A civil Rights advocacy group- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as crass hypocrisy the statement by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that those planning nationwide street protests termed ‘Revolution’ are to be charged for treasonable felony,because they are plotting regime change.
HURIWA, accused the IGP of being ‘power drunk’ and also behaving as if the Country is still under the Abacha kind of military tyranny.
The group has therefore told the police chief that civil protests can never be misconstrued as an attempt at change of government since there are a plethora of Constitutional provisions that recognise the people as the owners of the sovereignty of Nigeria who donates to political office holders the authority and legitimacy through a democratic process and the people have the inalienable right to also demand that good governance be institutionalised and to demand the resignation of a bad government.
“Demanding the resignation of a government that has no political will to stop the killings by armed Fulani herdsmen only because the President share ethno religious affiliations with the alleged killers can never be termed as an attempt to unseat the government. Civil protests are essential elements of civil rule. Without right to public protests then there is no constitutional democracy “, HURIWA affirmed.
The Rights group said the statement by the police boss is mere pedestrian sophistry and is totally incorrect because the Nigerian Constitution has permitted the enjoyment of the fundamental freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly even as only the Court of competent jurisdiction has the constitutional power to commit a citizen to imprisonment on lawful charges brought before it through a competent process over a crime for which such a person would have been afforded the right to legal representation and fair hearing in compliance with section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution.
The Rights group said, “the Inspector General of Police has no right or legal authority to clothe himself with the power of judicial interpretation nor does he have the Rights to curtail the enjoyment of the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of movement, Association, peaceful assembly and right to the enjoyment of the dignity of the human person as enshrined in chapter four of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; African charter on human and people’s rights and the international covenant on civil and political rights which the country subscribed to”.
HURIWA further said the planned protests of the coalition coordinated by the now incarcerated online publisher; political activist and civil Rights campaigner Mr Omoyele Sowore which was termed a revolution does not in any way amount to any attempt at regime change but is purely another kind of civil Rights actions which the laws of Nigeria and the international human rights laws allow.
In any event the Rights group said, if the Inspector General of Police is committed to arresting those guilty or likely to be guilty of treason he should direct the public resources at his disposal to arresting the immediate past Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Alhaji Lawal Daura and the 100 hooded armed operatives of the DSS that the erstwhile disgraced boss of DSS led to the National Assembly in a brazen attempt at forcing regime change in the 8th session of the National Assembly on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which was then having frosty relationship with the then Senator Bukola Saraki led National Assembly.
“The police chief should indeed stop playing God or stop pretending like he was not in the police force when this open attempt at a coup plot in the National Assembly happened which even precipitated the ‘disguised and choreographed arrest’ and the so-called detention of the former DG of DSS and then we were told that he has been released from the so-called house arrest and after then nobody has been charged for the offence which violated section 1 of the Constitution which criminalize the removal or attempt at change of government or any part thereof as was the case with the invasion of the National Assembly by the then Lawal Daura led DSS.
“The IGP should arrest Lawal Daura if he is overzealous to fight alleged treasonable felons and he must stop misusing his office to threaten civilians who are unhappy with how their country is being grossly mismanaged and insecurity and instability have become the order of the day. The IGP must note that his job will one day end and he returns to join us on the streets because political power is ephemeral,” the group said.
The Rights group said the detained human rights activist Sowore must be freed by DSS immediately and unconditionally since the right to peaceful assembly is constitutionally guaranteed.