The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) regrets the obvious absence of democratic ideals, violation of fundamental freedoms, abuse of Human Rights, as well as the diminished space for social justice which are now dominant features of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Committee laments the regime’s lack of capacity to sustain democracy and all known democratic ethos thereby jeopardizing peace and security in Nigeria. The National President of the foremost Human Rights group, Comrade (Dr) Osagie Obayuwana, made these assertions at its National Executive Committee meeting held at its National Secretariat, the Rights House, Ikeja, Lagos on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Dr. Obayuwana lamented that democracy has remained a fluid concept in Nigeria, devoid of concrete or even symbolic signposts of known democratic ideals and consequently unable to deliver the dividends of democracy. President Buhari’s variant of civil rule defies familiar indices of democracy around the world. It has proved incapable of engendering the needed social cohesion and inclusion for peace, growth and development.
Pursuant to the Public Holiday Act, Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 every year as Nigeria’s Democracy Day. Yet, the Buhari administration even after the declaration persistently undermines all known ingredients of democracy. The rule of law and court orders are rampantly disregarded especially by public office holders and state actors, including security agents. There has been palpable and increasing incidence of impunity and disregard for rule of law. There is neither a proper independence of the Judiciary nor autonomy for the Legislature. The media, whether mainstream or social has come under siege, gagged and muzzle. There is an increased disrespect for Human Rights and fundamental freedoms. Instances of abuses and violation of Rights of citizens, extrajudicial murders, brutality and torture by state agents are rife across the country. Freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly have become far-fetched. The right of citizens to participate in shaping and determining the affairs of government has become unrealizable. There is no credible electoral process; no true independence of the electoral umpire. The welfare and security of the people have been consistently compromised. Insecurity, poverty, hardship, deprivation and lack of social justice have become common features of our undemocratic state. Nigeria has degenerated progressively from the real world of democracy to chaos, insecurity, instability and division along ethnic, religious and clannish lines.
In the statement made available to the media by the National Publicity Secretary, Comrade (Barr) Henry Ekine, CDHR regretted that after more than twenty years of return to civil rule from the unforgettable ruins of military juntas, a feat achieved by the committed efforts of its founding members and other civil society groups, Nigeria has remained undemocratic. Injustice, nepotism, favoritism, inequality, exclusion and unfair imbalance in distribution of opportunities have pervaded our public and private sectors. President Muhammadu Buhari has continued in the disposition of oppressive tendencies with disregard for the rights of the citizens to peacefully assemble and freely express their opinions on matters that affect them. It is an unfortunate irony and most regrettable that the President, Muhammadu Buhari who declared June 12 as Democracy Day, would turn around to suppress ànd muzzle the people in a rather provocative denial of their fundamental freedoms and rights to assemble and freely express their opinions.
Nigerians are therefore urged to redouble their efforts in the protection of the democratic values that were won at high costs by our heroes past. The CDHR acknowledges and appreciates the relentless sacrifices that the people of this generation are making against all odds. They are urged, in the spirit of June 12th 1993 to draw on the resilience and determination that sent the Nigerian Military packing in 1999. Truly, we can return our country to the path of peace, progress, standards, values, competence and competitiveness