The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond has asked Nigerians to use the 60th independence anniversary to reflect on the state of the nation and commit themselves to reject economic policies that impoverish them.
The group in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), urged Nigerians to express themselves in a peaceful and coordinated manner.
Falana stated that the group endorsed and fully supported any peaceful protest against fuel price, electricity tariff hike on Thursday.
He added that ASCAB will provide free legal services for any Nigerian arrested in the cause of protesting the fuel and electricity tariff hike.
He said, “We express full support for peaceful protests against the harsh economic conditions in Nigeria. We are a people united by common economic afflictions. Irrespective or ethnic, religious or cultural barrier, we should work together to end the era of profit of the few as against the livelihood and prosperity of Nigerians.”
He asked the police not to use force but to protect and defend the constitutional rights of the protesters.
He said the protesters by the civil society groups will be conducted in a peaceful manner, adding that their demands for economic justice was legitimate.
“We call on the police to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of Nigerians to peacefully protest against injustice and bad policies. The police should not molest protesters but rather protect them as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution,” Falana said.
He also called on the government not to arrest the protesters but to ensure the immediate release of those being held by the central or state governments.
He said the continued incarceration of some Nigerians for expressing their belief was against local and international conventions of which Nigeria was a signatory.
“We call for the release of all political prisoners. We ask the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari to release the Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore, without any strings attached.
“It has become clearer to local and international community that his detention is politically motivated. He is a prisoner of conscience being held because of his campaign against corruption and injustice,” Falana said.