The Civil Society Consortium on Civic Space condemns in the strongest of terms the tear gas canister fired at Omoyele Sowore by a Police Officer at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.
The attack on Sowore is an attack on the Civic Space, and our collective freedom to assemble and engage the Government of Nigeria at all levels.
This attack is one too many, and we want the Federal Government of Nigeria to desist from acts that endanger the lives of its citizens and threaten democracy, forthwith.
The Unity Fountain is being used by different groups to campaign for their causes, particularly those supporting government’s policies. It is not fair, just and equitable to deny those who have contrary or dissenting opinions the opportunity to access and use the same venue as the governmental non-governmental organizations.
As a Consortium, we see this as a direct attack on all of us. The attacks on peaceful protesters by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has become a recurring decimal that spells doom for our growing democracy, and an already tensed and insecure society.
We urge the President Muhamadu Buhari led government to allow Nigerians to express themselves freely without fear of being attacked or worse still losing their precious lives. The Nation is already faced with a myriad of security challenges, ranging from killer herdsmen to kidnappers, bandits, and unknown gunmen, and it will be unfortunate to add the government and its security agents to the list.
We are calling on the Acting Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba, to call his men to order and order the immediate suspension of the Officer at the centre of this shooting. We are requesting a thorough investigation of the circumstances that led to the shooting of Sowore at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.
It is a known fact that the Right to Assemble is a Fundamental Human Right of every Nigerian citizen, guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Sections 39, and 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended provide for the Freedom of Expression, and Peaceful Assembly respectively. Article 6, 9, 11, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Nigeria has ratified provides for the Right of every citizen to Personal Liberty and Security, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Assembly, and Freedom of Movement. Equally, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also provides in Article 3, 13, 19, and 20 for every citizen to enjoy the Freedom of Life, Liberty, and Security of Person, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Opinion and Expression, as well as the Freedom, to Assemble Peacefully.
Members of the ConsortiumTap Nitaitive For Citizens Development African Centre For Information and Literacy (AFRICML)Global Rights NigeriaDataphytePentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Al-habibiyyah Islamic SocietyInibehe Effiong ChambersCross River WatchNigerian Bar Association, Unity BarAgba JalingoBasic Rights CouncilHRM Dr. Etim Okon, Chairman Cross River Traditional Rulers CouncilHRH Eze Ositadinma Nwokocha, Imo Traditional Rulers CouncilHRH Chief Michael Akpabio, Akpabio Traditional Rulers CouncilDASS Emirate, Bauchi StateAdvocacy Centre For DevelopmentNetwork of Yobe Civil Society Organizations, YobeAssociation of NGOs, Gombe StateGombe Emirate Council Rule of Law and Accountability AdvocacyPremium Times Centre For Investigative JournalismInternational Centre For Investigative JournalismCitizens GavelConnected DevelopmentDorothy Njemanze Foundation Dinidari Foundation Lawyers AlertCDD West AfricaMedley ProjectYIAVHA NigeriaEducation as Vaccine Centre for LibertyAdopt a goalBauchi State Network of CSOsTIERSDestiny Youth FoundationBefore 40 Youth FoundationKIMPACT DevelopmentAC4DJennon Pius & Co Legal practitioners