FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the siege laid by the police on the Secretariat of the Ikeja branch of the NBA with a view to arrest the chairman of the group and intimidate the NBA and Civil society organisations from going on with their planned protest against the anti-poor Lagos land use charge law 2018 scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday March 29, 2018.
This action of the police is undemocratic and tyrannical. Its constitute harrassment of innocent citizens reminiscent of the dark days of military rule. We hereby call for immediate lift of the siege and the recognition of the rights of Nigerians to protest any anti-poor policy.
We condemn the statement issued by the Lagos state police commissioner where he justified the illegal action of the police on the basis of the need to ensure that the security of President Buhari who is scheduled to visit Lagos tomorrow is not jeopardized on account of the NBA protest.
While as law-abiding citizens we understand the need to ensure maximum security for the president even though poor Nigerians live in conditions of daily insecurity, we beg to disagree that the protest of the NBA scheduled much before the president visit was announced can cause a breach of security. We ask: how can the protest of the NBA and CSOs jeopardize the president's security when the State govt and the APC are planning to bus in thousands of people from all around Lagos and other APC-governed states in the South west and beyond to stage street rallies and processions tomorrow as part of the programmes to welcome President Buhari?
If the police wants to be fair, then it is not only the NBA protest that would be stopped tomorrow, other rallies and processions being planned for tomorrow to welcome the president would have to be stopped also for the same reasons. We think the police excuses are weak and unacceptable. We hereby demand that the police recognise the democratic right of Nigerians to protest against anti-poor policies, lift the siege on the NBA, halt any plan to arrest NBA and CSO leaders and allow the planned peaceful protest against Land use charge law 2018 to go on tomorrow without hindrance.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto