The Senate has condemned the use of force by the Nigeria Police to disperse a group of protesters campaigning for President Muhammadu Buhari’s return from medical vacation in London after 90 days or resignation.
In a statement on Wednesday by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate stated that while it condemned the subject of the protests which was aimed at forcing President Buhari to either terminate his medical vacation or resign, the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly would not support any violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
The statement read, “While we are opposed to the subject of the protest, the Senate acknowledges the fact that the protesters have the constitutional right to gather and express their views in a manner that will not breach public peace, order and tranquility. Since the ‘Our-Mumu-Don-Do’ protesters did not conduct themselves in such a manner to disturb public peace, it is not right for the police to brutalize the people as they reportedly did yesterday.
“The police should review their rules of engagement and ensure that they are in line with that of modern democratic societies. The rights of the people should not be violated by the police employed to protect these rights. Where the police suspect that hoodlums are trying to hijack the protest, it is the duty of the police to apprehend the hoodlums and those who break the law rather than generalise and thus brutalise innocent protesters.
“We, however, urge the organisers of the protest to join other Nigerians in praying for the safe return of President Buhari. They should note that any mortal being can find himself in the situation where one needs medical attention and more time to fully recuperate. More so, when in the present case, the President complied with the provisions of the Constitution and all organs of government are not impaired nor hindered by his medical vacation.”
The Senate had on Tuesday cautioned sponsors and participants in the protests against heating up the polity with their “unreasonable demands.”
In a statement signed by Sabi Abdullahi, the Senate said the protesters were only creating unnecessary tension in the country and seeking to divert the attention of the Presidency from the economic and security issues which were being tackled with vigour.
The Senate noted that President Buhari had complied with the provisions of the nation’s ground norm, the Constitution, which stipulated that he must hand over to the Vice President and duly inform the two chambers of the legislature about his medical vacation.