The Senate on Wednesday condemned the police attack on a group of protesters campaigning against the medical vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the upper legislative chamber however maintained its objection to the protest.
The protesters, led by Mr. Charles Oputa (Charlie Boy) are demanding Buhari’s immediate return to the country or his resignation, following his absence from the country for about 95 days for medical reasons.
Police personnel descended on the protesters, who staged the protest under the aegis of #Our Mumu Don Do#, flogged them and smashed journalists’ cameras in the process.
The Senate described the action of the police as a violation of the fundamental human rights of the protesters, stressing that they did not disturb public peace during the rally.
The statement said: “It is not right for the police to brutalise the people as they reportedly did yesterday (Tuesday).
“While we are opposed to the subject of the protest, the Senate acknowledges the fact that the protesters have the constitutional right to gather and express their views in a manner that will not breach public peace, order and tranquility.
“Since the ‘Our-Mumu-Don-Do’ protesters did not conduct themselves in such a manner as to disturb public peace, it is not right for the police to brutalise the people as they reportedly did yesterday.
“The police should review their rules of engagement and ensure that they are in line with that of modern democratic societies. The rights of the people should not be violated by the police employed to protect these rights.
“Where the police suspect that hoodlums are trying to hijack the protest, it is the duty of the police to apprehend the hoodlums and those who break the law rather than generalise and thus brutalise innocent protesters.”
The Senate urged the organisers of the protest to join other Nigerians in praying for the safe return of President Buhari.
“They should note that any mortal being can find himself in the situation where one needs medical attention and more time to fully recuperate.
“More so, when in the present case, the President complied with the provisions of the Constitution and all organs of government are not impaired nor hindered by his medical vacation,” the statement added.