ActionAid Nigeria has called for the immediate release of Nasarawa protesters, insisting that their continued detention and prosecution is an infringement on the right to peaceful assembly and expression.
Police were said to have arrested some persons in Lafia, Nasarawa State who were alleged to have staged a public protest after the Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule.
The statement by ActionAid Nigeria on Monday, which condemned the arrest and prosecution of protesters in Nasarawa State and called for their Immediate release, read that: “In light of recent events in Nasarawa State, where the Police Command arrested 38 protesters in Lafia for alleged public disturbance following the Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule, ActionAid Nigeria strongly condemns any infringement on the right to peaceful assembly and expression.”
ActionAid insisted that: “The right to protest peacefully is a fundamental human right and an essential component of any functioning democracy. We are deeply concerned about reports that 38 individuals, including five males and 33 females, were arrested, charged, and remanded at the Lafia Custodial Centre for expressing their grievances against the Supreme Court judgment. Suppressing dissent and peaceful protests undermines the democratic principles that our nation holds dear.”
The statement further read: “ActionAid Nigeria therefore demands that the state government and the Nigerian police force uphold the rights of these individuals to freely express their opinions without fear of intimidation or persecution. We urge the judiciary to ensure a fair and transparent process in handling the case of the arrested individuals. Any denial of bail, if justified, should be based on clear legal grounds, and the judicial process should be conducted without prejudice.
It however called for a thorough and impartial investigation into these arrests, considering the possibility of political motivations, and urged all relevant stakeholders to respect the rule of law and human rights.
ActionAid Nigeria said it remains committed to promoting and defending human rights, social justice, and the rule of law, stating that “We will closely monitor the developments in Nasarawa State and continue to demand the protection of the fundamental rights of all citizens.”