security agencies,” she said.
She also urged the Federal Government against the use of COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to shrink the civic space.
While applauding the government over the release of the protesters in Abuja and Lagos, the CDD boss said government must ensure the release of protesters across other parts of the country where the protests held.
“A people-oriented government would focus on engaging its citizens, rather than abusing an opportunity to listen, learn, and most importantly, to engage with the issues of governance raised by peaceful protesters,” Hassan added.