A Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Femi Aborisade, has condemned the various attacks on a popular Nigerian entertainer who has been the face of the pro-masses #OurMumuDonDo movement in Nigeria, Charles Oputa (Charly Boy), and protesters and journalists during the #ResumeOrResign protest in Abuja.
In a statement released on August 16, Mr. Aborisade also called for the resignation of the special adviser on media and publicity to the President of Nigeria, Femi Adesina.
Mr. Aborisade stated that the presidential spokesperson’s comments against the critics of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government are capable of exposing such critics to attacks from pro-Buhari groups.
The lawyer was responding to comments Mr. Adesina made in an opinion piece in which he alluded that if not for the “reformed” position of President Muhammadu Buhari as a “born-again democrat,” he could have permitted his supporters to “take off the heads” of his critics.
Mr. Aborisade then reasoned that “there is a link between Adesina’s threats suggesting the possibility of assassinating government critics and the violent attacks on peaceful protesters of the #ResumeOrResign and #OurMumuDonDo movements.
“This is why Femi Adesina must be removed as a presidential spokesman. With the effrontery to issue a public statement threatening that but for the ‘democratic dispensation’ of Buhari, orders could have been given to ‘take off the heads of government critics.’ Femi Adesina has become a threat to Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.
Mr. Aborisade said the right of dissent is a democratic right but the country seems to be in danger by the APC “regime that has proven absolutely incapable of solving any of the problems compounded by the PDP’s 16 years of ruinous government.”
“Rather than improving the living standards of ordinary people, the APC has plunged Nigeria into unprecedented levels of poverty. There is a relationship between economic instability and political repression. Any regime that is incapable of addressing economic hardship of its people would invariably be repressive,” the human right lawyer stated.
He called on all labor movements and civil society organizations to defend civil liberties in the country, arguing that “only massive but peaceful actions led by the labor movement may prevent the implementation of the APC program as announced by Femi Adesina, in terms of ‘taking off the heads’ of government critics.”
“Unless we resist the vicious physical repression being unleashed on the #ResumeOrResign and #OurMumuDonDo movements today, the labor movement and other democratic forces that may have cause to protest may suffer greater repression on a larger scale in the future,” he warned.