Govt officials may hire hoodlums to disrupt Lekki tollgate protest ~ HURIWA
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has warned the Minister of Information and culture Mr. Lai Muhammed to stop threatening citizens planning to stage public protest at the Lekki toll gates to protest its reopening.
The Rights group said the Federal government had used the same tactics during the last nationwide protest shortly after such public warning by Federal government officials, armed hoodlums emerged from nowhere and violently attacked protesters leading to dozens of casualties.
The armed hoodlums were caught on camera in Abuja being driven in black jeeps similar to those usually driven by the nation’s secret service police.
HURIWA has accused government of attempting to use the same methods and called on organised civil society community in Nigeria to petition President Joe Biden in the United States of America to call his attention to the open threats made surreptitiously by the Federal government.
The Rights group said the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed would be dragged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and charged for crimes against humanity should the security forces or armed hoodlums be motivated by his inciting and incendiary rhetoric against the aggrieved youths planning to hold peaceful legal and constructive protests at the Lekki toll gates.
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA cited sections 39(1); 40, and 41 of the Nigerian constitution to affirm that the youths who planned to carry out peaceful protests at the Lekki Toll gates either in support or against the decision of the #ENDSARS Judicial panel in Lagos to reopen the toll gates, have the inalienable rights to conduct peaceful protest.
HURIWA said: “Let it be made known to Mr. Lai Mohammed that in this age and times, officials of government can not hide under the cover of their offices to incite violence targeted at citizens who are only exercising their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms of association and peaceful assembly as specified under chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution”.
“Specifically, Section 39 (1), section 40 and section 41 (1) states thus; 39.-(1) Every person shall be entitle to freedom of expression, including freedom to opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
“40. Every person shall be entitled to assembly freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:
“41.-(1) Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exist therefrom.”
HURIWA however said that it is afraid that some government officials either in Abuja or Lagos may hire armed non state actors and hoodlums to infiltrate the peaceful protests and create anarchy to justify any future military or police crackdown.