Saturday, July 13, 2024

June 12: Tinubu’s govt. scamming Nigerians amid hunger; silencing dissenting voices, says human rights lawyer  

“The issue of volcanic hunger in the land today should take centre stage; it should form the rallying point for any engagement.”

• June 12, 2024

Tope Temokun, a human rights lawyer, has described the commemoration of June 12 under President Bola Tinubu as a ‘scam’ as his administration continues to go after dissenting voices in the country.

“People must know this celebration is not real. This government is just scamming us,” the lawyer said in a statement released to Peoples Gazette, in Akure, the Ondo state capital, on Wednesday to commemorate Democracy Day.

He noted that if the government chose how to celebrate Democracy Day, the people could not be ‘stifled or railroaded’ to join in forced smiles while hungry.

He explained that there was nothing to celebrate amid excruciating hunger, attacks on freedom of speech and opposition voices in the country.

“There is hunger. Let the people talk. Let the people breathe. Allow the people the freedom to choose how to celebrate theirs and that is the only thing that can be democratic.

“Ideally, today should be a day when the people should be allowed the freedom that democracy symbolizes, the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, as in all the civilized parts of the world, public rallies and nonviolent protests are part and parcel of democracy,” the human rights lawyer said.  

Mr Temokun said the question that should bother the citizens is not whether there is a celebration of any anniversary but whether there is truly democracy to be celebrated in Nigeria.

He noted that government forces had been clamping down on dissenting forces since the beginning of the administration of Mr Tinubu and maintained that the situation in the country has been pathetic.

According to him, governments at various levels can choose their own ‘subterfuge programmes’, like gathering cronies together in the hall for talk shows or symposia, to pretentiously discuss issues related to the memorials of June 12 and that regrettable annulment.

Mr Temokun noted that the current issues bedevilling the people have crystallised beyond talk shows and symposia or the reverberation of the memories of how the winner of the June 12 election was denied the presidency.

“The issue of volcanic hunger in the land today should take centre stage; it should form the rallying point for any engagement.

“But in historical irony, Tinubu government has detailed its monstrous errands, the DSS and the Police, to hunt democratic dissents and vocals around town for the purpose of arrest,” he said.

Peoples Gazette could not immediately get the reactions of presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale.

A text message seeking further comments was still awaiting a reply as of press time. 

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