Thursday, August 17, 2017 8:58 am
The New Independence Group (NIG) has condemned the attack on renowned entertainer, Mr. Charles Oputa, and his fellow campaigners by suspected hired hoodlums at the Wuse Market, Abuja when his advocacy group took its campaign for President Muhammadu Buhari to either resume or resign there
In a statement signed by its Convener, Professor Akinyemi Onigbinde, on Thursday, the socio-political think tank recalled that the attack was the second within days targeted at Mr. Oputa, more popularly known as Charly Boy, and members of his group.
“The protesters had on Monday been treated with indignity by security operatives on Monday when the sit-in protest began by turning water canons on them. Worse still, the Police men dispersed the non-violent citizens with tear gas, As the unprovoked attack continued, the 66-year-old Charly Boy reportedly cried and collapsed. He was said to have been revived by concerned friends and bystanders” the NIG recalled.
It also observed that the following day when another group of pro-Buhari protesters staged a counter rally, its members were given royal treatment by horse-riding Policemen.
“To underscore that the latter group had the backing of the Presidency, its members were allowed to literally grind activities at the presidential villa to a halt, and they were received by a Senior Special Assistant to the President, Babafemi Ojudu,” the think tank further noted.
According to NID: “apparently buoyed by the body language from the powers that be, the hoodlums descended on Charly Boy, members of his group, and journalists covering the event, and tere was no report of any arrest of the hoodlums.” In the Wuse market, Abuje shameful incident
The thin tank described as appalling the action of the security operatives and the hoodlums.It noted that the rights of expression and assembly are guaranteed in sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and wondered how security operatives, and the Federal Government are active collaborators in the flagrant violation of the rights of Mr Oputa and members of his group.
Again, according to the statement, the government and the hoodlums, breached the rights to dignity of human persons, guaranteed in section 34 of the constitution and freedom from discrimination as provided for in section 42. In the words of the group,”It is disheartening that these series of attacks on the constitution were perpetrated and encouraged by the state which is supposed to uphold and enforce the constitution,”
The think tank also noted a hail of verbal bullets thrown at Charly Boy, especially in the social media by persons and groups sympathetic to the ailing President. A number of scurrilous personal attacks against the entertainer have dominated the social media space, similar to how another entertainer, 2Face Idibia, was subjected to social media bullying when the music star attempted to raise public opinion on the steep slide in the economy.
“Nigeria is being pushed, willy nilly, into fascism with these conducts of the government, security operatives and sympathisers of the federal administration, and must be roundly condemned,” the NIG stated.
It added: “Nigeria is a plural society. It is therefore important to allow each segment of the society ventilate its grievances unmolested, and without discrimination. Giving state protection to hoodlums is an ill wind that will blow no one any good. It will not only further embolden such hoodlums, but also serve as notices to otherwise peaceful citizens to prepare for the worst next time.”
As one time President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy suggested, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” For that inevitability road to be avoided, stakeholders in the Nigeria project must say never again to the type of officially-condoned indignity meted out to Charly Boy and his group, the NIG added.