Pro democracy and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has decried crackdown on peaceful protests in the country by the president Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Falana who spoke in Lagos on Monday at consultative assembly themed “Democracy, state repression and the state of insecurity in Nigeria,” convened by Coalition for Revolution (CORE) held at the Lagos Centre, Oregun backed the call for revolution in the country. He said Nigerians have in the past called for revolution in the country and have never been arrested.
He said, “So, let the authority in Abuja know that the call for revolution is not new in Nigeria. Political leaders in this country have over time called for revolution and they have never been arrested and prosecuted. If there is a mistake now, such must be corrected. This country belongs to all of us.
“Before today, they claimed that we must not engage in any activity on the street. We are trying to gather inside the hall, they claimed that we cannot do that. But because of our resolve, we won.
“Revolution is not a dinner party. It is a serious, rigorous and consistent battle for the soul of a country like Nigeria. Therefore, what we have done is a mere declaration of our resolve.
“The struggle is going to be in pains and it will require time. But I believe that we have started and there is no going back. What we have done is to challenge the Nigerian people to appreciate the enormity of crisis of underdevelopment that is confronting the country.
“We do not have revolution yet in Nigeria. But there are revolutionary pressure in Nigeria. We must seize the advantage of the moment and mobilise Nigerians on the need for revolution; tell them that it will come sooner than later.
“We all should have hope in the exercise. We have to go round the country and tell Nigerians. Nigeria occupies a prominent place globally. It is the only country with the largest concentration of black race. So, if we fail to get it right in Nigeria, the black race is doomed.
“That is why we all must declare our resolve to double our energy towards achieving the aim of revolution for the country.”
Falana condemned moves by security agencies to stop the event from holding adding that the country will no longer tolerate dictatorship after defeating military juntas in the past.
“Our right to assembly and associate peacefully in the country is constitutional. I want to assure you that we are going to ensure that all the rights of Nigerian people that we have fought for and won will not be allowed to be eroded by any regime in this country.
“When we were told that we will not be allowed to meet, my mind went back 30-years-ago when we had the Buhari, Babangida and other juntas. We defeated the regimes and I want to assure you all that any other dictator will not be allowed to raise their head again in Nigeria.
“I heard that about three persons have been arrested. But I want to assure you that after the programme, I will demand for their release because they have not committed any offence. I want to assure you that all those that were arrested and charged during the #RevolutionNow for unlawful assembly and peace will be given adequate defense at the court of law.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari led administration knows those that are breaching the peace of the country- terrorist, armed robbers, coup plotters and others.
“Those who went to the street to protest in exercise of their right to assembly and complain against injustice, corruption and maladministration in the country cannot be said to have breached the law of the country.
“Therefore, the man (Sowore) who was arrested and detained before the protest will be adequately defended at the law court. This is because he has committed no offense” he said.