National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has condemned the raids on popular night clubs in Abuja by the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, authorities and the Police, cautioning that citizens’ rights to freedom of association and movement cannot be abridged.
Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, also called on the Police to desist from being used by any individual, group or government agency to carry out operations that infringe on the rights of citizens.
The commission was reacting to series of raids by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the Police on night clubs in Abuja and arrest of some people.
He said: “There is no law that prohibits moving out in the night or gathering for recreational or social purposes, except there is a curfew to temporarily restrict movements within certain hours and for which the necessary authorities would have informed the people.
“The FCTA and the Police should respect the fundamental rights of citizens to freedom of movement and assembly and should not hide in any guise to breach or curtail these rights except in execution of the decision of the court of competent jurisdiction.
“The authorities must also adhere to human rights principles while carrying out their official duties to avoid molestation of citizens they are supposed to protect. We are in no way saying that those who run afoul of the law night or day should not be brought to book.
“There is a need to ensure that all those arrested are brought before the appropriate court of the land and within the time frame stipulated by the constitution to determine the charges against them.
“We also state unequivocally that the reported plan by the FCTA authorities to embark on closure of some night clubs in Abuja without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction raises some fundamental issues which border on breach of economic, social and cultural rights.
“We, therefore, urge the authorities of the FCTA or their agents to refrain from further carrying out this unlawful threat and to respect the fundamental rights of citizens.”