The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has vehemently condemned the recent brutality and violence in the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Joe Ajero, in Owerri.
The Executive Secretary of Commission Dr. Tony Ojukwu OFR, SAN while reacting to the reported assault of Mr. Ajero said it is a reprehensible act, a flagrant violation of human rights and an affront to the principles of democracy and rule of law.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Commission said "brutality on Mr. Joe Ajero, a senior labor leader, represents impunity and a direct attack on the fundamental rights of individuals to associate and express their views and opinions freely, which is the cornerstone of a democratic society like ours"
According to the renowned Human Rights Advocate, the Commission reiterates that in a democratic nation like Nigeria, the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected and upheld no matter how uncomfortable law enforcement agents feel.
The Learned Silk called upon the relevant authorities to swiftly investigate this ugly incident, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure that such acts of brutality are neither repeated nor tolerated. "It is essential that those responsible for this brutality are held accountable for their actions, serving as a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated in our Society".
The Chief Human Rights Officer said it is unethical to use force and violence to arrest unarmed civilians, adding that this brutal act is against international best practices for the promotion and protection of human rights.
He said the Commission reiterate its commitment to upholding human rights, protecting freedom of expression, and ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals in the country.
Dr. Ojukwu used this medium to call upon law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and uphold the principles of democracy and respect for human rights when dealing with unarmed civilians while enforcing law and order.
"Together, we can build a society where every citizen's rights and freedoms are safeguarded, respected and tolerated, where acts of violence and intimidation have no place".