Rights have often been termed the most important characteristics of democracy and they are a defining identifier of what nations are truly free.
Freedoms, however, cannot exist without checks, for by doing so, one may infringe on the rights of others. Hence, the need for laws and the tenets as enshrined within the constitution.
Drawing a line between the people’s rights and the upholding of laws tends to have been the bane of what was experienced in the passing, and might as well be for a few more days to come especially as the new week marks the anniversary of the #EndSARS movement.
While there are propositions to hold another match in honour of those who lost their lives last year, the authorities have warned against such an initiative, fearing that things might degenerate as they did the last time.
As with all debates regarding rights, the issue of infringements was a major theme explored by thought leaders in Nigeria and across the globe, last week.
Here are some quotes from various engagements at different occasions; when pieced together, these sayings give a perfect sense of what the pressing issues are both here in the country and across the world.
1. “Lagosians and indeed Nigerians cannot afford to relive the distasteful experience of last year’s protest which caused pain, anguish, needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of public and private property.”
Police in Lagos State have warned against planned protests in commemoration of last year’s #EndSARS protests.
2. “The police’s stance is “illegal as they constitute a gross infringement of the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution as well as articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.”
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, says the police lacks the power to ban public protests in Nigeria.
3. “Restructuring is possible without violence”
Pastor Tunde Bakare says although Nigeria is better off as one nation, such unity must be based on equity, justice, fair play and the rule of law.
4. “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened.”
“Star Trek” actor William Shatner speaks about his experience after finally becoming a real space traveler on Blue Origin’s second crewed mission, making him the oldest person to reach space.
5. “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.”
Britain’s Prince William ignites controversy by blasting space tourism and saying that more attention should be paid to problems closer to home ahead of the COP26 climate summit.
6. “We’re… facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China.”
Microsoft announced the shutdown of career-oriented social network LinkedIn in China, citing a “challenging operating environment” as Beijing tightens control over tech firms.
7. “We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs.’ The youth do not need handouts. They need investments.”
President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has advises Nigeria to make its youths drivers of the new economy through the creation of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.
8. “Once the National Assembly has finished the process of reviewing the Consolidated Insurance Bill 2020 and is forwarded to me, I would speedily subject it to the necessary executive checks and sign it into law.’’
President Buhari says he will hasten the signing of the Consolidated Insurance Bill 2020 once it lands on his desk.
9. “In the same spirit, I say to President Muhammadu Buhari: Mr President, stop passing the buck to the National Assembly. Tear down this inhibiting concoction of a constitution; tear it down so we can build a truly great nation”.
Pastor Tunde Bakare urges President Muhammadu Buhari to do away with the 1999 constitution, saying it is a great inhibitor of the nation’s progress.
10. “I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo. The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. M.K.O Abiola. Bashir Tofa, and many others in action. But I have not seen anyone with the kind of attraction, magnetic pull, that Muhammadu Buhari has. And that is round the country, north and south. People swarm around him as bees do to honey.”
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says President Muhammadu Buhari has attained greater acceptance among Nigerians even more than some fathers of the federation.
11. “I tested them and fired them before our election. When I was asked that I would lose the second term, I said if losing second term in office will give Kaduna State children a future with better primary education, I am ready to let it go.”
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, explains how he was willing to sacrifice his second-term ambition in order to give children from his state quality education.
12. “We have defended our championship and brought back the cup in 2019 and 2021 which is historical but still no invitation has been extended to the team to visit Aso Rock or a presidential handshake, why?”
One of the D’Tigress players, Victoria Macaulay speaks as the team protests over their unpaid wages and allowances.
13. “November 6 election will be won by APGA and it is going to be a landslide victory.”
National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) predicts a landslide victory for the party in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.
14. “The Police Mobile Force will as usual, form a critical component of the operational plan, to deter any subversive elements that could threaten or disrupt the smooth conduct of the election”.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba discloses that the Force is set to deploy over 34,000 personnel to Anambra State, ahead of the November 6 polls.
15. “Persons recruited into arms-bearing security agencies (should) undergo psychiatric evaluations and drug tests before enlistment, and periodically after enlistment to ensure that the personnel are psychologically fit to carry live weapons and to identify behavioural tendencies that may require psycho-social interventions.”
The National Economic Council recommends psychiatric evaluation and drug tests for those seeking to be enlisted into various security agencies, especially the arms-bearing outfits.
16. “I think I’ve shown that I’m a politician with integrity and I have made it very clear that I didn’t leave the other party on my own, I was pushed out of the party, and someone else gave me cover, gave me an opportunity.”
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, again says he has no intention of returning to the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he was pushed out.
17. “The account holder shall be prohibited from all electronic channels such as but not limited to ATM, POS, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, USSD including the issuance of third-party cheques.”
In line with its objective of promoting financial system stability, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issues a Revised Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry.
18. “Professor Osinbajo is not calling for the devaluation of the Naira. He has at all times argued against a willy-nilly devaluation of the Naira.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says he is not calling for the devaluation of the naira contrary to some reports that trailed his speech at the opening session of the mid-term ministerial performance review retreat.
19. ‘‘The PIDF projects are also advancing remarkably. These include the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 375 km Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Expressway and the East West Road. Most of these projects are expected to be completed within this 2nd term of our Administration.’’
Buhari assures Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120 km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) will be completed within the second term of this administration.
20. “Nigeria will remain undaunted in adopting dynamic strategies to counter new approaches adopted by organised criminals, in order to make drug trafficking unattractive while ensuring forfeiture of the criminally derived assets, a tested and powerful deterrent to the proliferation of drug crimes and criminalities.”
Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) assures the international community of Nigeria’s preparedness and determination to go after the assets of drug barons and traffickers in any part of the country.
21. “While appreciating the role of lawful peaceful protests in the advancement of public discourse under democratic governance, the National Economic Council (NEC) strongly advise those planning public protests across the country to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS, to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement.”
The National Executive Council (NEC) advises organisers of the #EndSARS protests to reconsider their plan to stage any protest in commemoration of the one-year anniversary since the demonstrations were held in various parts of the country.