Home Metro EndSARS: “It’s illegal for police to ban public protest” – Falana

EndSARS: “It’s illegal for police to ban public protest” – Falana

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Femi Falana SAN has condemned the warning of Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, against the EndSARS protest on October 20.

Falana said this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, he argued that the police lacked the power to ban public protests in Nigeria.

Earlier, groups and individuals were planning to commemorate the first anniversary of the Lekki Tollgate shooting by the Nigerian army.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police had warned earlier in the week that the police will suppress any planned protests in commemoration of the EndSARS protests last year, claiming that planned protests may lead to a “breakdown of law and order.”

In response to the development, Falana said, “The police’s stance is illegal as they constitute a gross infringement of the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution as well as articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.”

“Since police permits have been outlawed and banned in Nigeria by the Federal High Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeal, the Nigeria Police Force cannot be permitted to ban rallies without a repeal of the law on public meetings, rallies and processions in the country.

“In other words, the ban on public protests announced by the Police Authorities cannot obliterate the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians to assemble peacefully and express themselves.

“After all, it is public knowledge that General Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was) and other leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress who took part in public rallies against fuel hike in January 2012 and protests against insecurity in November 2014.

“To that extent, the Buhari administration ought to restrain the Police from banning peaceful rallies against police brutality on October 20, 2020, in any manner whatsoever and however.

“Finally, the Police and other security agencies should be reminded of the indisputable fact that neither the former British colonial police force nor the defunct neocolonial military junta succeeded in banning public protests in Nigeria.”

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