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HomeLocalHardship: Why FG can’t stop peaceful protests – Tambuwal

Hardship: Why FG can’t stop peaceful protests – Tambuwal

ABUJA– As citizens continue to register their displeasure over the rising cost of living in the country, a former Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has adduced reasons why the Federal Government cannot stop peaceful protests.

Tambuwal, who is currently representing Sokoto South in the Senate, maintained that no law in the country forbade aggrieved citizens from embarking on peaceful protests.

Speaking with journalists on the sideline of a Stakeholders’ Dialogue on the state of human rights in Nigeria, organized by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, the federal lawmaker said there was need for security agencies to understand that the right of citizens to protest, is constitutional.

According to him,

“Our courts have spoken that you cannot stop people from a peaceful protest and it is very clear in our laws.

“Where is the limitation in the law? Maybe we should engage the police and other people in uniform to understand this.

“I do not see anything in black and white, in any law or any convention in this country that is restricting peoples’ rights against peaceful protests.”

In his keynote presentation at the event, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Mr. Anthony Ojukwu, SAN, bemoaned the rising cases of rights violations in the country.

Ojukwu said the Commission had received over 2.3million complaints in 2022, adding that “the right to life is also directly violated by persistent insecurity in the form of terrorism, escalating killings and farmer-herder conflicts and separatist agitations, kidnappings and armed banditry across the country.”

He said:“The dignity of the human person is also under siege. Recent reports of torture and cruel treatment by law enforcement officials, exemplified by reports by the Human Rights Watch, which documented 12 cases where young men had been shot in the foot or leg whilst in police custody.

“In the same vein, unlawful arrests by security agencies threaten personal liberty. Similarly, rights to freedom of expression and assembly is under attack.

“Media houses and human rights defenders, crucial voices for accountability, oftentimes face harassment, intimidation and even violence.

“This chills free expression and restricts access to information. Protecting these individuals and fostering a conducive environment for free expression are critical.

“Also, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) seems to be on the rise each day across the country.

“There is also the issue of digital rights and responsibilities as social media oficionados continually take on the privacy of citizens by way of cyberbullying and/or cybercrimes.

“Yet, as these seem not to be enough of the abuse of the human rights of the citizens, the implementation of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy seem not to be receiving the necessary traction it deserves.

“Civil society organizations, community leaders, and individuals must be empowered to demand their rights and hold authorities accountable.”

He argued that refusal of government and its agencies to obey court judgements was responsible for low Foreign Direct Investments, FDI.

“Disobeying court orders has implications on our FDI. They will believe if their rights are infringed and they
go to court the orders might not be obeyed. And as such they will not get the remedy they seek,” the NHRC boss added.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, decried that despite the EndSARS protest that took place in 2020, human right challenges still remained in the country.

“The challenge of human rights in Nigeria remains. Some of them institutional, some of them are behavioral and others are human-made.

“Those challenges continue to pose obstacles to the exercise of human rights in the country.

“We see the abuses that come with citizens’ interaction with the police; we saw the circumstances that led to protests in 2020; and we saw the commitments of government agencies to address the problem raised for it.

“Unfortunately, they continue to operate in ways that do not help the citizens to exercise the full value of rights recognised in the constitution,” he stated.

Among dignitaries at the dialogue meeting, included the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Mohammed Monguno, as well as his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Hon. Abiola Makinde.

From Vanguard

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