By Emmanuel Udom
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the Nigerian Police outfit for its incessant attacks and contemptuous treatment of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in recent times and calls for a probe of its latest attack on the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL received with concern and disapproval news making the rounds to the effect that Police operatives fired live bullets at the NHRC office in Maitama on last Monday in an attempt at dispersing protesting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), who were reportedly protesting the continuous detention of their leader, Sheik El-Zakzaky, who was arrested along with his wife and others after the 2015 massacre occasioned after face-off between the group and the Nigerian Army.
The rift between the Islamic group and the government has led to killing of many of its members and innocent Nigerians that were unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire, including a young Nigerian journalist, Alex Ogbu.
The latest assault, in which many vehicles were reportedly vandalized and live bullets fired at the protesters, is one too many as similar scenario has become usual when any protests are staged against the state in the streets of Abuja, including at the secretariat of NHRC which ordinarily should be the symbol and parameter of adherence to the rule of law by the government and its agencies, including the Nigerian Police. This has not only endangered the security of lives and properties of innocent Nigerians, but serves as an indictment of how far we are ready to go in adhering to the best practices in respect and cognizance of rule of law and individual liberties.
“As noted elsewhere, the Police had on previous occasions shown aversion to the statutory duty of NHRC to investigate, document and report human rights violations of its officers and men through obvious threats and other latent means.
Meanwhile, democracy becomes meaningless once we allow it to engender a spirit of intolerance, hostility and an atmosphere devoid of decorum and check and balance on probable excesses of the state and its agents. As a process, democracy could only flourish and be nurtured when cognate arms and centres established for its proper running are allowed and even encouraged to gauge the adherence and recognition to its practice by the minions of the law. Anything outside this fulcrum becomes a desideratum and invitation to Hobbesian state.”
The CACOL boss added, “Against all this unfortunate aberration, we therefore call on immediate probe of this latest incidence and those immediately before it, towards ensuring bringing those responsible to book and averting future occurrences. Only this could redirect the principal purpose of state and social responsibilities.”