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PRESS STATEMENT BY REPRESENTATIVES OF WORKING ON PEACE AND DEMOCRACY IN THE NORTH EAST ZONE OF THE COUNTRY

TIME TO HALT THE SLIDE TO ANARCHY

HELD ON 28TH NOVEMBER, 2014 AT NUP PRESS CENTRE, BAUCHI

Gentlemen of the press I welcome all to this necessary and important press conference on again to communicate to the world through you the position of the Civil Society Organization in this region on the current dangerous attempts by some political office holders to move our country to precipice. At this juncture I represent the Civil Society Organization here present and those absent for genuine course whom we stand proxy for that.

We the undersigned representatives of civil society organizations consider it necessary to draw attention to the increasing threat to our pledging democracy. The purpose is to get all stakeholders recognize the danger that current events pose and act to stop it before our slide away from democracy become irreversible.

Over the last few days, there have emerged a number of dangerous signals to the survival of our democracy.  First is the increasing spate of dangerous speeches by prominent politicians. Dangerous speech is hate speech that denigrates people on the basis of their membership in a group, such as an ethnic, political, or religious group and catalyzes people into action moving towards violence against others.

It would recall that the Governor of Katsina, Barrister Ibrahim Shema last week delivered a classical hate speech in which he likened the opposition to cockroaches only worthy of being crushed.  This was followed by a similar speech by the Governor of River State, Rotimi Amaechi in which said that should the 2015 election be rigged, his party will form a parallel government.  Both of these statements are capable of mobilizing and catalyzing people in preparation for violent actions.

Even as the dust was yet to settle, the Police, presumably acting on instruction of the Inspector General of Police invaded the National Assembly purportedly to stop hoodlums and thugs from getting into the National Assembly but clearly aimed at stopping the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as members of the opposition party from getting in the chamber of the House.

A similar event had earlier happened in Ekiti State where 19 members of the House were prevented by the Police from entering the State House of Assembly allowing only seven who belong to the party of the State Governor.  The seven members claimed to have met and impeached the Speaker of the House of the Assembly.

We call on all Nigerians, irrespective of party affiliation, to rise in defense of the doctrine of separation of powers which allows each arm of government to conduct its business in accordance with the constitutional provisions. It is central to democratic experience anywhere and must be respected.

Politicians at whatever level must not only be accountable of public resources entrusted to them but must also be accountable to their acts and what they say. They must refrain from hateful and inciting speeches as well as engage in acts that undermine constitutional provisions and institutions of governance that they have sworn to abide with.

Peace is a paramount requirement for the sustenance of democracy and ensuring the basis for development.  We condemn the action of the Police and the mute silence of the Presidency as well as the various dangerous speech acts of key actors in the political terrain which are threats to peace and democracy and urge citizens to demand that these must stop as we focus on ensuring free and fair elections in the next few weeks.

Signed

  1. Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Bauchi
  2. Rahama Women Development Initiate, Bauchi
  3. Bauchi Coalition for Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM)
  4. Youth Alliance for Development, Jamaare, Bauchi State
  5. Bornu Coalition for Democracy (BOCODEP), Maiduguri
  6. Waka Grassroots for Development, Damaturu
  7. Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Gombe
  8. Youth Development Initiative, Azare, Bauchi State
  9. Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, Bauchi
  10. Zango Women Group, Bauchi

About Adamu Umar

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