Above is a group photograph of Sharif (in all white caftan) flanked by supporters shortly after his release.

·       CISLAC Condemns Arrest

“We acknowledge that Sharif’s freedom was made possible by the enormous pressure exerted by the CNG, the Northern Elders Forum, patriotic leaders and elders of the North, a decent section of the civil society, a multi-sectoral cooperation of regional groups and activists and the vigilance of the national and international press.

FOLLOWING increased national and international pressures, the Nigeria Police yesterday released detained Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) Nastura Ashir Sharif, after he was held for two days at the Force Headquarters in Abuja. 

A statement last night from CNG’s spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, confirmed the release Sharif, who was arrested in Katsina State on Tuesday and moved to Abuja. He was arrested shortly after peaceful protests in Katsina against the wave of killings of helpless and defenceless citizens by bandits.

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“We acknowledge that Sharif’s freedom was made possible by the enormous pressure exerted by the CNG, the Northern Elders Forum, patriotic leaders and elders of the North, a decent section of the civil society, a multi-sectoral cooperation of regional groups and activists and the vigilance of the national and international press.

“We equally appreciate the support, cooperation and patience of the entire northern public throughout the period of Sharif’s detention. This is indeed reassuring.

“We assure the public that we shall never relent in our struggle for a decent, free, fair and just society no matter the odds.

“We urge authorities to endeavour to always place value on human liberty and people’s rights as basic corner stones for civilized democracy,” the statement said.

CISLAC Condemns Arrest

“As we express our worries and dissatisfaction over the administration’s inaction to address citizens’ agitations in civility, we reiterate that citizens’ right to personal liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are safeguarded, protected and must be respected, as enshrined under Section 35, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights; African Youth Charter; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.”

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has stated that it is seriously disturbed by the incessant disrespect to democratic values and unchecked violation of citizens’ rights by the federal government.

A statement signed by CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), last night condemned the arbitrary arrest and the deployment of armed forces which it said creates unjustified tensions and threatens civil liberty in the country.

Musa stated: “While we follow with keen interest the deliberate disregard for the rule of law and nonchalant response towards public agitations, we condemn in totality outright disproportionate deployment of armed forces with resultant arbitrary arrest that creates unjustified tensions and threatens civil liberty in the country; as recently observed in the case of Alhaji Nasturah Ashir Sherrif, who is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Coalition of Northern Youth.

“We recall that Sheriff was arrested by the Nigerian Police for organising a series of peaceful protests against the killing of innocent people by bandits and other criminal elements in Katsina State and other states in the North.

“We, on this note, articulate our disappointment and discomfort at the unruly manner in which the administration handles civil agitations on governance coupled with devastating insecurity at all levels; instead of re-directing focus towards apprehending the perpetrators of ceaseless banditry and killings that have ravaged every part of the country.

“We uphold our position that arbitrary arrest and disproportionate deployment of armed forces to frighten the citizens from demanding accountability on electoral mandates in form of peaceful protest, personal liberty and freedom of expression, as guaranteed under relevant national and international laws, are unacceptable, undemocratic and totally unwelcome in our nation’s democracy.

“As we express our worries and dissatisfaction over the administration’s inaction to address citizens’ agitations in civility, we reiterate that citizens’ right to personal liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are safeguarded, protected and must be respected, as enshrined under Section 35, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights; African Youth Charter; and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.”

While demanding for the immediate release of Sharif and “all other victims of unjustified arrests” CISLAC also demanded for sincere and proactive policy efforts to address the escalating insecurity in the North in particular and the country in general. It said such policy strategy should be geared towards at apprehending the “perpetrators of these ceaseless banditry and killings in the country.”

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