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Democracy Day: MOSOP tasks Buhari on security, human rights

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The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on the federal government to commit more effort in the promotion of human rights, social justice. and nation building. It called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take full responsibility for the stability of Nigeria by addressing the deteriorating security situation in the country.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the secretary-general of MOSOP, Alex Akori, said the group noted that the world had moved away from “an era when governments demonstrated strength on their own citizens with bans and limitations” and urged the Nigerian government “to see criticisms as an alternative view which could be turned into an opportunity rather than an attack” and that “the beauty of democracy lies in its commitment to guarantee free speech and tolerate dissenting opinions and called on the Nigerian government to relax all forms of limitations on citizens’ rights including the recent ban on Twitter which is clearly a restriction on free speech.”

The group’s president, Fegalo Nsuke, according to the statement, said Nigerians strongly desired fundamental rights and freedoms which, had been “expressed at various times and in various forms, including the recent protest against police brutality.” 

Fegalo said it was important to address this gloomy outlook of our human rights posture and “called for social reforms, including restructuring the country, to address discriminations and social imbalances. He said restructuring was an opportunity to build an all-inclusive system and cater for the needs of deprived nationalities like the Ogoni people who had been discriminated against.

He went on to blame “the government for the unfortunate polarisation of the country, noting that much needed to be done to address social inequalities. He said ethnic division was increasingly threatening the unity and economic fortunes of the country and the government needed to build bridges to unite Nigerians rather than wield the coercive power of the state. According to him, the Nigerian democratic experience was harsh with increasing dangers to citizens’ fundamental freedoms, peace and security.”

The MOSOP president accused the government of failing to protect thousands of Nigerians who had been killed by bandits and blamed government failures for the free flow of arms in the country. According to him, government needs to build public confidence in the system, show its commitment to fight terrorism. He condemned the retention of a federal cabinet member with links to terrorist groups, saying the government should demonstrate its intolerance of such deviant behaviour by firing cabinet members with links to terrorist groups rather than defend their actions, adding that the stain of a federal cabinet member linked to terrorism was very disturbing.”

Nsuke lamented “the excruciating poverty amongst Nigerians” in spite of the resources available in the country and urged the government to take necessary actions to boost the economy as he called for patience and tolerance amongst Nigerians and the adoption of peaceful methods in advancing the cause for social change.

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