19th February, 2012
ARREST OF LAGOS PROTESTERS: OPEN INVITATION TO CHAOS
About twenty activists who went on a memorial procession for the fallen heroes of the fuel subsidy protests were allegedly teargassed, brutalized and subsequently arrested yesterday at Maryland, Lagos. The protesters were on their way to Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, when their path was blocked by heavily armed policemen. Among those arrested were the wife of the late human rights activist Gani Fawehinmi, Mrs. Bukola Fawehinmi, her son, Muhammed Fawehinmi, former chairman of the University of Ibadan branch of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, Dr. Dipo Fashina.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is alarmed by this trend. The alleged brutalization, teargassing of peaceful protesters and their subsequent arrest is barbaric, illegal and unconstitutional. Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution guarantees right to peaceful assembly and association while Section 41 stipulates freedom of movement. Also Section 39 grants every citizen freedom of expression (including the liberty to express dissent, which the peaceful protest symbolized).
By interfering in the peaceful demonstration of these law-abiding citizens, the Lagos State Police Command has infringed upon the Allah-Given and constitutional rights of Nigerians. The action of the police has also exposed our democracy as a fraud and the federal government as incapable of stomaching opposition. It is open rape on democracy, an unmitigated act of hostility against the rule of law and an invitation to chaos.
MURIC calls on members of the international community to take note of the brutish bestiality of men of the Nigerian police. The Nigerian government is increasingly jittery of criticism, relentless in its repression of opposition, ruthless in its denial of human rights and highly contemptuous of the dignity of the human person.
We charge the new Acting Inspector General of Police to call his men to order because such violent repression of peaceful protests is provocative. It has the dangerous potential of charging the adrenalin of the youth. Nigerian authorities should learn from the Arab Spring.
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace