When the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – Abuja, Joseph Mbu, decided to place a ban on #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja, little did he know that it would attract condemnation.
On Monday June 2, 2014, Mr. Mbu ‘went beyond the limit of his powers’, banning all protests on the over 200 missing Chibok School Girls…
Human rights lawyers and activists, in their usual manner, led calls for the ban to be lifted, stating that it contravened the constitution.
Following mounting pressure, on Tuesday June 3 2014, the Inspector General of Police (I.G), Mohammed Abubakar, revoked the ban, giving the go-ahead for ‘peaceful protests’ in the FCT. This move by the I.G drew commendations from all quarters, with some saying that the CP had “been put in his place”.
As praises go the way of the I.G, criticisms have been rained on Mbu for his action. ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some of them. This is what they said…
BARR. JOSEPHINE ODIKPO, Center For Rights and Development
“It is my belief that the government is focused on the protests rather than focusing on ensuring justice prevails for the missing girls, their parents and Nigerians in general. It is a systemic failure whereby in a democratic setting people’s freedom of expression and association are abrogated under the guise of maintaining the peace.”
BARR. MALACHY UGWUMADU, Malachy Ugwumadu Chambers
“It is an irresponsible action. It is an irresponsible ban. The ban was an idea conceived in treachery, nurtured in perfidy and delivered in mischief. The police have failed woefully in the discharge of their duties, the CP now wants to dissipate energy. Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees the right to freely assemble. The only hindrance to freely assemble being the public order Cap 382 of 1990, which is unconstitutionally null and void. The I.G has not displayed such recklessness. Money and resources should be used in rescuing the girls.”
BARR. AKIN OLADIPO AGBE (SAN), Civil Rights Liberty Organization
“The ban on the protest is an illegal act, the CP violated the fundamental rights of the protesters because they have the right to freedom of association, freedom of speech, etc. Anyone or group has the right to associate freely and protest peacefully. The protest is to send messages across and to show concern over the kidnapped girls.”