Former presidential candidate and governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has criticized the move to ban protests against police brutality in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration cited the “violation of the COVID-19 protocols” for the ban on “all #EndSARS street demonstrations, protests, and processions within the FCT.”
The Committee said it was concerned that despite the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad last Sunday, the demonstrations had continued, putting the lives of citizens at risk and increasing the spread of the coronavirus.
“That’s infantile ingenuity. That’s hogwash, nonsense!” said Donald Duke. “This is just purely an excuse to stifle genuine expression.”
Mass protests against police violence continued across several cities in Nigeria for the eight straight day on Thursday. Demonstrations have been particularly violent in the nation’s capital, where protesters have been attacked by police, and on Wednesday, men wielding machetes vandalized vehicles and injuring some protests.
The move to ban the protests in the city is seen by many as the latest ploy by the government to put an end to the vigorous demonstrations. For Donald Duke, it means stifling the right of citizens to protest peaceful.
“If you stifle it today and you don’t address it, it will come back and haunt you tomorrow so the sooner you address it the better,” the former governor said. “Saying people shouldn’t demonstrate, which is a democratic right, I think it’s definitely childish ingenuity.”