However, some senior lawyers flayed the Federal Government for deregistering some of the frontline socio-cultural groups in the country over alleged security concerns.
In separate telephone interviews with Sunday Telegraph, the lawyers said government’s action in deregistering Ohanaeze General Assembly, Arewa Consultative Forum, among others, was an infringement on members’ constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of association.
They, therefore, urged the groups concerned to seek redress in the court of law. Speaking on the issue, Dr. Biodun Layonu (SAN) asked the deregistered socio- cultural groups to take the Federal Government to court for redress.
He said: “I am hoping that those concerned will challenge the government’s action in court. Government always has a prerogative which cannot be taken away. Information on a varied number of issues is always available to government.”
Reacting, a former Secretary of an NBA task force, Mr. Kunle Adegoke, also faulted Federal Government’s deregistration of the groups.
He said: “It is true that these organisations have been used to drum up war and disintegration of Nigeria and every government will definitely be concerned about such state of threatening insecurity.
“However, merely deregistering such organisations do not provide unity and neither does it alienate insecurity. We need to look at the causal factors for the relevance of these organisations.”
As commenting, a former President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, said there was no basis for government to deregister any socio-cultural group.
He said: “One of the most important fundamental rights of Nigerians is their right to peaceful assembly and association to pursue their collective interests including political interests.
The whole purpose of government and governance is to meet the needs of its citizens. “Thus, where there are demands or concerns, the government has a responsibility to listen carefully and meet their demands if they are legitimate and will promote justice.”
A rights activist, Mr. Ige Asemudara, also berated the Federal Government for clamping down on socio- cultural groups in the country. He said: “It is (government) fast becoming a fascist government. It is always threatened by voices of dissent.”