A global rights watchdog, Amnesty International has raised the alarm over reported arrest of some activists who staged a protest against insecurity in the Northern part of the country.
A statement on its social media page, the global watchdog condemned the reported arrest by the operatives of the State Security Service, SSS, in Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zaria.
The statement said: “Amnesty International received disturbing reports from Bauchi, Katsina Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and Zaria on arrests and crackdown by the police and the DSS on peaceful protests against rampant insecurity in northern Nigeria.
“We call on Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested for exercising the right to freedom of assembly. The DSS must stop using ‘invitations’ to intimidate protests organizers.
“The protesters have done nothing more than speaking up for accountability. The arrests appear to be an attempt to intimidate and harass those who refused to be silent in the face of government’s failure to protect lives.”
Meanwhile, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that one of the conveners of the protest in Kano, Bar. Abba Hikima, was said to have been grilled at the office of the SSS before he was later released.
Our correspondent in Kano gathered that in the early hours of Wednesday, combat-ready security agents, including the police, SSS and personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence, NSCDC, were deployed to disperse the protesters.
But the protesters, numbering about 60, refused to succumb, insisting that holding a peaceful protest is part of their constitutional right as Nigerians.
Following an agreement with the security agents, the protesters then went ahead to march towards the gate of NUJ Secretariat where they read their communique.
Reading the communique, one of the leaders of the protesters, Jamilu Charanchi, who is the North West Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, called on the Federal Government to rescind on its decision to increase the price of fuel, address insecurity and resolve the problem of inflation in the country.
The group said: “That the excuses adduced by the Federal Government and its cronies in the pretext of removing of subsidy and promised of a N5,000 palliative to 40 million Nigerians are unfounded lies, unwarranted, fake, impracticable, ill-intended and unacceptably disgusting.
“The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and all the 36 state Governors have failed totally in the major areas of providing security of lives and properties of citizens and ensuring a secure economic environment in the North in particular.
“That the problems and sufferings in the North today without being compounded by a further hike in prices of essential commodities and mobility are traceable only to inept and insensitive leadership at national and state levels as well as the cowardice of other community and religious leaders who lack the courage to stand up to them in the interest of the people of the region and Nigeria” the coalition declared.
Also speaking, another leader of the protest, Barr Abba Hikima, called for a stop to the continued bloodletting in the North, insisting that security personnel must be properly armed to face the bandits.