Police seal programme venue to stop Soyinka, Falana

Men of the Nigeria Police Force on Monday stormed and sealed the venue where Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and others were to speak on the state of insecurity in the country.

The program organized by a group, Coalition for Revolution, was scheduled to hold on Ibijoke Street, in the Oregun area of Lagos State at 11am, but security agents stormed the venue and prevented participants from entering the place.

Soyinka, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana and others were billed to speak at the symposium tagged, ‘Democracy, state repression and the state of insecurity in Nigeria.’

The security officers hijacked the venue of the symposium until the arrival of Falana who noted that it was a violation of the participants’ fundamental human rights.

The rights activist who queried the police for the act was told that the police was trying to ensure that miscreants did not take over the venue.

Falana demanded that the venue be opened and the police let in the participants after a body search while they stayed in front of the venue until the end of the programme.

However, Soyinka could not make it to the venue, while the Nigeria Police Force insisted that members of the movement remove all memorabilia related to the movement, including banners before moving out.

Speaking at the symposium, Falana noted that another dictator would not be condoned in the country, adding that the call for revolution was not new in Nigeria.

He said, “We are going to make sure that all the rights of the Nigeria Police Force that we have fought for and won will not be eroded by anyone. Let the authorities in Abuja know that the call for revolution is not new. Political leaders in this country have been calling for revolution and nobody charged them.

“When we were outside and were told the symposium would not hold, my mind went back to 30 years ago during the Babangida and then the Abacha junta era when we could not meet. We defeated both dictators and I can assure you that any other dictator will not be allowed to rear his ugly head.

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“The Buhari administration knows those who are breaching the peace of Nigeria; terrorists, armed robbers, herdsmen, coup plotters and others. Those who go on the streets to protest and complain against injustice, corruption and maladministration in our country cannot be said to have breached the peace in our country.”

Meanwhile a civil society, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that there would be “dire consequences for the constant deployment of armed security forces” to hinder the civil rights of Nigerians.

HURIWA stated in Abuja in a reaction to the clampdown.

The National Coordinator of the group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement in Abuja, said the use of security agencies to usurp democratic engagements violated the fundamental freedom enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 constitution.

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