The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has told the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosu, that he does not have the powers to ban peaceful protests in the state.
Making the assertion in a statement, Executive Director of the group, Okechukwu Nwanguma, said that expressing their views through peaceful demonstrations was a right guaranteed to citizens in the Nigerian constitution.
On Thursday, the police in Lagos through its spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, said that any planned attempt to gather once more for another EndSARS protest in the state will not be tolerated.
According to the police, “the government and people of Lagos still nurture the wounds of the recent EndSARS violence that wreaked havoc across the state”.
But rejecting that position, RULAAC said that the right to assemble and hold the government to account through peaceful protest was non-negotiable and could not be stopped by any individual.
The group said, “The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, acted beyond his powers by announcing a ban on protests in Lagos State. He is exercising powers he does not have.
“When CP Joseph Mbu issued a similar illegal order in the FCT in 2014 banning protests by the Bring Back Our Girls group, he was forced to withdraw the order following public backlash.
“The Bring Back Our Girls Group, through their lawyers, Femi Falana, went to court and got an order nullifying that illegal order and reaffirming citizens’ constitutional rights to assemble peacefully and protest without requiring approval from the police.
“This is to call the attention of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, to this judicial pronouncement and to urge him to understand and act within the limits of his powers.
“There is also no such thing as ‘EndSARS violent protests’, as stated in the press release issued by the CP Lagos through the PPRO. The #EndSARS protests were peaceful until the government recruited thugs who attacked the peaceful protesters and subsequently deployed soldiers who attacked them and fired live ammunition on the protesters.”
SaharaReporters, New York