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Lanre Arogundade: Stop Harassing Activists Putting Buhari on His Toes, HURIWA Tells DSS

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Thursday, told the Department of State Services (DSS) to stop harassing human rights activists who put President Muhammadu Buhari on his toes through critical, objective and active perusal.

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, made this known in a statement while reacting to the arrest and release of the Executive Director of the International Press Centre (IPC) based in Lagos and former President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Mr Lanre Arogundade.

The activist left Nigeria on January 30, 2022 for Banjul, The Gambia to attend a training programme on ‘Conflict Reporting for Journalists’.

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The training programme was organised by the UNESCO (Gambia) and International Press Institute.

Mr Arogundade returned to Nigeria Thursday afternoon but was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport by officials of the State Security Service (SSS). 

“No reason has been adduced for the arrest and detention of Mr Arogundade and his name is not on any watch List.  

“Though the activist was released hours later, after outrage by the civil society community in the country, it is important to note that the SSS has turned itself to an attack bulldog unleashed against anyone perceived as not being part of the shenanigans of the regime of Buhari.

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“Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression and the press”,HURIWA cited.

It read, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

“Without prejudice to the generality of sub section (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions provided that no person, other than the government of the federation or a state, or any other person or body authorised by the president on fulfillment of a condition laid down by an Act of National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever.”

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The rights group noted that the “SSS and the attack dogs of the Buhari regime should know that the civil society group in Nigeria won’t be browbeaten and intimidated by the coercive forces of security agents.

“The government of the day must also realise that Nigeria is under a democracy and there is no room for jackboots and dictator-like tendencies, no matter how subtle it is.

“The SSS must publicly apologise to Mr Arogundade for trampling on his fundamental human rights. The secret police must do this and publicise it in national dailies with immediate effect. Nigeria is no Banana Republic”, HURIWA demanded.

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