I have read reports credited to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police declaring that the rally salted for Lagos on Monday February 6, 2017, will not hold. I consider this to be an attempt to intimidate those who wish to partake in the rally, otherwise it cannot be a message for us veterans and indeed the deprived, oppressed and hungry people of Nigeria.
For the information of the police commissioner, Nigeria is a democratic country governed strictly in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Section 39 of the Constitution grants freedom of expression, including the right to be heard and to disseminate information and ideas. Section 40 grants the right to associate and gather together. Section 38 grants the right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly. I believe that Mr. Fatai Owoseni has a copy of the Constitution, to guide his actions and utterances on this matter, instead of threatening innocent and law abiding citizens, who are responsible for his salary.
The issue of police permit for citizens to gather freely, expired with the coming into force of the 1999 Constitution and we cannot now go back to the military era of shutting up citizens from legitimate expressions.
I therefore urge the good people of Nigeria, especially those who reside in Lagos, to join us en mass at Ikeja, for the rally on February 6, 2017. We cannot be intimidated in our own country, by the same people who are paid to protect us.
This is not a rally by miscreants or thugs as to warrant the fears being expressed by the police commissioner. The statutory duty of the police is to offer us protection on Monday and help to maintain orderliness, throughout the period of the rally.
So come rain or shine, we shall hold the rally on Monday, as scheduled, because it is illegal for the police to seek to ban a lawful assembly.