The Lagos State Police command has been advised to desist from becoming authoritarian and tyrannical by attempting to stop the Tuface Idibia-led rally scheduled for February 6, this year.
A Pro-democracy and Non-Governmental Organization, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) said the Nigeria police should not attempt to stop an idea whose time has come just as it affirmed that the peaceful nation-wide rallies called by the reputable social crusader and musician, Idibia is in compliance with a plethora of human rights provisions enshrined in the Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution.
The Rights group affirmed that the Lagos State commissioner Mr Fatai Owoseni was economical with the truth when he claimed sensationally that he has information that hoodlums could hijack the public protests.
“Why can’t the police commissioner apprehend those hoodlums and stop demonstrating a high dose of dereliction of duty by falling back on such fallacious and infantile claims to attempt to stop Nigerians from exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly? The police commissioner should cover his face in shame for this verbal show of shame. The police operatives are some of the hard-hit citizens of Nigeria by poverty and the biting economic recession. Today an average police operative is living in absolute poverty due to entrenched corruption amongst the hierarchy of the Nigerian police force”.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA reminded the police that the Court of Appeal has unambiguously nullified the draconian military era’s Public Order Act even as the Court of competent Jurisdiction had ruled that the police cannot validly abridge the citizens fundamental Rights to enjoy such Constitutional freedoms such as right to freedom of speech, freedom of movement and right to peaceful assembly.
HURIWA noted thus: “We wish to remind the Lagos State Police command that as far back as the year 2007, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of a Federal High Court which had, in June 2005, declared the Public Order Act, (Cap 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, which requires Nigerians to obtain police permit before holding public rallies null and VOID.”
“HURIWA wishes to remind the police that in its judgment, the appellate court, presided over by Justice Danladi Mohammad, held that such police approval infringed on the fundamental human rights of individuals and groups provided for in the 1999 Constitution.”
“The provisions of the Act are unnecessary. We are in a democracy and Nigeria has joined the league of civilised society, ‘‘Justice Olufunmilayo Adekeye, who read the lead judgment, said.”
HURIWA has therefore canvassed popular support and participation in the publicly organised civil rights action by all right thinking Nigerians as championed by the Iconic Musician Mr Innocent Tuface Idibia.