The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) says there is an attempt to silence the voice of Femi Falana, human rights lawyer.
On Wednesday, a group, Save Nigeria Movement, had asked Falana to stop intimidating security agencies.
During its rally in Abuja, the group displayed banners with inscriptions such as “Falana stop blackmailing Nigerian military” and “Falana enough is enough”.
But in a statement on Sunday, Osagie Obayuwana, CDHR national president, condemned the protest against the lawyer. He said the action of the protesters shows that they were sponsored in an attempt to silence Falana.
“From all indications, the group was set up solely for the purpose and their expressed aim ‘To defend Nigeria’s Security Agencies from intimidation by Mr. Falana’ speaks volumes as to who their funders are. Even while we recognize that there is hunger in the land, it is detestable that there are Nigerians available these days for hire, to do such a dirty job,” the statement read.
“How on earth can it be said that Mr. Femi Falana by virtue of his pronouncements out of Court and submissions before judges can intimidate the DSS and the Army, to such an extent that these agencies now need protection?”
Falana, counsel of Omoyele Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, has been critical of Nigerian security agencies over cases of abuses and disregard for the rule of law.
Obayuwana said it is worrisome that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is “adopting a similar approach of silencing voices”, used during the government of Sani Abacha, former military head of state.
“It is highly regrettable that decades after Nigeria’s experience with the Abacha inglorious regime, where citizens were killed by State Agents for the opinions they expressed, and hirelings urged the killer regime on by proclaiming that Abacha is the one the cap fits, we seem to be witnessing the erection of such a foundation,” he said.
“That Abacha and his choristers all ended up in the dustbin of history is now a matter of record. With the so-called Movement to Save Nigeria, we see these ominous signs coming unto the horizon, under a government that proclaims to be democratic.”
CDHR called on the protesters to “publicly explain how consistent with their name, they wish to save Nigeria by protecting the security agencies and silencing the voice of reason”.
It also asked the Department of State Services, the inspector general of police, and the minister of defence to publicly dissociate themselves from this group, if they have no hand in its establishment and funding.