NLC Protest: Opportunity for Police, SSS to Earn Public Trust

Abuja – 26 February, 2024: 

Ahead of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) two-day nationwide protests against the rising cost of living in the country, security operatives have another opportunity to earn public trust by providing protesters with security instead of warning against the protests, ImpactHouse Centre for Development Communication (ImpactHouse) has said. 

Peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and various international human rights instruments. This right is essential for a functioning democracy and is crucial for holding the government accountable.

The government needs to understand the source of citizens’ present rage, and without proper and well-thought-out corrective measures and corresponding sacrifices from public officials, the people should not be expected to keep making sacrifices.

‘This frenemy relationship between the Nigerian government and citizens does not help the country. Instead of the Nigerian authorities trying so hard to stop the protests and, in the process, raising the suspicions of the populace and widening the trust gap, the government and security operatives should ensure adequate protection for protesters’, ImpactHouse Executive Director, John Andah, said.

‘The government must understand that protests are not against the state but an activity that strengthens democratic governance. No democratic society develops without active citizen participation in governance’.

We call on the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigeria Police Force to provide adequate protection for protesters in line with section 83(4) of the Police Establishment Act, which empowers the Minister of Justice to provide security cover for protesters. We also call on protesters to be law-abiding while exercising their legitimate rights.

ImpactHouse believes that the attempt to stop protests only sends a clear message that the government is not interested in addressing the concerns of its people but rather in maintaining its grip on power or is more concerned with protecting its interests. We insist that such actions breed resentment and fuel a sense of alienation and mistrust towards those in authority; hence, the security agencies should not miss a vital opportunity to earn public trust.



Editor note:

ImpactHouse is an Abuja-based tech-driven nonprofit using data and storytelling to drive a uniform understanding of development messages in Africa. The organisation was established to aid government-citizen action for good governance, gender equity and justice, education and human rights, and media and civil society development.  

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