Human rights activists have described the attack on the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, as an attack on the rule of law, capable of truncating democracy in the country.
They said it appeared that the country is now in full-blown anarchy since Nigerians can no longer exercise their constitutional rights.
They disclosed this in separate interviews with SaharaReporters in Abuja on Monday during a solidarity visit to Sowore.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) May 31, 2021
A former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC ), Chidi Odinkalu, said the brutal attack on the unarmed protesters by the police had further moved the country from tyranny to anarchy.
He said there was a need to rescue the country from total collapse, adding that President Muhammadu was helpless and had run out of ideas in putting the country on the path of honour.
Odinkalu said, “I hope the police and federal authority can investigate properly and we get to the bottom of the matter because I don’t think it is enough to complain and go away.
“The country is sliding into anarchy. I think we are probably beyond tyranny now because President Muhammadu is short of ideas. He doesn’t know what to do, and he is not interested. The country is sliding into anarchy; everywhere you go, you can see. Nigeria is in danger.”
On his part, the Coordinator Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, expressed worry at how the Buhari government clamped down on the dissenting voices.
Adeyanju said, “Unity fountain is now under lock and key. They have taken over the place.
“Government now determines who goes in and who goes out. If it is pro-government protesters, they will be protected as if they are a national asset, but if it is anti-government like what we witnessed today, you see how they were treated like criminals and terrorist group.
“This is the same government that negotiated with terrorists, met bandits and pay ransom.
“If you look at what happened during #ENDSARS, protesters were shot at and look at what happened to Omoyele Sowore today in broad daylight. He was shot at Unity Fountain.”
A human rights activist, Martins Onobo, stressed that every Nigerians has the right to protest and assembly, adding that any attempt to stop them from exercising such rights is illegal.
Onobo said, “What has happened was like targeting the key voices in the society to induce fear in the system to prevent other activists from coming out to say something. This is a blow to democracy and the rule of law.
“The law is clear that everybody has fundamental rights to protest and assemble. People can no longer talk; they can no longer assemble. Don’t let anyone deceive you that the country is sliding into anarchy.
” We are already in anarchy, and don’t let anyone deceive you that the media and civic space is shrinking; it is closed. More people are afraid of coming out to protest, speak and engage. If they could shoot him in daylight, then who is safe?”