RULAAC: Police Have No Powers to Ban Protests

0

A civil society organisation, the Rule of Law Accountability and Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), has faulted the decision of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu to clampdown on peaceful protesters in the state.

The group in a statement, on Saturday, said the commissioner has no powers under any law to ban protests, as the laws of Nigeria allow for peaceful protests.

It said that the police commissioner acted beyond his powers.

“The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, acted beyond his powers by announcing a ban on protests in Lagos State. He is exercising powers he does not have.”

The Lagos command had said it would resist any form of protest, whether peaceful or violent.

The spokesperson of the Lagos police, Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the “police and other security agencies will collectively and tactically resist any security threats or threats to public peace which might be triggered by protest or protesters.”

The threat by the police followed report that some youth groups plan to reassemble to continue the #EndSARS protest for police reform.

The threat by the police came on the heels of clampdown by the federal government on #ENDSARS protesters.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had already secured obtained a court order to freeze the bank accounts of individuals and a corporate organisation linked to the #EndSARS protest.

Reacting to the ban on protests by the commissioner of police, Okechukwu Nwanguma, the Executive Director of RULAAC said the police chief is “exercising powers he does not have.”

He said: “There is also no such thing as ‘EndSARS violent protests’, as stated in the Press Release issued by the CP Lagos through the PPRO. The #EndSARS protests were peaceful until the government recruited thugs who attacked the peaceful protesters and subsequently deployed soldiers who attacked them and fired live ammunition on the protesters.

“When CP Joseph Mbu issued a similar illegal order in the FCT in 2014 banning protests by the Bring Back Our Girls group, while he was CP FCT, he was forced to withdraw the order following the public backlash.

“The Bring Back Our Girls Group, through their lawyers, Femi Falana Chambers went to court and got a court order nullifying that illegal order and reaffirming citizens’ constitutional rights to assemble peacefully and protest without requiring approval from the Police.”