Rivers government, Ogoni youths disagree over proscription
The proscription of all youth groups by the Rivers State government has been denounced as a breach of the 1999 constitution. Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, said the proscription became necessary following the spate of lawlessness, rascality, criminality and involvement of cult groups in youth activities.
Danagogo explained that the proscription include all community based youth bodies in the entire Rivers State.
“All those currently operating as youth bodies in the state and in whatever form, are hereby warned to cease all operations immediately or face arrest by law enforcement officers”
He informed that henceforth, all those, who want to conduct youth elections or contest in youth elections in the state, must first obtain clearance from the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police before the Government will approve their conduct and participation in youth activities.
But the president-of Ogoni Youth Federation, Yamaabana Legborsi, said every Nigerian citizen, whether acting individually or in concert with others, reserves the right to associate with each other and assemble in meetings. This he noted are expressions of the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and association as guaranteed under Sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended), and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He argued that the proscription of youth groups by the Rivers State Government is discriminatory and unconstitutional and should be withdrawn.
“It will not stand as the fundamental right of Rivers youths to freedom of association is constitutionally guaranteed,” he said.
Yamaabana said if the Rivers State government refuses to withdraw the proscription order, OYF will mobilise other youth groups in the state and a legal action would be instituted against the Government.
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