Police cannot ban #EndSARS protests – Human rights activist, Femi Falana

Human rights activist, Femi Falana has said that the police lacks the power to ban public protests in Nigeria.

Reacting to Lagos state police command’s threat to “suppress planned protests” in commemoration of last year’s

#EndSARS protests while appearing on a television station on Thursday, October 14, Falana averred that 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.”

The senior advocate of Nigeria stressed that since the notification to the police of the public rallies scheduled

to hold on October 20, it requirement is to make arrangements for the provision of adequate security for

the participants at the venues of the rallies.

Furthermore, he called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba Alkali, to direct the Commissioners of

Police in all the states of the Federation to ensure that adequate security is provided for all citizens who may wish to

protest against the policies of the Government which seem inimical to their interests.”

Falana added;

“Since police permit has 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.”

By Taiyelolu A

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