……SAYS ITS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has berated the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for violating the rights of the members of the Bring Back Our Girls Group in Abuja, on Tuesday 23rd January, 2018.
CDHR condemned the conduct of the Police in preventing the BBOG from exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression, association and movement, including their right of solidarity to engage in legitimate rally to advance their lawful interest. The Human Rights group described the conduct of the Police as oppressive, primitive and embarrassing.
The BBOG, led by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, had converged at the Unity Fountain, Abuja on Tuesday, 23rd January, 2017 for their usual rally to attract attention to their patriotic call for the recue or release of the abducted Chibok Girls. Acting on the directive of the IGP, the Commissioner of Police, FCT, illegally prevented the members of the BBOG from exercising their legitimate freedoms, arrested their members, and violated their fundamental rights.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Henry Peter Ekine and made available to the Press, CDHR decried the level to which the Police have degenerated in professionalism and abdicated their expected role to protect the rights of citizens. CDHR was utterly disturbed that the Police have again displayed crass overzealousness in their conduct. The statement by CDHR described the incident as unfortunate in a democratic regime.
CDHR warned that this conduct by the COP on the directive of the IGP, as well as several similar conducts of continuous abuse and violation of the rights of Nigerians by the Police and other state agents, could only incite citizens’ reaction and invite anarchy in an already volatile Nigerian society. CDHR implored the Attorney-General of the Federation to advice the President and the IGP appropriately, at all times, on their conducts that may affect the rights of citizens. Conducts by state agents that violate the rights of citizens raise direct questions on the commitment of the Government to core democratic principles and values.
The foremost human rights group emphasised that the provisions of sections 39, 40 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amendment, provide for the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and movement, respectively. The African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Article 11); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 13, 19 and 20) also provide for these rights. The state has the responsibility to protect these rights. It was held in Inspector General of Police v. All Nigeria Peoples Party (2007) 18 NWLR (Pt 1066) that the Police must not disrupt the constitutional right of Nigerians to hold a peaceful and legitimate rally; the Police, in a democratic society such as Nigeria, is rather expected to provide security during rallies. CDHR observed that the conduct of the Police operatives amounted to violation of the rights of citizens, particularly the members of BBOG.
CDHR, under the leadership of Comrade Malachy Ugwummadu, therefore called on the Inspector-General of Police, Commissioners of Police, all the operatives of security agencies and the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, to abide by our Constitution and the rule of law and respect the rights of all citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms. The rule of law must always prevail against arbitrariness and alternatives which have no credence under our Constitution. All state agents must submit themselves to the law, and security agencies must not be seen to violate the rights of citizens.