It is provided in the 1999 Constitution as Amended under Chapter 4 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”. Furthermore, article 22 of the United Nations Universal declaration states that “everybody has a right to participate in the affairs of his/her country through a free choosing means”
Based on the above, and more, I have participated in the activities of the Kogi State House of Assembly through public hearings, distributions of publications, Training and capacity building for members and staffs of the Assembly without any financial inducement or tele-guidance by anybody in and out of the Assembly.
However today Thursday 22nd August 2013, I was summoned to the Office of the Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Rt.Hon. Speaker Jimoh Lawal, representing Okene II State constituency, along with about 12 other members of the Assembly and the Clerk of the House Simon Momoh (JP), to answer questions and give explanations on the interviews I granted to a local based magazine on the issues surrounding the 20 BILLION LOAN to be taken by the state government, in which a bill has been passed and signed into law by the executive.
It is worrisome and frightening the way and manner the Honourable Speaker and some of The Kogi State house of Assembly have taken this issue personal, despite my defence and explanation in the said publication, in which am neither the Editor nor Publisher of the magazine. A motion was moved on the floor of the Assembly to summon myself and the Publisher to appear before the entire Assembly session on Wednesday 28th August 2013.
I therefore want to alert the public on the dangers associated to freedom of speech in respite to the conduct of the activities of the Kogi State House of assembly under the current leadership. this action by those elected to represent the people, would not be accepted under any democratic dispensation.
I therefore want to urge the public, the civil society and the media to be on alert as this is an infringement on the fundamental human rights of the citizenry as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
IDRIS MILIKI ABDUL
CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CHRCR)