Nigeria heading towards anarchy, Falana, Onovo, Awe warns govt




Notable rights activists, including senior lawyer, Femi Falana,  Mathew Onovo and Funso Awe, yesterday,  raised the alarm that the country was sliding into dictatorship and rights of Nigerians gradually being eroded.

They spoke at a symposium convened by the Coalition for Revolution (CORE), which was almost aborted by security operatives.

The symposium, tagged: “Democracy, state repression and the state of insecurity in Nigeria” was initially stalled when operatives of  security agencies, who had stormed the Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos venue. Before Falana’s arrival, three persons were arrested and taken into police custody over alleged “unlawful gathering.”

CORE had organised a working consultative assembly of activists at a symposium against what it called the “draconian development and the detention of scores of activists in the Department of State Service (DSS) cells.”

The police had stormed the venue at early as 7am and prevented guests and media men from accessing the venue, but Falana commended members for turning out despite threat of arrest by security agencies which included the army and soldiers.

“When we were told that we will not be allowed to meet, my mind went back 30 years ago when you have the Buhari, Babangida and other junta. We defeated the regimes and I want to assure you all that any other dictator will not be allowed to raise their head again in Nigeria.

“I will like to commend everyone for insisting that our rights must be respected. Our right to assembly and associate peacefully in the country. I want to assure you that we are going to ensure that all the rights of Nigerian people that we have fought for and won will not be allowed to be eroded by any regime in this country…

“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration knows those that are breaching the peace of the country- terrorists, armed robbers, coup plotters and others.

“Those who went to the street to protest in exercise of their right to assembly and complain against injustice, corruption and maladministration in the country cannot be said to have breached the law of the country. Therefore, the man (Omoyele Sowore) who was arrested and detained before the protest will be adequately defended at the law court. This is because he has committed no offence.”

On his part, Onovo lamented what he called the appaling state of the country.

“We understand how herdsmen have become the greatest threat overtaking Boko Haram. The problem of Nigeria starts from its leadership. In UK, the former Prime Minister, Theresa May resigned because she failed with her Brexit plan. I expect the present administration to toe the line of the former UK prime minister because it has failed and should resign like May did.

“Democracy has two pillars, the rule of law and the integrity of the law. The two are currently absent in Nigeria. And since the two pillars are not present, there is no democracy in Nigeria. The government has failed and the leader of the government must resign”..

Funsho Awe, former Nigeria Conscience Party (NCP) gubernatorial candidate, agreed that things were bad in the country.

“Since we have realised these, we must correct it. It is easier to correct things during election but the case is not like that in Nigeria. I think it is time for us to have revolution in Nigeria now,” he said.

But in a swift reaction, the Lagos State Police Command dismissed news that it disrupted the programme with the wave of the hand.

Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations of Lagos State Command, Mohammed Ali, said the conference held as planned, adding that policemen were only posted to the venue to ensure that there was  no breakdown of law and order. He said nobody was arrested  or  molested throughout the conference.

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