Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has condemned in strong terms the warning from the Army authorities on peaceful protesters in a describing it as alien to Nigeria constitution.
Reacting to the warning, the National Secretary of the opposition coalition CUPP, Chief Peter Ameh, told Daily Sun that the army should know that protest is part of the cardinal ingredients needed for democracy to thrive.
“It has just come to the notice of the coalition that the Nigeria army have issued out warning protesters not to continue that they will not hesitate to assist the current leadership to stop the protest from going on. Forgetting Army authority issuing to warning peaceful protesters in a Democracy is alien to our Constitution
“The constitutional mandate of the army is not even to work within the territorial confines of our country and the Mandate of the Army does cover to right to dissent, peaceful protest and civil disobedience, because it is important for the army to know that for democracy to thrive, protest is part of the cardinal ingredients needed. “Dissatisfaction and expression of these actions through peaceful means are very important aspect of democratic nations, so it is abmormal to see the Army attempt to interferes with such constitutional rights, for our democracy to grow this is needed and be encouraged all well meaning citizens. for the any army of any country to say they are going to weigh in on people who are standing or protesting for their rights as enshrined in our constitution is most undemocratic.
“In fact it is even wrong for the Nigeria police force to use live Amo on young people who are exercising their rights through peaceful protest instead of Blank Amor (i.e rubber bullets and water canon) that is if the protest is even violent but this is not.
“What we see are young Nigerians who are agitating for a better country even to the extend that they are also agitating for increment and improvement of salary and welfare package for police personnel. It is an all encompassing struggle and every person from all works of life must continue to see to how we can make things work.
“But constitutionally the Nigeria Army has overstep their bound if they ever get involved in such activities that is not in their mandate because the Nigeria Army is not authorise at any time even try to issue such warning to citizens carrying out lawful protest because such warning potends great danger for our lasting democracy.
“It patens a lot of danger so the army should again never going forward issue statement concerning peaceful protest in a democracy.
“Civil defence is there, we have the Nigeria Police Force and a lot of other paramilitary forces who can do this without carrying guns.
“There should carry battens to provide security for the younger generation so that they can freely express their grievances because if you allow this grievances to bottle up it is even more dangerous so it is better for them to express this grievance just as they have done, one of the very important point is for the Army to retract the statement because in a democracy they have no place to control or give such instruction to peaceful protesters. Nigeria is not at war,” he said.