A pro democracy and good governance advocacy group– Make A Difference [MAD] Initiative has condemned the human barricade erected at the Unity Fountain in Abuja on Tuesday by officers and men of the Nigerian Police against the free assembly and movement of the Bring Back Our Girls [BBOG] group, describing it as unconstitutional and an affront to democratic governance.
In a statement issued by the Executive Director of the initiative, Lemmy Ughegbe and the Director of Operations, Babawale Okunola, the initiative said it was disappointed at the fact that the police leadership was so ignorant of the law not to know that their reprehensible action amounted to arresting and detaining responsible Nigerians on an interventionist movement.
“The Make A Difference Initiative is aghast at the level of ignorance of the law displayed by the Police leadership in denying that they arrested and or detained members of the BBOG. To have a police leadership so ignorant of the law is appauling and cannot and does not inspire confidence in the Nigerian citizenry”, the statement read.
The initiative declared that “the human barricade formed against the Co-Convener of BBOG, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili and other members of the group by the police officers around the Unity Fountain amounted to their arrest and detention? Arrest is not limited to the confines of a police station or cell. Any effort that denies a citizen the enjoyment of his constitutionally defined and guaranteed right to freedom, of movement amounts to arrest and detention.”
“In any case, under a democracy, it is wrong to breach their constitutional rights to assembly and movement. The initiative condemns the police for their unconstitutional rights and urges all well-meaning Nigerians to do same as to discourage such acts by the police in future”, MAD stated.
The initiative urged Nigerians to be vigilant, fearless and outspoken against undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies, warning against the consequence of allow such tendencies to fester.
“We urge Nigerians to be vigilant and speak fearlessly against any act that bears the slightest semblance of of tyranny and repressiveness, in whatever form and against whosever. The best time to deal a decisive blow to such tendencies is at the infancy. If we keep quiet and allow it grow into maturity, the monster will cage us all. We must condemn fiercely such acts from the earliest stage.”