Nigeria police. PHOTO: GOOGLE
A civil society group, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), has warned the Nigerian Police against obstructing the peaceful protest and threatening of arrest of participants.
The group was reacting to the statement credited to the Lagos State Commissioner, against the organisers of the rally scheduled for Monday, 6th of February in Abuja and Lagos to stop the rally or face arrest.
CSJ said if he really had security reports, his task now is to ready the requisite policing skills to prevent such hijack from happening.
The Lead Director of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, who made the charge said the Constitution of Nigeria as amended, guarantees the rights to personal liberty, freedoms of movement, of expression and the right to hold and disseminate opinions.
“These officers of state are paid to protect the rights and liberties of citizens as their servants; not their masters. He should therefore, deploy his men to follow the rally from a respectable distance and provide security for attendees of the rally to express their fundamental rights.“
He added that the courts have held that no one needs a police permit to organise such a rally or demonstration as in the case of Inspector-General of Police versus All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (2008) WRN 65.
“The Federal Government should reconsider and think through its records on human rights and fundamentals freedoms as it graduates from disobedience of court orders to stopping lawful and legitimate citizens’ protests. This is not the democracy we voted for,” he added.