Foremost pro-democracy and Not-for-profit body- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned as outrageous, primitive and disgusting, the misconduct displayed by operatives of the Lagos State police command and the reportedly gruesome killing of a young girl selling wares at the venue of the Yoruba Nation’s convention in Lagos State.
In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA condemned the bellicose and anti Democratic tendencies of the Lagos State police commissioner who consistently issued threats of violence against the participants at the Lagos rally coordinated by agitators for the self determination of the Yoruba nationality of Nigeria.
The Rights group said the pursuit by dissatisfied citizens for self determination is permitted under international law Provided the agitations are constructive and peaceful.
HURIWA said: “We expected that the police would by now have learnt hard lessons on how to behave as law enforcement officers in a Constitutional democracy especially after the tumultuous National demonstrations against police brutality, torture and the deployment of extralegal killings of detainees as a tool of policing by the Nigerian Police Force which took place last year”.
“That epochal campaign by a mass of Nigerian citizens culminated in the reported abolition of the Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force known as the notorious killing Squad within the policing institution in Nigeria. But sadly, the police doesn’t seen to have changed its modus operandi and modus vivendi even after that near revolutionary movement against police brutality.”
“The nation’s Court system has interpreted the relevant sections of the fundamental human rights provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the chapter four of the GrundNorm. The Court of competent jurisdiction at appellate level gave an unchallenged verdict that peaceful protesters do not need to obtain any police permit but the commissioner of Police in Lagos State was busy baying for the blood of the innocent by threatening to deal with protesters who would show up for this weekend’s rally by the Yoruba self determination agitators”.
“The killing of this little girl whose only crime was that she came out legitimately to pursue economic advantage so as to feed herself was gruesomely murdered by the blood thirsty operatives of the Lagos State police command. We hereby demand the arrest, prosecution and jailing of the Lagos State police Commissioner for this egregious assault to our national psyche and for breaching the constitution of Nigeria by attacking peaceful marchers in Lagos and for this tragic termination of the precious life of this 14 year old girl in Lagos”.
HURIWA cited relevant sections of the Supreme law of Nigeria to back the organisers of the Yoruba nation rally in Lagos namely sections 39 and 40 thus: “Section 39: (1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions:
Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorised by the President on the fulfilment of conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for, any purpose whatsoever.
(3) Nothing in this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society –
(a) for the purpose of preventing the disclosure. of information received in confidence, maintaining the authority and independence of courts or regulating telephony, wireless broadcasting, television or the exhibition of cinematograph films; or
(b) imposing restrictions upon persons holding office under the Government of the Federation or of a State, members of the armed forces of the Federation or members of the Nigeria Police Force or other Government security services or agencies established by law.” “ection 40: Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:
Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that Commission does not accord recognition.”
HURIWA recalled that regrettably, a yoghurt seller, identified simply as Jumoke, was killed by bullets reportedly fired by a security operative dispersing Yoruba Nation agitators at Ojota, Lagos State even as the media reporter who sighted the girl’s corpse, observed that bullets had ripped open the victim’s stomach. She is said to be 14 years old. She was reportedly displaying drinks at a shop when the bullet hit her. Her body has been covered with a piece of cloth as a crowd gathered at the spot.
The Rights group has called on the international community to take steps to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from transforming into a full fledged dictator contrary to the constitutional oath he swore before he assumed office. The World should not look the other way as the current President tries to destroy Constitutional democracy in Nigeria, HURIWA averred.