A pro-democracy group, Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M), President of the Women Arise for Change Initiative, Joe Okei-Odumakin and human rights activist, Femi Aborisade have condemned the attack by the police on a former presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore was attacked by the police on Monday during a peaceful protest in Abuja, as he was shot by a female officer and taken to hospital.
TRAP-M called for the arrest and prosecution of the female officer, CSP Altine Hyelhira Daniel, describing the attack as a premeditated attempt to kill the activist.
A statement issued by Jaye Gaskia on behalf of the movement on Monday said, “The Abuja protest at Unity Fountain was violently disrupted by a large contingent of armed police personnel who stormed the venue in a convoy of more than 5 Hilux vehicles.
“While some protesters were locked inside the Unity Venue, others were prevented from coming in. Pandemonium was however let loose as soon as the convoy of armed police personnel arrived.
“They disembarked from their vehicle and began shooting tear gas canisters at point-blank range against the protesters. One of the shots hit Comrade Omoyele Sowore on the back of his right lap below his buttocks.
“Thereafter they were violently dispersed and the convoy of armed police continued to chase protestors away. A convoy of DSS (Department of State Services) also began to patrol the surroundings.
The statement said the protest in Abuja was part of the nationwide National Day Of Action to protest against insecurity, poverty, hardship, joblessness, and mass misery.
The movement added that violent disruption of the protest was an indication that Nigeria was sliding into tyranny with the heightened level of insecurity and the failure of the state to protect her citizens.
“The police officer whose shot hit Sowore is ACP H Altine Daniel. We demand justice for the peaceful protesters.
“We demand the officers who violently disrupted the peaceful protest should be fished out and prosecuted. We demand in particular that ACP Altine be arrested and prosecuted for attempted premeditated murder,” the statement added.
Similarly, Okei-Odumakin condemned the shooting of Sowore in Abuja on Monday.
Odumakin, who is still mourning the death of her husband, Yinka Odumakin, had to take a break from her three-month mourning period to comment on the reported shooting of the activist.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Odumakin, who is also a women rights activist, said: “This is unacceptable! Nigeria is a democratic country under the law and not a dictatorship or banana republic.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of movement are some of the fundamental human rights granted to Nigerian citizens by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The widely-expressed flaws of this Constitution notwithstanding, it still charges journalists to hold the government accountable to the people.
“It accords the people the right of peaceful protest, especially when drawing government officials’ attention to their failings and the expectations of citizens from them, which is legitimate.
“We, therefore, condemn the shooting of Sowore as barbaric and an infringement of his rights under the law.
“These rights include the right to life, which is basic and which no government or its agents can whimsically abridge.
“We ask the Federal authorities to call the police to order, fish out the culprits and bring them to trial.
“The country sits on tenterhooks already and nothing must be done by the authorities to heat up the polity further.
“We demand prompt and effective treatment of Sowore and any of his colleagues wounded in the unprovoked assault by the police.
“All men and women of goodwill must condemn this assault and hold the government accountable.
“Patriotic Nigerians committed to securing a better future for our country must not be deterred by this dastardly act aimed at intimidating them but must redouble their efforts and forge ahead until victory is won. Nigeria shall be free! And the people shall rejoice!”
Also, human rights activist, Comrade Femi Aborisade, on Monday described the shooting of Sowore as barbaric and unacceptable.
He said Sowore has the constitutionally right under section 40 to assemble along with others to protest peacefully.
Aborisade asked the police officers to go after bandits, kidnappers, insurgents and terrorists rather than intimidating peaceful protesters.
Aborisade said, “I condemn the shooting of Omoyele Sowore at the venue of a peaceful protest. Omoyele Sowore has the constitutionally right under section 40 to assemble along with others to protest peacefully. The shooting was barbaric and unacceptable. The security forces should go after bandits, kidnappers, insurgents and terrorists rather than repressing peaceful protesters.”