The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has condemned the arrest of its leadership during the peaceful protest held today at Ikeja, Lagos State.
The SPN members were on a protest March over the fuel price hike, electricity tariff hike, and deregistration of SPN and 21 other parties despite the Court of Appeal judgment.
A Total of 18 arrested including four journalists: Dagga Tolar SPN NEC member, Bar Ayo Ademiluyi, Chinedu Bosah, SPN National Secretary, Lexan Ali, Fidel Davynovich , Oluwole Engels and Hassan Taiwo Soweto, SPN National Youth Leader, and 8 others.
The journalists arrested are Ifeoluwa Adediran of PremiumTimes; Abiodun Ayeoba of Sahara reporters; Awoniyi Oluwatosin of Objectv media; and Daniel Tanimu of Galaxy TV whose camera was seized all of whom are at the Lagos State Police Command. Some journalist’s phones were also seized.
In a statement by the National Organising Secretary of SPN, Dimeji Macaulay, he urges Trade Union Leaders and Nigerians to be persistent in their demand for true democracy while also demanding a public apology from the Nigerian Police Force against its unjust action to the party.
“We condemn this attack as part of the continuous descent of the country into a brutish state of military repression. It is completely unacceptable, and we enjoin all Nigerians interested in preserving this country’s hard-earned democracy to condemn this emboldened descent into a civilian-military dictatorship.
We demand a public apology from the Nigeria police for this ridiculous and unprofessional action taking against our Comrades, and we ask that proper disciplinary measures be taken on those security officers involved. We demand that Nigeria should be free of repression and undemocratic methods.
You need to note that Demonstrations and protests are a global phenomenon and are a part of the development of any society.
It is important to note that while the police have a duty to maintain peace and order, they also ought to carry out that duty in a way that does not infringe on the rights of peaceful protesters or instills fear into the protesters who are merely seeking a means of expressing their views.
The Public Order Act provides that the convener of a protest should obtain a license from the police 48 hours before the actual date of the protest. The license would only be granted if the protest is not likely to cause a breach of peace.
It is every Nigerian’s fundamental and constitutional right to protest and organise rallies. Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for and guarantees this right when it states that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely, and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union, or any other association for the protection of his interests.
It is an inalienable right that cannot be taken away by anyone. When such rights are infringed on, every citizen of Nigeria has the right to head to the courts to ensure the enforcement of such rights. This position was challenged in the Court of Appeal in the case of ALL NIGERIA PEOPLES PARTY V. INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE (2008) 12 WRN 6, where the court ruled that the right to stage rallies and protests is a fundamental right and can be carried out without obtaining a police permit/license.
We demand their immediate and unconditional release of our party leaders and journalists. We condemn this tradition of using the DSS and Police to repress every lawful opposition to the oppressive regime of Muhamadu Buhari. Nigerians cannot have it, as the regime is suggesting, that they are a conquered people in their own country, who cannot express their dissatisfaction, no matter how peaceful, against the daily hardship and oppression they suffer in the hands of the capitalist hordes Buhari is representing.
We, therefore, call on Trade Union Leaders to condemn this attack on democratic rights and lead Nigerians to the street to reject the obnoxious increase in electricity tariff and increase in pump price.”