Posted by News Express | 12 February 2021 | 968 times
The Lagos State Government has warned various opposing groups planning to embark on protests at the Lekki Toll Plaza on Saturday to shelve their plans.
The Attorney General of Lagos, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, gave the advice on Thursday, saying it is not an auspicious moment for such action.
Onigbanjo acknowledged the rights of the citizens to a lawful assembly and freedom to express their feelings as guaranteed by Section 39 and 40 of the Constitution but said the rights did not give any citizen the freedom to block highways and prevent other citizens from moving freely within the State.
Onigbanjo said “the Government would not allow any group to push the State, once again, to the edge of carnage”, advising those organising the “Occupy Lekki Toll Gate” and “Defend Lagos” protests to desist from the planned action.
He said the state government’s respect for the citizens’ rights to protest should not be seen as a licence to break the laws, warning that any individual or corporate organisation that incite an action leading to the destruction of public and private properties would be prosecuted and be made to pay damages.
He said, “Attention of the State Government has been drawn to the planned protest scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021, at the Lekki Toll Gate for and against the opening of the Admiralty Toll Gate. The State is aware of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which guarantees the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. However, such a right does not permit the violation of the rights of other citizens in the State.
“While the State recognises the importance of exercising the rights to peaceful protests, the same cannot extend to blockage of roads or actions preventing other members of the public from enjoying their fundamental rights to move freely within the State.
“Any individual or corporate body that incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce. Such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage, which may arise as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.”
The Attorney General also said the public health crisis occasioned by the spread of deadly variants of the COVID-19 should discourage anyone from attempting to assemble people for the planned protests.
He urged all groups to consider COVID-19 protocols that limit public gatherings not to be more than 50 persons.
He enjoined “everyone to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 Regulations and any other extant laws in the state. The right to protest peacefully does not exempt anyone from violating laws. Any violator will therefore be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” (Channels Tv)
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