Effiong, who is also the National Legal Adviser of the African Action Congress, lamented that the clampdown on the protesters was an ominous sign of greater danger to come, adding that Nigeria was no longer practising democracy.
He said, “In Ogun State alone, we learnt that about 20 protesters were arrested, while nine were arrested in Lagos. In Cross Rivers, Ondo, Kwara, Nigerians were also arrested for demanding their rights.
“The militarisation is unwarranted. There is no need for this primitive deployment of state power to quell an ordinary civic response to the situation in the country. The government, the police and the army did not need to do this.
“Even the manner they went about it clearly shows that Nigeria is not a democratic country. When you have soldiers and policemen being heavily mobilised with armoured personnel carriers, AK-47 and other assault rifles; and they are opening bullets on people, using tear gas and arresting protesters who were just singing.
“Look at the Lagos protest for example. We were not even disrupting traffic flow. We were just at one spot when those people swoop on us. For me, I find it troubling and it is an ominous sign of the danger the country is facing. It also shows the deterioration of democratic values. It is a way of telling the international community that Nigeria is back to the dark era of censorship, intolerance and totalitarianism.