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#EndSARS: Nigerian Law Empowers Governors, Not Police To Permit Protests – Human Rights Lawyer, Falana

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has mentioned no police allow is required for the conduct of public protests by the citizenry, apart from the governor’s allow.
 
Falana made the assertion amid threats by the police and different safety companies to disrupt the deliberate occasions to commemorate final yr’s October 20 #EndSARS protests.



The Lagos State Police Command had mentioned it will not tolerate any public gathering to commemorate the primary anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.
 
Nigerians had, in October 2020, protested in opposition to the now-disbanded Particular Anti-Theft Squad (SARS), a lawless unit of the Nigeria Police Pressure.
 
The protest, tagged #EndSARS, was later hijacked by hoodlums, resulting in killings and destruction of public buildings.
 
SaharaReporters had reported that there was a rising momentum in direction of Wednesday’s memorial #EndSARS protests nationwide to honour the victims of police killings and demand good governance.
 
Falana, in an announcement obtained by SaharaReporters on Tuesday, mentioned, “The defunct All Nigeria Peoples Social gathering utilized to the Nigeria Police Pressure to carry rallies protest the alleged rigging of the 2003 basic elections.

“The appliance was turned down by the Police Authorities. Satisfied that the motion of the Police couldn’t be justified, the ANPP proceeded with the plan to carry the rallies. The primary within the collection of the rallies which held in Kano on September 22, 2003, was attended by the leaders of the occasion, together with Common Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was).
 
“Though the rally was peaceable, it was violently disrupted by the police. To place an finish to such crude violation of the liberty of residents to convene rallies with out official harassment, the ANPP and 10 different political events instructed our legislation agency to problem the disruption of the Kano rally.
 
“We accepted the transient and filed the swimsuit on the Federal Excessive Court docket to problem the constitutional validity of police allow as a precondition for exercising the liberty of expression and freedom of meeting assured by sections 39 and 40 of the Structure and articles 10 and 11 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples Rights Act. In defending the motion, the defendant contended that by failing to acquire police allow the conveners of the rally had violated the provisions of the Public Order Act.
 
“Within the epochal judgment of the Court docket within the case of All Nigeria Peoples Social gathering v Inspector-Common of Police the trial choose, the Honourable Justice Chinyere acknowledged inter alia: ‘The gist of the supply in part 1 of the Act is that the Governor of every State is empowered to direct the conduct of all assemblies, conferences and processions on public roads or locations of public resort within the state and prescribe the route by which and instances at which the procession could cross.

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“’Individuals desirous of convening or amassing any meeting or assembly or of forming a procession in any public resort should apply and acquire the license of the Governor.
 
“The Governor can delegate his powers to the Commissioner of Police of the State or to different law enforcement officials. Individuals aggrieved by the choice of the Commissioner of Police could attraction to the Governor and the choice of the Governor shall be ultimate and no additional attraction shall lie therefrom’.
 
“In upholding the basic rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression and meeting enshrined in sections 39 and 40 of the Structure and Articles 10 and 11 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (Cap A9) Legal guidelines of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the discovered trial choose mentioned: ‘In my opinion, the supply in part 40 of the Structure is obvious, direct and unambiguous.

“’It’s formulated and designed to confer on each individual the fitting to assemble freely and affiliate with different individuals.

“’I’m subsequently persuaded by the argument of Mr. Falana that by the mixed impact of sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Structure in addition to Article 11 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the fitting to assemble freely can’t be violated with out violating the basic proper to peaceable meeting and affiliation.
“’I agree with Mr. Falana that violation can solely be achieved by the process permitted by legislation, beneath part 45 of the Structure, by which case there have to be a state of emergency correctly declared earlier than these rights might be violated.
 
“’I additionally agree with Mr. Falana that the felony legislation is there to take care if protesters resort to violence in the middle of demonstration and that after the rights are exercised peacefully, they can’t be taken away.

“’The Public Order Act as far as it impacts the fitting of residents to assemble freely and affiliate with others, the sum of which is the fitting to carry rallies or processions or demonstration is an aberration to a democratic society.’”
 

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