Chidi Odinkalu, the former chairman of the board of National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday inaugurated a civic group to challenge the many cases of human rights abuse in the country.
At the inauguration of the group, Civic Coalition for Democracy in Odinkalu said the group was created to defend Nigeria’s democracy from assault and oppression by government officials and also to highlight the need for the government to allow violence-free gatherings and freedom of speech across the country.
He said, “The (CCD) is borne-out of the desire to ensure the preservation of our democracy by highlighting the assaults on the civic space in the country by the President Buhari’s Administration. The ability of citizens to call government at all levels to account and demand the quality of governance they deserve is the hallmark of a democratic society.”
According to Odinkalu, the country has been thrown down the dark days of arbitrary human rights violations. He cited the killings of the Shiites during peaceful protests by the group across the country and government’s violation of court orders.
He continued, “There is a deliberate action by the government to suppress citizens’ voice in the country.
“In the last two years, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections, our country has witnessed increasing attempt to shrink the civic space with considerable success. An example that easily comes to mind is the occupation of the Unity Fountain by the personnel of the Nigerian Police – preventing citizens the use of the space for demanding accountability.”