…Says attack amounts to affront on Nigeria’s democracy
A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has condemned the alleged raid on the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch by the Nigerian Police and the DSS.
The security agencies had reportedly raided the secretariat of the NBA following the planned protest by members of the association on Thursday, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Lagos state.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Theophilus Abu Agada, the Concerned Nigerians group said Nigerians have the right to peaceful protest. It also said that its members would resist any attempt by the government to “stifle debate on matters of public interest.”
According to the statement, “The attack yesterday on the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch by the Nigerian Police and the DSS is an affront on our nascent democracy and another testament that Nigeria, under president Muhammadu Buhari is fast drifting into fascism.
“Since this administration came on board in 2015, there has been a relentless onslaught on our Democratic institutions like the Judiciary, legislature and even the fourth estate of the realm, the Media.
“The right to join fellow agrieved citizens in protest is critical to a functioning democracy. The Nigeria Police and other security agencies often times violate this very right through means intended to prevent people from expressing themselves.
“It is not out of place for citizens to make informed decisions such as protesting on the streets while also working to expose corruption, Injustice and the abuse of power.
“People must be free to seek, receive, share opinion and information online and offline without being arrested or harassed by the authorities.
“We must ensure that the safety of human rights of journalists, lawyers and public commentators are protected
“We will resist any attempt by the government to stifle debate on matters of public interest.
“The United Nations human rights resolution which Nigeria is signatory to, allows everyone to hold opinions without interference.
“The siege on the Nigerian Bar Association, office, Ikeja branch and the subsequent arrest of it’s chairman Mr Adesina Ogunlana over planned protest against the Lagos Land Use Charge is another attempt by this despotic government to bully lawyers and individuals into submission.
“Moreover, we are calling on the government to be responsible and stop hounding citizens using the instrumentality of the state.”