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Nigerians flay police response as pro-Buhari mob attacks activists at NHRC

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Nigerians yesterday condemned police response as a pro-Buhari mob attacked an activist, Deji Adeyanju and two others during a peaceful protest of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC’s) office in Abuja.They decried failure of security agents to protect citizens during peaceful demonstrations, especially as Adeyanju was fell to the ground, while being beaten after a failed attempt to escape being mobbed. He appeared to have been targeted, along with a few others and while the attack was caught on camera, pictures surfaced on social media showing Adeyanju, who was wounded and on hospital bed.

The CSOs that engaged in the demonstration are, Amnesty International, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Concerned Nigerians.

Others are, Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria), HEDA & People’s Alternative Front, Justice and Empowerment Initiative, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Take It Back Movement, Take Back Nigeria (TBN), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).

In a letter addressed to the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, the CSOs lamented the decade of troubling state of affairs in Nigeria, while recalling demands made two weeks ago by over 200 CSOs, who gave the President Muhammadu Buhari administration 14 days to honor five demands. The demands came on the sidelines of the World Human Rights Day in which the crackdown on press freedom, attack on judiciary, proposed bills to curb dissent and a general environment of shrinking civic space, and highhandedness of security agencies, among others, were specified.

They quoted the words of Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, “May I remind this government that disobedience calls to disobedience and that disobedience of the orders of constitutional repository of the moral authority of arbitration–the judiciary–can only lead eventually to a people’s disregard for the authority of other arms of civil society, a state of desperation that is known, recognised and accepted as– civil disobedience.”

However, the CSOs vowed that they would continue to mobilise Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable and always speak truth to power. Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the attack on Nigerians by hoodlums, allegedly sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disrupt peaceful protest over human rights violations in the country.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, it said, “Such attack on protesters points to the furtherance of suppressive plot by the APC and its leaders to subjugate Nigerians, foist a siege mentality on the citizens and force them to surrender to a repressive rule.”

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Deji AdeyanjuNHRC
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