May 19, 2024
SPACES FOR CHANGE condemns rising insecurity in Nigeria, human rights violation in South East
Action Group on Free Civic Space concerned about dissolution of Advertising Standards Panel
– By Godswill Odiong

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SPACES FOR CHANGE has condemned the rising insecurity and deteriorating human rights situation across the country, especially in south-east region.

In a statement, the agency said its particular concerns are the repeated attacks on security institutions by ‘‘unknown gunmen’’ and, the reprisal attacks on local populations resulting in numerous fatalities.

The statement reads: “Nothing inflames the charged atmosphere in the region more than the recent shoot-on-sight order by the Inspector General of Police, Ag. IGP Usman Baba, authorizing security operatives to use maximum force during their policing operations in the region. This method of coercive policing not only violates all known democratic norms but also manifests the disproportionate use of deadly force and violence against unarmed civilians by security agents.

“We hereby reiterate that every citizen has the right to life, dignity, personal liberty, peaceful assembly and the freedom to participate in public life without persecution as guaranteed under Sections 33, 34, 35 and, 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). As such, while strongly condemning the senseless spates of attacks against security agencies in the southeast region.

The organisation therefore, called on the government of Nigeria to fulfill its vital obligation to secure the lives and property of citizens and, to immediately rescind the shoot on sight order and put an end to the use of force and violence against unarmed civilians;
Halt the indiscriminate and unlawful arrests, kidnappings, and unfounded criminalisation of innocent citizens and university students in Imo State by security operatives.

It also cautioned law enforcement officers against the securitisation of lawful gatherings as in the case where security operatives on Sunday, May 30th, 2021 raided a church along Owerri Road, Enugu State, and marched away 54 churchgoers to the police headquarters in the state for ‘‘gathering unlawfully’’.

Ensure the immediate release of all persons arbitrarily arrested and detained without proof as ‘‘hoodlums and gunmen’’. In particular, we demand the release of Mr. Casmir Ibegbulam, an indigene of Alaenyi Ogwa, Mbaitoli LGA who has been under incarceration since the Nkwo Orji incident of May 25th, 2021. According to information from his family, Mr. Casmir, a Rivers State-based oil worker, was arrested in Imo State while in town to bury his father-in-law.

Bring all perpetrators of horrific assaults against security operatives and, innocent citizens to justice. Urgently convene a national security summit to initiate a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and aggrieved persons to put an end to the widespread insecurity in the southeast and other parts of the country.

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