The Conference of Nigeria’s Civil Right Activists and the United Action for Democracy have said there is no going back on the planned mass protests. The convener of the CNCRA, Ifeanyi Odili, said the protest was long overdue and no intimidation by the police would prevent Nigerians suffering hardship from protesting against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari concerning the level of poverty people are suffering.
Speaking on police’s call for the protest to be cancelled, Odili told Punch that, “Security agencies do not have such power under the constitution. Why should they stop it? Are they not part of us? Do they have special markets? If they want to be overzealous with their job, then we will tell them that we are not joking.”
Similarly, UAD leader and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegoruwa, pointed out that Nigerians do not require police advice to exercise their fundamental rights. He said, “I have read in several news reports, of the statement credited to the Nigeria Police Force, advising that the mass rally against suffering and hunger in Nigeria, slated for Monday should be cancelled, purportedly in the interest of peace and security.
The police have no power in law to countermand the lawful directives of the acting President (Yemi Osinbajo), which affirmed our constitutional right to assemble together freely, unhindered and unmolested, for a peaceful protest.
“So, it is disturbing, alarming and anachronistic, for an institution, such as the police, that was set up to be under the executive, headed by the president or the acting president, to be defying the lawful directives of the acting president, openly and with such brazen impunity.”
The activist vowed that the rally would be held and many more would still be organised. He urged Nigerians to join the Monday protest. “The people of Nigeria shall hold this (Monday protest) and many more rallies, in the days ahead, until Nigeria is totally rid of bad governance,” he stressed.