News / Africa

    Rights Groups in Nigeria Challenge Security Ban on Gatherings

    Security officials evacuate victims of a bomb attack at St. Rita's Catholic church in the Malali village in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna, Oct. 28, 2012.
    Security officials evacuate victims of a bomb attack at St. Rita's Catholic church in the Malali village in Nigeria's northern city of Kaduna, Oct. 28, 2012.
    Heather Murdock
    Opposition groups in the northern Nigeria city of Kaduna are calling for the repeal of a ban on “meetings, rallies or assemblies” without police permission. Police maintain the ban is essential in times of political turmoil to maintain peace in a city with a history of political violence.
       
    Kaduna state Police Commissioner Olofemi Adeleke told VOA the ban is a temporary measure - enacted by security forces, not lawmakers - to prevent political violence.
     
    Cities all over the world require permits for some public gatherings, but this ban applies to all gatherings. For instance if you want to hold a meeting in a hotel, you have to obtain permission from the police before the hotel will rent you a conference room. Essentially this gives security forces the ability to decide who can have meetings, even in private.
     
    Opposition and rights groups say if the ban is enforced, they will challenge it in the courts as unconstitutional.

    Sulaiman Ahmed, the vice-chairman of the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, said, “Obviously the ban on social gatherings, or any political gathering, or either educational gathering except for the organization seek permission from the police or from the security agents is completely illegal, most especially in a democratic era.”  
     
    In the meantime, said Hafsat Mohammad Baba, an opposition party member, the ban has been working and events have been canceled over the past few weeks. Baba said that in her opinion, the ban was put into force by the ruling party ahead of the 2015 elections to prevent the opposition from gaining strength.
     
    “People have the right to voice out how they feel about the government in power because that is what we call democracy," she said. "At the end of the day, they are supposed to go back to the drawing board to see what they’ve done wrong and why people are so much against them instead of banning meetings, conferences or any gatherings.”
     
    The ban was put into place after fights broke out at a political rally in early October. In Kaduna, political quarrels can rapidly devolve into sectarian violence as political affiliations often divide along religious and ethnic lines.
     
    Last year, nearly 100 people were killed in sectarian violence in Kaduna, after triple church bombings killed nearly 20 others. In 2011, more than 800 people were killed in fighting that broke out after the presidential election.
     
    Yohanna Buru is a pastor and a local leader of interfaith initiatives. He said that as new elections loom, people should be holding more workshops and meetings, not fewer.
     
    “They’re setting the issue of peace backwards. The reason why I’m saying this is this: since we need peace, if we don’t sit down and talk together, if we don’t sit down at the dialogue table and talk together, then what are we going to do?" asked Buru.

    Buru agreed with security forces that rallies are extremely dangerous these days in Kaduna. He said the way to more prevent bloodshed, however, is not to stop the gatherings, but to secure them and to teach people how to meet in peace.
     
    Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora