The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has described as unfortunate the invasion of the Abuja office of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) by the officials of the Department of State Security (DSS).
In a statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, CDD said such official intimidation of lawful civil society organisations’ guaranteed protection by the country’s constitution would not be tolerated.
The Centre calls for an end to the intimidation of Civil Society in Nigeria. If the DSS has questions for CISLAC, they should have invited the group for questioning instead of recourse to brute force. CISLAC is a leading civil society organisation operating in Nigeria for fifteen years. We, therefore, call on the DSS to investigate and clarify her position immediately.
At this stage, Nigerians need to have faith in their government. Civil Society is not against the government but merely performing duties as watchdogs and are partners in progress. The Nigeria civil society played a core role in midwifing the democracy the country currently enjoys. In the last 21 years of democracy, the civil society movement has contributed to every facet of life, ranging from elections, accountability, economy, health, water; we have taken it upon ourselves to support the people, the government and protect democracy.
Unfortunately, Civil Society has faced a lot of intimidation from different quarters in government. A recap of the last 24 hours is quite revealing; while the DSS was hounding CISLAC, another staffer at the Presidency, authored an oped obnoxiously referring to the Civil Society as an Evil Society. She went ahead to vilify some civil society members in manners detrimental to their safety. These attacks are one too many and are many attempts to shrink the civic space.
CDD stands with CISLAC and calls on the Nigeria government to graciously end the attack on the civic space.