The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) strongly denounces the latest round of human rights violations, and state-sanctioned attacks aimed at silencing critical citizens’ voices, especially in the wake of the EndSARS protests.
In what comes across as an attempt by the government to further muzzle voices demanding an end to police brutality and accountable governance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently obtained an ex parte order to freeze accounts of individuals said to be funding the #EndSARS protests.
CHRICED Executive Director, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi said: “Such a draconian and retrogressive move at a time the government claims it is listening to the demands of the protesters, constitutes a brazen infringement on citizens’ rights, as spelt out in the Nigerian Constitution”.
“The use of the instrument of peaceful protests to draw attention to the plight of citizens is not a criminal act. For us therefore, the freeze order on the account of perceived protest leaders is a misuse of effort and state resources”, he added.
According to Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, if the CBN used the same zeal and energy to trace the financiers of Boko Haram, kidnapping, banditry and the other urgent challenges to national security, it is possible those menaces would have been dealt with by now.
Therefore, any attempt to undermine the rights, and demonise the citizens who refused to be silent in the face of injustice and oppression, makes it apparent that the government is not serious about the reforms it promised.
Also, the resort to repressive tactics by the government serves as an indicator that it will take no step to address the other wider concerns, which fuelled the protests, he said.
CHRICED calls on individuals affected by the freeze orders not to despair, but to remain steadfast despite the tactics being employed by the state to harass and intimidate them.
The organization also calls for the support of all friends of Nigeria in the comity of nations. Nigeria’s international partners must not fall for the propaganda of the government; they must understand that the ongoing struggle is a patriotic movement by long-suffering citizens to ensure democratic and accountable governance in the country.