…Says Jailing Dissenters Is An Invitation To Violence
By Henry Umoru
SENATOR Shehu Sani who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th Senate first on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC and later the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP have asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to crush protesters or jail dissenters.
Senator Sani who warned that jailing them was an invitation to violence said that Nigeria’s democracy is a product of protest, just as he stressed incessant clampdown on the opposition by the Nigerian government will not augur well for the country.
According to him, the government has the responsibility of respecting people’s right by allowing them to express their views on national issues through a peaceful protest.
He called on the government to respect the rule of law and stop the indiscriminate arrest of Nigerians for expressing their opinions as well as use force to crush people with divergent views.
Senator Sani spoke at the weekend in Abuja during an interactive forum organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ ) Correspondents’ Chapel FCT Council tagged ” Correspondents Roundtable ”
The Senator who noted that citizens could be compelled to be violent and mobster instead of peaceful when they were being prevented from expressing their opinion through a legitimate and peaceful protest, said ” I said it repeatedly If people are desirous of protecting and defending their freedom through peaceful protest, the state has the constitutional responsibility to respect their rights and protect them to express their views. If you crush dissent and jail dissenters, you are forcing people to take the road of violence.
“In order to protect our democracy, there is a need for the government to respect the rule of law. State apparatus must not engage in the indiscriminate arrest of people for expressing their opinion.
” By using force to crush dissent from ordinary Nigerians, we are inviting people to take up the vigilante option in terms of defending themselves.”
The Senator who condemned the physical attacks on the former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB said that it was reprehensive and uncivilized.
He said, “Those who took to thuggery outside of the nation were inspired by the way protesters and dissenters are being treated by the state. There is no difference between the way my friend and brother ( Ekweremadu ) was treated in Numerberg with the way protesters were treated in Lagos and Abuja by the state apparatus.
” So the state is the main culprit in term of inspiring people to take road other than the one that is legitimate and lawful. ”
According to him, the incident should be seen as a lesson and wake up call for the Nigerian government in hounding and vilifying innocent citizens who expressed their views against the Buhari regime.
Sani who noted that the national flag and anthems cannot unite a nation whose citizens were psychologically divided along ethnic and religion line, said that the nation cannot be united without justice, adding, ” Over a century after amalgamation and close to six decades since the flag that was granted by British. We all accept that we are still struggling to be one, united and be seen as a nation. The national flag cannot unite a nation when you don’t have justice. The national anthem and national pledge cannot unite a nation when there is no justice.
“The coat of arm cannot unite a nation if we are divided psychologically, mentally and spiritually ”
” Sowore has not done anything wrong. He contributed his own quotas to the emergence of this government and I cannot be mistaken to say many of those occupying position of power today in this government went to New York and met Sowore on many occasion to help them fight the former government.
” How do you turn and say the same person who spoke on justice and freedom five years ago is now the enemy. The enemy of President today is those who are pretending to be his friends. I have always reminded those in the position of authority even before I became a senator and when I was a senator that power is temporary in life. The life after power is longer than when in power”
Sani who debunked the insinuation that he has been appointed the coordinator for Presidential ambition of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said that the report was fake and unfounded, adding that it was the handiwork of mischief-makers. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the report.
On the power rotation, the Senator said that there is a possibility for the Northern region to produce the President in 2023 if the south-east and south-west are divided and could not have a common front. He, therefore, urged the people from the southern part of the country to team up and put their house together to produce the next President.
” They have been in power from 2015 to 2023 and it will be unfair to hold on to power after 2023 base on the fact that another part of the country has to be put into cognizant.
“It would be unfair for one part of the country to use their topographic or demographic advantage to hold on to power. It was not a topographic or demographic advantage that delivers them to power, that is my position.”