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Group decries attack on activists, Sahara Reporters on court premises


A human rights group, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), yesterday denounced alleged sponsored attacks on activists at an Ilorin High Court who arrived in support of Sahara Reporters.

A statement by Executive Director of CHRICED, Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said, among others: “We condemn in its entirety the brutish and criminal attacks on innocent citizens, whose belief in the ability of the state to create a level playing field for all citizens, irrespective of status, decided to approach the courts as the arbiter in all disputes. The resort to violent intimidation of these hapless citizens is a sign that the other side does not have a sound legal foundation for its case, which is why it is quick to deploy brutish and sinister tactics.

“This use of thugs to intimidate opposition could well be a rehearsal as 2019 general elections approach. It is shameful and most disappointing that the Nigerian state, apart from letting citizens down in the area of social justice, has not demonstrated the will to protect its citizens from the jungle antics of corrupt and powerful interests.

“For us at CHRICED, what is playing out in Ilorin is a sad commentary, which speaks to the irresponsibility of the nation’s primary law enforcement institution, the Nigerian Police Force. It amounts to criminal dereliction of duty for the police to look the other way while innocent citizens are being violently attacked in the hallowed premises of a law court. Meanwhile, Spokesman to Saraki, Yusuf Olaniyonu, who spoke on phone with The Guardian, has debunked the claims against his principal, insisting that the Senate President has nothing to gain by sending anyone to attack anybody.

Olaniyonu said that Saraki had secured a N4 billion judgment in his favour against Sahara Reporters and currently has the legal advantage against the online newspaper.

“It is Sahara Reporters that have briefed Femi Falana (SAN) to challenge the judgment. Sahara Reporters went further to hire students and cultists to the court premises. The police in Ilorin can attest to this,” he said.

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