Amnesty International Nigeria has said that it received the news of arrests and crackdown on protesters against prevalence of insecurity in northern Nigeria.
The nonprofit called for the immediate release of those arrested for “exercising their rights” and asked that the police never use “invitations” to further intimidate the protesters.
“We call on Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested for exercising the right to freedom of assembly. The DSS must stop using ‘invitations’ to intimidate protest organizers,” the nonprofit said.
“The protesters have done nothing more than speaking up for accountability. The arrests appear to be an attempt to intimidate and harass those who refused to be silent in the face of government’s failure to protect lives,” it added.
Protests against rampant insecurity have continued in major cities of northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, asking authorities to handle the situation with iron fist.
The protests that started in Kano, Abuja and Bauchi and later spread to Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna, were organised by women activists in northern Nigeria and began on Friday last week.
The Nigeria’s Department of Security Service (DSS) has been accused of intimidating the protesters by inviting them to private sessions and requesting them to withdraw from the protest.
On Wednesday, a human rights lawyer based in Kano, Barrister Abba Hikima, was also “invited” by the DSS but later released.
The secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), where the protest was held in Kano, was also closed by the police immediately after the protest.
Several activists, journalists, and other Nigerians have attended the protests holding placards and asking President Muhammadu Buhari to “act now”.
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