Clamping down on peaceful protesters is undemocratic

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The brutal clampdown on Nigerians who planned to engage in peaceful protest across Nigeria especially in Lagos state, the commercial hub of the country negates what democracy stands for if truly what we have in Nigeria is a democratic system.

The action of security agencies is nothing but absolute breach of the fundamental human rights of peaceful Nigerians who have organized the protest to ventilate their disappointment on some of the operations of the government they elected to serve the interest of Nigerians.

Few weeks ago, the Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last presidential election, Omoyele Sowore announced he was going to organize a nationwide protest to demand among others an all inclusive economic development for all Nigerians not a handful of individuals, banks and foreign multi-nationals, an effective democratic end to insecurity and insurgency, an end to systemic corruption and total system change in the interest of all with immediate implementation of the 30,000 naira minimum wage at all levels in the public service as agreed with the trade union in the country.

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We noted and also observed that the group that organized the protest had emphasizes the motive behind the protest and equally reiterated the fact that the protest is peaceful and would devoid of any form of violence.

Like other Nigerians, we are shocked to receive the news of the arrest of the convener of the protest, Omoyele Sowore due to obvious reasons, and we conclude that the development is absolutely unwarranted. It is surprising that for a President who sworn to protect the interest of Nigerians without considering ethnic background and status would allow such inhuman and undemocratic action play out. We insist that such action of the security instrument of the government is anti democratic.

Could it be that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is allergic to constructive, yet opposing view about the operations of his government? We recalled that a similar protest organized by popular musician, innocent “Tubaba” Idibia in 2017 was aborted at the eleventh hour due to pressure from government.

The action of the government to these innocent Nigerians who demand proactive response to insecurity challenges ravaging the country, better lives for Nigerians, and improved economy is unfortunate and we demand that not only should Sowore be released, but unreserved apology should be tendered to all Nigerians.

This repressive and aggressive response of Buhari-led government if not quickly checked would only show that either the government is a party of the conspiracy to distabilise the country, through various security challenges facing the country or perhaps the government is completely insensitive to the plight of Nigerians for better living standard and a guaranteed to go to bed every night with both eyes closed.

We demand that the government should unconditionally release Sowore and allow Nigerians carry out their peaceful activities with security agencies providing the necessary security to guarantee that law and order is maintained.

If truly the government of President Buhari believes in democracy and the sacred fundamental human rights of all Nigerians irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation, the government should be receptive of criticism. After over four years in power, President Buhari should well have the understanding that constant praise of political office holder is nothing but pure sycophancy. He should learn to tolerate constructive criticism as this is the beauty of our democracy.

We also urge all Nigerians to embrace peace in carry out their civic responsibility. The law enforcement should be sure they work seamlessly with protesters to be sure lives and properties of other Nigerians are not put in danger line.

Nigeria is for all Nigerians and none should be denied the right to contribute meaningfully to how it should be guided to Eldorado.