The Initiative For Equal Rights

Joint Statement – The National Council for Arts and Culture Must Stop the Harassment and Promotion of Intolerance Against Bobrisky Idris Okuneye

Nigeria, 24 September 2019 – We, the undersigned persons and organizations, dedicated to advancing and advocating for the human rights of Nigerians hereby declare our support for Bobrisky Idris Okuneye in the face of the harassments and threats being made by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). The Director-General of the NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has continuously made inciting statements about Bobrisky, aimed at promoting hate and intolerance.

Runsewe made his first threat in August 2019 in an interview with The Vanguard Newspaper where he stated that: “If he (Bobrisky) is caught on the streets of this country, he will be dealt with ruthlessly”.  Weeks later, after Bobrisky’s birthday party was shut down by armed policemen, Runsewe indirectly claimed credit for the operation and said: “We are going to issue a statement very soon; if we catch anybody on the street disgracing this country — there is law and order in this country.” In another statement, he declared that Bobrisky ought to leave Nigeria.

Runsewe’s actions are a violation of the Fundamental Human Rights of Bobrisky; rights which are guaranteed to every citizen of Nigeria. The stated mission of the NCAC according to its website is “The National Council for Arts and Culture shall be dedicated to the development and promotion of the best of the living Arts and Cultures of Nigeria, using it as resources for National integration and Unity as well as to serve as catalyst for sustainable growth and development of the Nation.” By dedicating so much time into harassing and threatening a citizen of Nigeria who has not committed any crime, Runsewe is stepping out of his role and wasting taxpayers’ time and government resources. He is endangering Bobrisky and putting Bobrisky’s life and wellbeing at risk. We condemn the actions of Runsewe and the NCAC and urgently call on the Federal Government to put an end to the harassment and threat to life of Nigerian Citizens by a Federal Agency that is funded by taxpayers.

Signed by:

The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs)

Women’s Health and Equal Rights (WHER)

Access to Health and Rights Development Initiative (AHRDI)

Life Building Awareness Initiative (LIBAI)

Africa Focus for Youth Development (AFFYD)

Life Building Awareness Initiative (LIBAI)

Initiative for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Awareness (ISRHRA)

Women Crisis Centre NG

Improved Male Health Initiative (IMH)

International Center for Advocacy and The Right to Health (ICARH)

Education as a Vaccine (EVA)

Hope Alive Health Awareness Initiative (HAHAI)

Valor Atte Basi

Chekwube Ibeachum

Lesley Agams

Orugbo Anthony

Olabukunola Williams

Tahir Idris

Xeenarh Mohammed