BusinessDay

Remaking Nigeria: Nigerians must take up fight against executive impunity – Effiong

Following overt disregard for democracy and the rule of law consistently shown by president Mohammadu Buhari and his acolytes, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, wants Nigerians to get involved in challenging executive impunity using all legitimate means.

In his remarks on the Rule of Law and the Survival of Nigeria’ at the 13th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series, Effiong said the rule of law has been grossly challenged in a manner as never witnessed before.

He describes the situation in today’s Nigeria, as “very troubling” as a commissioner of police in Lagos can now brazenly make public statements banning protests in Nigeria, and called on Nigerians, especially young people to rise to the occasion.

“We must take actions as a people to salvage our country,” he urged the Nigerians.

Also, the principal counsel of Inibehe Effiong Chambers, litigation and human rights-centred law firm, his charge comes following persistent attempts by Buhari’s government to shut down the media and the entire information which led to an unprecedented media protest on the front plates of major legacy newspapers.

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According to Effiong, Nigeria is in a very difficult time concerning the rule of law, as there has never been a time in Nigeria when the fundamentals of nationhood have been challenged like it is today.

Contributing to the discussion ‘Remaking Nigeria: Towards a secure and viable union,’ he said the rule of law is anchored on respect for human rights, equality before the law, and the supremacy of the law. But these three fundamental ingredients of rule of law have been annihilated.

Under the president, there has been copious disobedience to court orders, reckless violation of the rights of Nigerians on a daily basis, audacious intrusion into the civic space continued and sustained attacks on free press.

Effiong, therefore, called on Nigerians to rise up in order to fight against growing dictatorship in the country as a step to remaking Nigeria.

“Nigerians must take up the fight and challenge executive impunity. We must do all that we can to salvage Nigeria. Young people must take up the fight to rescue Nigeria,” he said.

The Wole Soyinka Media Lecture Series is an annual programme of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) aimed at dissecting diverse topical issues that have a reverberating effect on the perceived performance of the media on the health of Nigeria’s democracy and the country at large.

It’s first edition was held on 27 March 2008, and since 2009, the Centre has held the lecture on 13 July, to commemorate the birthday of Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature and Grand Patron of the WSCIJ, Professor Wole Soyinka.

In her remark, Motunrayo Alaka, executive director, WSCIJ, commended the media for its recent protest against the infamous draconian media bill aimed at suppressing the press.

She described this step as a day to remind ourselves that the media can make a statement to move the country forward. She further encouraged more collaboration among media organizations.

“We need to collaborate. What happened yesterday (the front page protest) was a huge collaboration.

“The media need to assert and continue to assert its independence and we can assert our independence by being sustainable.”

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