Posted by News Express | 4 June 2014 | 2,753 times
True to her threat, former Education Minister, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, along with other leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls coalition, yesterday afternoon sued the Nigeria Police over the ban on protests for the rescue of the over 200 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, abducted by Boko Haram on April 14.
The suit which was filed at the Federal High Court Abuja registry at about 2:47 p.m. by Femi Falana, SAN. Ezekwesili and co are praying the court to make an order for the enforcement of their fundamental human right to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association guaranteed under section 38, 39 and 40 of the Nigerian constitution and Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
They are also praying, among others, for payment of N200 million as damages for the violation of their fundamental rights by way of the ban announced Monday by Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Commissioner Joseph Mbu.
Others suing alongside Ezekwesili on behalf of the #BringBackOurGirls coalition are Hadiza Bala Usman, Samuel Yaga, Rebecca Samuel Yaga, Sarah Ishaya, Dunamar Mpur, Lawan Abana, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, Dauda Iliya, Kibaku Area Development Association; KADA, Maryam Uwais, Bashir Usman Yusuf, Jibrin Ibrahim, Saudatu Mahdi, Bukky Shonibare, Rotimi Olawale and Florence Ozor.
Shortly after the suit was lodged, Inspector-General of Police M.D. Abubakar announced the reversal of the ban. Abubakar in a statement signed by Force Spokesman Frank Mba, said the police had no intention of banning peaceful rallies.
According to the statement, “Against the backdrop of current security challenges in the country, coupled with a recent intelligence report of a likely infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminal elements having links with insurgents, the Police only issued advisory notice, enjoining citizens to apply caution in the said rallies, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs.
“Reminding citizens of the earlier position of the Force on peaceful rallies, which the Police High Command regards as the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerians, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, M D. Abubakar, stresses the need for the organisers of such rallies to ensure that they seek proper advice and guidance from the Police before engaging in any such exercise so as to avoid any unpleasant circumstances.
“The IGP calls on the general public to see the present position of the Force as a necessary sacrifice for the peace our nation needs, as security is a collective responsibility.
“Consequently, citizens are strongly advised to reconsider their positions on the issues of rallies and protests in FCT until the existing threats are appropriately neutralized and removed from our midst by relevant security agencies.
“Meanwhile, the IGP reassures citizens of the commitment of the Force to the protection of lives and property and advancing the course of democracy in Nigeria.”
•Photo shows a #BringBackOurGirls protest march.
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