…Journalists Harassed, AI, Others React
By Augustine Akhilomen
Publisher of Cross River Watch, Agba Jalingo and RevolutionNow Movement leader, Olawale Bakare and about 40 other protesters have been released by the police after they were initially arrested for championing a protest demanding the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Both Jalingo and Bakare were only recently freed by the Department of State Service (DSS) for allegedly calling for a revolution.
Confirming their release, rights activist and Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju tweeted, “#RevolutionNow: All Abuja comrades arrested earlier have been released. Aluta Continua.
“Let me apologize to all the media folks and our comrades harassed today by rampaging security agents. We shall overcome. #RevolutionNow”
In the meantime, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the violent attacks on #RevolutionNow protesters in Abuja, Lagos, Osogbo and other parts of the country.
In a statement signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, they called on President Buhari to end the use of excessive force against protesters, and allow people to peacefully exercise their human rights”.
‘Nigerians are sick and tired of poverty, corruption, injustice and untimely death’; ‘Say no to injustice’, ‘Yes to living wage for unemployed youths’.
The statement titled, ‘Nigeria: SERAP condemns attacks on #RevolutionNow protesters’, partly read, “By failing to adequately protect protesters from violent attacks, Nigerian authorities have blatantly violated their obligations under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.
“Nobody should be arrested or subjected to torture and ill-treatment simply for taking part in peaceful protests. The authorities should stop criminalising peaceful protesters.”
“Rather than suppressing peaceful protests, the authorities ought to protect peaceful protesters and ensure a safe and enabling environment for people to exercise their constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls campaign group, Aisha Yesufu also condemned the attacks of innocent protesters by the security operatives in Lagos and Abuja.
Aisha via her twitter handle said: “I found peace the day I came to this place. If you refuse to hold your government accountable then be ready to enjoy the results of not holding government accountable.”
Former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Chidi Odinkalu also reacted to the recent attacks of protesters in some part of the country.
He said: “I don’t exactly understand what @NigeriaGov hopes to achieve by systematic breach of the prohibition against torture in S.34 of the constitution in order as a way to breach the right to peaceful protest by #RevolutionNow.”
Amnesty International (AI) also called on the security forces to end the ongoing attacks on protesters at Unity Fountain, Abuja and across the country.
AI stated this via its twitter handle on Wednesday.
“Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian security forces to end ongoing attack on protesters at Unity Fountain, Abuja and across the country. Protest is a human right and use of excessive force on protesters is unlawful.”