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Let us stand firm against abuse of fundamental human rights

17 August 2014, 16:34 Abdulazeez Adelaja Akinlolu

We must all as Nigerian citizens stand firm against any form of human rights abuse. We must understand that though we may be unaffected now, such wrong actions may be meted to us or someone deemed as ‘us’ in the future. It is, therefore, very wrong to defend overtly or covertly any form of human rights abuse in the name of ethno-religious or socio-political partisanism.

We must condemn human rights abuses by our dear security agencies be it in the anti-terrorism campaign, the LASU protest against high school fees, the Lagos BRT buses incident by soldiers, the arrest and intimidation of some APC leaders during the Ekiti State governorship election or the intimidation of Osun State residents by masked security officers and the arrest of some APC leaders on the eve of the election.

It is not helpful to offer unacceptable explanation of having security officers masked because they are members of the State Security Services who are engaged in undercover security duties. If true, why using SSS members in the first place if their faces must be covered while in uniform? Why not make use of Police Officers? No security officer in uniform should be non-identifiable. No form of intimidation should be subtly supported under any guise.

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A more frightening dimension came up with the news report credited to the Deputy Director Public Affair of DSS, Marilyn Ogar, that the organization was offered 14 million naira by a “certain political party”, adding that the bribe was turned down. She further '' called on political party leaders to leave DSS out of politics, saying, “I’m saying, a director in charge of election duties was offered N4 million for himself and N10 million for the hooded men during the Osun State’s governorship election, and that ''“It is because the money was declined, that is why the certain political party is having a running battle with the DSS. Thank God the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election; its loss could have been blamed on the DSS'' (x).

If this report is true, it only shows that we are in a more terrible mess than can ever be imagined. If the details of the attempted bribery action could be so described and the culprits were not arrested with immediate effect, then our systemic anomalies have crept into the polity too far. In this case, the evidence is available at the point of the attempted bribery action since DSS officers are expected to be fully equipped always with required ‘regalia’ while on active duty. We cannot in this case be treated to ‘we are still investigating the remote and immediate facts of the case’.

The Nollywood drama created by Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan on the $620,000 fuel subsidy bribery scandal appeared to have been swept under the carpet as it is still in the ‘PAUSE’ mode till date or may be the ‘STOP’ mode had been pressed like the case of Rasheed Maina who became ‘invisible’ on the radar of our security agencies while still in Nigeria before he got ‘raptured’ without resolving the billions of naira of stolen pension funds. No conclusions. No convictions. No justice. The facts of the Osun State’s election bribery scandal should be treated now and the culprits brought to justice!

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All of us as human beings deserve to be duly respected at all times. Lest we forget, the ALUU killings of our four undergraduate students by locals in River State, the pepper sexual assaults on our women at Ejigbo in Lagos State by some suspected ‘OPC’ members, the killings of suspected kidnappers via jungle justice especially in the South West, extrajudicial killings by members of security forces, illegal arrests of citizens and others did happen and are still happening, because we have a culture permissive to abuses of fundamental human rights of our citizens. We are always ready to obey instructions that assault the fundamental human rights of fellow citizens forgetting that no particular instance should justify such actions except affected individuals are duly carried along and tried in courts according to the laws of the land. Let us stop providing subtle supports for human rights abuses and stand firm against any form of human rights abuse whether it is civilian-civilian or uniformed officers-civilian related.

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