APC Seeks Probe of Clash between Protesting Groups

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Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

Following last Monday’s clash between pro-All Progressives Congress (APC) and some civil society organisations demanding the release of the convener of #RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, other detainees, Agba Jalingo and Dadiyata, the ruling party has demanded a thorough investigation into the incident to ensure adequate actions are taken against anyone found to have overstepped his bounds

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had gathered at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) office in Maitama, Abuja, to present a letter to the chairman of the Commission when the miscreants allegedly invaded the venue and attacked the protesters.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement issued yesterday condemned the attack, saying the party recognises the inalienable rights of people, groups, including political parties, to gather or carry out protest by themselves or through proxies within the ambit of the laws.

He stressed that the party does not subscribe to a situation where such protests would become chaotic or different protesting groups would turn against one another, causing avoidable injuries.

The party spokesman noted that such is clearly unacceptable to the laws and it is against the principled stance of the federal government.

According to him, “As in the case of the unfortunate clash between protesters and some people last Monday, while commending the police for the prompt intervention of its men on ground, we call for thorough investigation of the incident to ensure adequate actions are taken against anyone found to have overstepped his bounds.”

Issa-Onilu stressed that while the party recognises the fundamental liberties of citizens to freely express their views through lawful means, the APC-led government cannot allow excesses and irresponsible acts, adding that no group or individual has the right to torment the public or display any act of intolerance to other people’s views.

He stated: “We note with dismay the attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters who try to deceive the public by hiding under various names such as civil society groups, human rights activists and constitutional lawyers to link our government to a dastardly act as witnessed last Monday.

“In the cinematic mind of these PDP elements, the APC, upon sighting the protest on the television channels, quickly scrambled counter protesters armed with placards to the NHRC head office. How ridiculous!”

Issa-Onilu said for the avoidance of doubt, the APC-led administration would continue to uphold civil liberties and expand the democratic space for every citizen of the country.

He stressed that “there has been no incident of harassment, arrest, or intimidation of anyone or group despite the level of attacks, name-calling, personal insults, and even callous statements being directed at the person of President Muhammadu Buhari by the different PDP leaders and its hideous supporters.”

He lamented that the party is witnessing increasing cases of irresponsible and unrestrained verbal attacks on the president by the opposition elements with no consequences.

Issa-Onilu stated that evidently, Buhari government has no doubt displayed an avowed commitment to civil liberties and the promotion of democracy.

“We would reiterate the need for the various nebulous groups and pretentious individuals to realise that the 2019 elections have been won and lost, so masquerading as patriots and promoters of rule of law and democracy to paint the APC government in bad light amounts to an exercise in futility,” he stated.