By Abdallah el-Kurebe, News Editor
A coalition of 14 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the auspices of Civil Society Concerns Thursday in Abuja expressed concern over the incessant attacks on Journalists as well as press freedom in the country.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a Press Conference, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani said the press was being denied freedom as observed in the recent arrests and detention of journalists while performing their legitimate duties.
“As civil society activists, we are concerned with the rising cases of attack on press freedom as observed in the recent arrest and detention of journalists. This undermines the cardinal principle of press freedom in a democratic system of government.
“We call on the Presidency to call security agencies to order and put a definite end to constitutional breaches and violations of human rights by security agencies that have been acting with impunity. Our greatest concern is also the continuous emasculation, harassment and intimidation of the institutions of the legislature by the security agencies,” Rafsanjani stated.
Expressing the Presidency’s prompt to restore sanity and constitutional order by curbing the excesses of the Department of State Security (DSS), he observed that the Service had engaged in flagrant abuse of power in relation to the key democratic institution.
Rafsanjani further observed that the non inauguration of board of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had made it difficult for the commission to perform its functions optimally.
Disclosing that the Presidential Panel on Violation of Human Rights by the Military had drawn attention to this problem in its findings, he added that government must take steps to constitute the board.
Rafsanjani also said that the massive violation of citizens’ rights by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Police had become an issue of public concern and agitation.