Biafra sit-at-home protest legal: Adegboruwa •Condemns police threat

Posted by News Express | 27 May 2017 | 1,872 times

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•Eminent lawyer and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

A prominent lawyer and rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has declared as illegal, the threat issued by the Nigeria Police, against the May 30 sit-at-home protests of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

IPOB had directed its loyalists especially traders and artisans in different parts of the country to observe a Sit-at-home order in commemoration of 50 years of the declaration of the State of Biafra and in remembrance of their members who died at various times is their struggle for the actualisation of Biafra.

But police authorities declared the planed action as illegal, prompting Adegboruwa to challenge the Police to cite any section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to back up its declaration.

“I have read the statement by the spokesperson of the police to the extent that the sit-at-home protest of IPOB slated for May 30, 2017, to celebrate the state of Biafra, is illegal. I’m glad that the Police could not cite any law to back up its statement,” the lawyer said in a statement issued this morning from his Lagos base.

According to him, “Under and by virtue of section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, every citizen has the freedom of expression. Sit-at-home is a form of peaceful disobedience, recognized worldwide and employed as peaceful protest. It is meant to express dissatisfaction, in a peaceful manner.

“Under and by virtue of section 38 of the same Constitution, every citizen has the freedom of movement, which includes freedom not to move. As government and the Police cannot restrain movement, they cannot also compel movement. A citizen of Nigeria has absolute right to decide to move or not to move and this cannot amount to a crime under any law, to warrant the threat by the police.

“On May 29, 2015, General (Muhammadu) Buhari and his Vice, took a solemn oath to defend the Constitution and they cannot now seek to renege on that oath, by purporting to declare the Biafra sit-at-home illegal.

“I’m therefore calling on the President and the Vice President, to defend the constitution, by calling the Inspector General of Police to order. Let no Nigerian be harassed, molested, intimidated, arrested or detained, merely for daring to exercise his or her constitutional rights.

“I support the Biafra sit-at-home and urge the leadership of IPOB to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that it is peaceful and well coordinated. I urge all lawyers, activists and the good people of Nigeria, to join and support the Biafra sit-at-home and to resist the illegal attempt by the Police to declare the exercise of a legal right, as illegal.

“To this extent, the threat by the police is illegal and unconstitutional and should be withdrawn. We are not under military rule but operating a democracy, propelled by the rule of law.”

Source: News Express

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