From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt Hundreds of youths in Rivers State yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, condemning the activities of some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command. Protesting on the platform of Niger Delta Non-Violence Youth Leaders Assembly (NDNYLA), they marched through some major streets in…
… NLC condemns police harassment
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The protest by the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to return home and perform his constitutional duties or resign from office, which entered the third day, yesterday, recorded low turnout.
Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) co-convener, Aisha Yesufu and Nollywood star, Jim Iyke were some notables that joined the action.
The ‘Mumu-Don-Do’ group lamented that it was only in Nigeria that the president would be away for 94 days without clear explanations to the people.
They maintained that no amount of intimidation and harassment would stop them from speaking out for the silent majority.
Addressing participants, Yesufu asked the Federal Government to stop dissipating energy manhandling those campaigning for good governance through constitutional means.
She rather urged them to deploy security agencies in rescuing the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity, and not against innocent citizens.
“It is not acceptable at all when we have our police men being brought to Unity Fountain to stop protesters from peacefully protesting and not fighting criminals, not fighting terrorists and kidnappers; what we are giving is that we are telling the terrorists and the kidnappers that they can have a field day to attack us. Police women were abducted in Borno State but the Inspector General of Police has not said anything, he has not gone after the terrorists to get back his women, but he sent people everyday to Unity Fountain to stop protesters; that is not acceptable.”
The BBOG co-convener recalled that Buhari had asked the late president Umaru Yar’Adua to resign while he was sick in office in 2010.
Also speaking, popular movie star, Jim Iyke said Nigeria which used to be revered as giant of Africa has become a caricature among nations. He posited that the only way forward was for young people to take the driver seat of governance as witnessed in other countries of the world.
In his brief remarks, leader of the group, Charles Oputa (Charlie Boy) urged the youths to fight today in order to secure their future, stressing that nationhood would not be complete without involvement of the youths.
A large contingent of security peresonnel including plain clothed operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) were at the Unity Fountain, venue of the protest, while others were also seen around the three arms zone, combat-ready to ward off any encroachment into the area by the protesters.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) called on the police to desist from abridging people’s fundamental rights.The apex workers union condemned the use of water cannons, tear gas and other offensive means by the police to disperse protesting citizens against the absence of the president, saying the right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson in a statement in Abuja, said: “It is important they respect the rights of the citizenry and not abridge them at will. It is important to note that poor handling of a small situation could degenerate. The police should do all that is necessary to avoid this in our national interest.”