End SARS: Police warning against Lagos protest an invitation to anarchy – Festus Ogun
Festus Ogun, a legal practitioner has condemned the warning of Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, against End SARS protest on October 20.
Groups and individuals are planning to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Lekki toll gate shooting by Nigerian Army troops.
In a statement Monday night, Ogun warned the police and other security agencies not to stop citizens from exercising their fundamental rights.
The Principal Partner of Festus Ogun Legal said such attempt “is unconscionable, draconian and a reckless invitation to anarchy”.
The activist reminded Odumosu that he has no authority to prohibit protests and proceeding with the threat will be acting beyond the limits of his powers and against the constitution.
“He cannot, under our extant laws, interfere with the hallowed right to protest under any guise. The only legal duty he has is to ensure the security and welfare of all protesters; which must be professionally done.”
The Legal Adviser of TakeItBack Movement stressed that #EndSARS Memorial Demonstration is guaranteed under Sections 39, 40 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
“Articles 6, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Enforcement and Ratification) Act equally protect the right to protest. Additionally, Articles 18-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 fully protect the constitutional liberty to protest.
“Emphasising the sacred nature of the right to protest in a constitutional democracy, the Court of Appeal in the case of IGP V. ANPP (2008) 12 WRN 65 held that “certainly in a democracy, it is the right of citizens to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations without seeking and obtaining permission from anybody.
“It is a right guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution and any law that attempts to curtail such right is null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
“Rather than becoming restless about the looming inevitable revolution that will be witnessed in our country, in the fullness of time, the police chief is advised to ensure the rights of protesters are fully protected.”
Ogun said a police notorious for extrajudicial killing, torture, extortion and brutality lacks the legal and moral right to warn or caution victims on how to demand a better life.
The lawyer warned that rights advocates shall not condone any form of harassment, intimidation, brutalization or arrest on October 20.
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