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Human Rights Group Condemns IGP For Arresting Sowore

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A group under the auspices of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has criticised the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu for physically tormenting and harassing the Civil Rights campaigner and publisher of saharareporters Omoyele Sowore for carrying out peaceful protests.

HURIWA said the arrest of the activist confirms the intelligence it got before the New Year that the year 2021 will be tough for the organised community of civil rights campaigners in Nigeria because: “the Federal government will unleash what it calls scorched-earth anti-activists policies whose components will include forced disappearances, armed abductions and mass arrests of human rights activists.”

The group said the reported threats to the lives of Sowore and his associates by armed police from the Federal Capital Territory’s command who rounded the protesters up during their solemn crossover civil rights candle light procession was not just unconstitutional and illegal but amounted to the violation of the rights to religious freedoms, Freedoms of Movement, Association and peaceful assembly as guaranteed by chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.

It called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the police to release Sowore and his associates.

HURIWA said: “This Nigerian Police Force has indeed refused to heed to the voice of reason by decisively changing their terrible modus operandi as a force for evil and as an anti democratic reactionary elements. The Nigerian Police Force needs to be tailored and refocused to confront and combat the widespread violence tearing apart the fabrics of our nation State and join the men and officers of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to battle the expanding frontiers of terror attacks in the North East of Nigeria and the North Western Southern Kaduna State.

“The Police should learn to respect the Constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens such as Rights to civil and peaceful assembly and protests. What Omoyele Sowore and his associates did by assembling in Gudu junction in the nation’s capital has in no way constituted any threats to the National Security interests of Nigeria. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to order that the Police should immediately release unconditionally the publisher of saharareporters Omoyele Sowore and his associates.”

HURIWA recalled that the media reported that the Nigerian police have again arrested the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, for leading a protest in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

HURIWA said Sowore and some activists were arrested at the #CrossoverWithProtest, a planned procession across the country on New Year eve just as Some of the protesters who escaped arrest confirmed to the media that Sowore was whisked away in one of the seven vans of the Nigerian police mobilised to the protest ground.

HURIWA also expressed fears and anxieties that the declining state of governance in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory would push millions of Nigerians into absolute state of poverty even as youth unemployment, persistent strikes in tertiary educational institutions, armed violent cult groups, lack of respect to Child Rights will worsen the standards of living of over 150 million Nigerians and lead to a spike in violent crimes with blood cuddling consequences.

In a short new year message, the group said there are ominous signs that there could be a deliberate activation by the Federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari of some sets of anti-people policies that may be targeted at abridging the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens such as the Rights to civil liberty, Freedoms of movement and association and most importantly, there could be a renewed resolve by this government to curb the freedom of Expression and Speech.

It said: “The clear failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to halt the wave of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria would in 2021 compel Nigerians to demonstrate and this will be greeted with violent crackdown by an intolerant government that had in the past deployed armed security forces to forcefully kill peaceful protesters”.

In the media statement jointly issued on Saturday, January 2, 2021, by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said that there are an abundant of supporting facts to show that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will in the year 2021 seek to further tighten the noose around the determination of social critics and human rights activists to speak out loud and clear against the rise in the violent abuses of the Constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental freedoms of the citizens.

HURIWA added: “From available empirical evidence, this federal government does not tolerate divergent thinking and opinions and to make matters worse, the Federal Government is in the habitual pastime of motivating and encouraging mushroom platforms set up by highly subjective and partisan religious and ethnic bigots to go all out to attack voices of dissent to the policies of the administration.”

Source: The Nation

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