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CDD, HURIWA condemn DSS invasion of CISLAC office

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
31 December 2021   |   4:05 am
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has described as unfortunate invasion of the Abuja office of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) by officials of the Department of State Security (DSS).

Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has described as unfortunate invasion of the Abuja office of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) by officials of the Department of State Security (DSS).

In a statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, CDD said such official intimidation of lawful civil society organisations’ guaranteed protection by the country’s Constitution would not be tolerated.

The Centre called for an end to intimidation of civil society in Nigeria. It said if DSS had questions for CISLAC, it should have invited the group for questioning, instead of recourse to brute force. It described CISLAC as a leading civil society organisation operating in Nigeria for 15 years, and called on DSS to investigate and clarify its position immediately.

CDD said: “At this stage, Nigerians need to have faith in their government. Civil society is not against the government but is merely performing duties as watchdog and partner in progress. The Nigeria civil society played a core role in midwifing the democracy the country currently enjoys.

“In the last 21 years of democracy, the civil society movement has contributed to every facet of life, ranging from elections, accountability, economy, health, water; we have taken it upon ourselves to support the people, the government and protect democracy.
Unfortunately, civil society has faced a lot of intimidation from different quarters in government.

“A recap of the last 24 hours is quite revealing; while the DSS was hounding CISLAC, another staffer at the Presidency, authored an op-ed obnoxiously referring to civil society as an evil society. She went ahead to vilify some civil society members in manners detrimental to their safety.

“These attacks are one too many and are attempts to shrink the civic space. CDD stands with CISLAC and calls on the Nigeria government to graciously end the attack on civic space.”

SIMILARLY, advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) condemned the invasion.

HURIWA said: “We join our voice with voices of rational, patriotic Nigerians to ask that the Director General of DSS should order an immediate investigation into alleged invasion of the offices of one of Nigeria’s credible, reputable civil society platforms that for many years have worked selflessly to advance the cause of constitutionalism and democracy in Nigeria.”

In a statement issued by National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA repeated its call on DSS to set up a feedback mechanism or human rights desk in DSS facilities all over the country, so that Nigerians who have grievances with the agency’s operatives can send petitions to ventilate their grievances.

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