Don’t push Nigerians to the wall, lawyer cautions Buhari over criminalization of peaceful protest
Posted by News Express | 25 June 2021 | 88 times
•President Muhammadu Buhari
By JIDE OYEKUNLE, Abuja
A Constitutional Lawyer, Kayode Ajulo has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari not to provoke or push Nigerians to the wall with clampdown on peaceful protest in the country.
He also cautioned against taking the country back to the dark day of military rule with the shrinking and closing of the civic and media space.
He disclosed this on Friday in Abuja in a chat with journalists on the state of the nation.
Ajulo said the clampdown by the security agents on peaceful protest in the country was worrisome and a clear violation of Section 36 of the Constitution, which guaranteed the fundamental rights of Nigerian people to freedom of expression and right to protest against policies of the government considered inimical to their interests.
According to him “The criminalisation of civil space for civil agitation, and peaceful protest is not what is intended by our constitution even by the practice of Nigeria.
“Our laws are so clear on the freedom of expression and we have plethora of judgements and rulings that allow Nigerians to protest against any government policies provided that it is peaceful.
“Remember that there was a time when police will be telling Nigerians that you can protest but you need police permit, the court has on several time come out to say no, you did not need police permit before you can protest.
“It is very wrong particularly during democratic government even during military Nigerians were allowed to protest”.
He wondered why security agents would continue to deny Nigerians their constitutional right to protest adding that the parliament building arcade was built purposely for protest by Nigerians to express their angers against any government policies.
He added that the duty of police was to guide and provide security for the protesters to avoid infiltration by the hoodlums.
According to him ” In a situation thst 50 or 30 people want to protest you will see 200 policemen beating hell out of them for what ? Unfortunately these things are being heard and seen all over the world showing what Nigeria is turning to.
“I can tell you that it will get to a stage where Nigerians will be pushed to the wall”, he added.
Ajulo also blamed the security challenges in the country on human rights violation, injustice and impunity on the part of the President.
“We find ourselves in mess because of maladministration, and violation of people’s rights when some people want to lord it over you”, Ajulo stated.
On the burning of INEC offices and police stations in the South East region by gunmen, the constitutional Ajulo charged the security agents to step up their game and protect live and property of Nigerians in all parts of the country.
Ajulo said “The President need to stand and the policies of government need to remind and reassure people that they are part and parcel of this country. Even our constitution is clear about it that nobody should be discriminated against. Everybody has equal rights and opportunities.
“In a situation where society is based on justice, equity and rule of law everything will work well.” (Daily Independent)
Source: News Express
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