The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Nigerians have a democratic right to conduct peaceful protests.
The party made the comment in reaction to a nationwide protest championed by popular musician, 2Face Idibia to protest the policies of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“For us, it is about the constitution of Nigeria, Tuface or any other citizen of the country has the right to stage a peaceful protest,that is the position of our constitution. We as a party will not be part of anything that will abridge or take away the right of citizens to protest, especially in a democracy,” APC National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi told ThisDay.
“We have as a party benefited greatly from citizen’s right to express their democratic rights and our being in government is not going to change that orientation to promote the liberties and right of citizen hold dissenting views,” he added.
He also spoke on a threat made by the police to prevent the protest from holding as planned.
“Well I don’t know exactly what the police are saying about banning the protest. I think what the police will probably be saying is that they are concerned about the issue of safety and threat to lives and property in the course of the protest,” he said.
“There are always fears that hoodlums might hijack a peaceful protest and use the opportunity to perpetrate violence on innocent citizens. I suspect this might be the consideration of the police. But this should not be good enough reason to deny citizens the full enjoyment of their constitutional rights however they wish to express them.
“We believe that protests are a form of feedback, although we may not agree with the grievances but at same time, it may be an opportunity for us to communicate more about what we are doing that the citizens may have had sufficient information on. It may an opportunity for us to give better clarification on what our government is doing.
“But fundamentally, it will be a form of feedback for us to do more in citizen’s engagement and enlightenment and to focus more on our commitment to the promises we made to our people. I do not see it as anything that is antithetical to our democracy,” he added.
The protest is scheduled to hold on February 6, 2017.
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