The pro-democracy and leading Civil Rights Advocacy group: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the forceful clampdown against all protesters just as the group said physically attacking peaceful demonstrators is antithetical to the principles and practices of constitutional democracy, rule of law and the adherence to the tenets of fundamental human rights.
“Civil protests are the essential ingredients for the sustenance and advancement of constitutional democracy without which much that can happen as a system of government is autocracy and tyranny.
“We totally reject the undue resort to brute force by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration against unarmed and absolutely peaceful and constructive demonstrators who are only calling for good governance and adherence to constitutionalism.
“In any event, the federal government is only but the servant of the people who donated the legitimacy for the exercise of political authority by President Buhari for a statutory period.”
HURIWA quoted a plethora of the Nigerian constitution to demand an immediate end to the attacks against peaceful demonstrators by the armed security forces and for an immediate and unconditional release of all the detained protesters.
Section 14(1)(2)(a) (b) and (c) states thus: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State base on the principles of democracy and social justices.
It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:
a. Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its power and authority
b. The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government
c. The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”
Section 34(1) (a) provides thus: “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly
1. No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;
2. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and
3. No person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Section 35 states thus: Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law
i. In execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;
ii. By reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;
iii. For the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence. Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before the court of law within a reasonable time”.
The Rights group said credible CSOs should challenge the newly introduced National Broadcasting Code which criminalizes free speech under the guise of fighting hate speech. .