A constitutional lawyer, Kayode Ajulo has instructed President Muhammadu Buhari to not take the nation again to the darkish days of army rule with the criminalisation of peaceable protests and shrinking of the civic and media area.
He stated the clampdown by safety brokers on protests within the nation is worrisome and a transparent violation of Section 36 of the Constitution, which ensures the elemental rights of Nigerian folks to freedom of expression and the correct to protest in opposition to insurance policies of the federal government thought-about inimical to their pursuits.
Ajulo said this on Thursday in Abuja
whereas chatting with SaharaReporters on the state of the nation.
He stated any try and criminalise protests and muzzle freedom of expression can be resisted by Nigerians when pushed to the wall.
He stated, “The criminalisation of civil space for civil agitation and peaceful protest is not what is intended by our constitution.
“Our legal guidelines are so clear on the liberty of expression and we’ve got a plethora of judgements and rulings that enable Nigerians to protest in opposition to any authorities insurance policies supplied that it’s peaceable.
“Remember that there was a time when the police would be telling Nigerians that you can protest, you need a police permit. The court has on several times come out to say no, you do not need a police permit before you can protest.
“It could be very unsuitable, notably throughout a democratic authorities. Even throughout the army authorities, Nigerians have been allowed to protest.”
Ajulo explained that the open ground (Arcade) located in front of the National Assembly building was constructed and designed for Nigerians to accommodate protesters who may want to express their feelings through protests and submit petitions to their representatives on policies of the government.
He asked why security agents would continue to deny peaceful protesters access to the National Assembly building to ventilate their demands and anger against any government policies.
He added that police must guide and provide security for protesters to avoid infiltration.
“In a state of affairs that fifty or 30 folks wish to protest, you will notice 200 policemen beating the hell out of them. What for? Unfortunately, this stuff are being heard and seen all around the world, displaying what Nigeria is popping to.
“I can tell you that it will get to a stage where Nigerians will be pushed to the wall,” he stated.
Speaking on the safety challenges within the nation, Ajulo blamed the state of affairs on human rights violation, lopsided appointments, injustice, and impunity on the a part of the President and his cupboard members.
“We got into this mess through maladministration, and violation of people’s rights; when some people want to lord it over you,” Ajulo said.
On the burning of places of work of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police stations within the South-East area by gunmen, the constitutional lawyer charged the safety brokers to step up their sport and defend the lives and property of Nigerians in all components of the nation.
Ajulo stated, “The President needs to stand and the policies of government need to remind and reassure people that they are part and parcel of this country. Even our constitution is clear that nobody should be discriminated against. Everybody has equal rights and opportunities. A situation where society is based on justice, equity, and rule of law, everything will work well.”