“The idea that public officers have to be protected from citizen’s abuse is offensive, anti-democracy and should be totally resisted.”
These were the words of the immediate past Chairman of Human Rights Commission, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu. He stated this at a programme tagged; “Defending Citizen’s Rights” online organized by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) at the Lagos Social Media week.
Odinkalu said that the security operatives have no right to arrest anyone on account of calling public officers idiots as doing such will deprive citizens of their right.
“If you don’t want citizens to call you idiot while in office, resign and get out of office. We have public officers who are neither public nor provide public services. What else are they going to take away from us, our right to vent?
“If citizens are been punished for this, then what they are calling for is anarchy. Nigerians have been so much abused by these public officers that the little right we have to call them to do the right thing should be defended.”
He called on the users of the social media to avoid hate statements in order to enjoy wider participation and drive home their demands.
Speaking on the same issue, Gbenga Sesan the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) warned Nigerians against outsourcing their responsibility of safeguarding the social media right.
“If someone takes up the responsibility on your behalf, you will at one point criticize their stance. First we need to understand our rights, identify when they are breached and speak out when necessary.”
He charged Nigerians to stand up against the anti-frivolous petition bill as it is an infringement on their rights.