A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun Adegboruwa, has lambasted the police for threatening to stop a protest planned to commemorate the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest which was held in some major cities in October 2020.
Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Hakeem Odumosun, had in a statement by the command’s spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, on Monday, warned against staging any protest in the state.
”Credible intelligence at the disposal of the command has revealed clandestine plans by some youths, individuals or groups to embark on a protest today in commemoration of the first anniversary of #EndSARS.
“The police in the state will not fold their arms and allow some misguided elements disrupt the peace and serenity currently being enjoyed in the state,” Odumosun said.
Reacting to the statement, Adegboruwa described the threat as illegal, saying protesters deserved to be protected.
He noted that deliberate suppression of protesters has no place in the constitution, stressing that it should not be condoned.
Adegboruwa stated; “This is not proper in a democracy, which is nurtured by the observance of the rule of law and due respect for human rights. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, grants to every citizen the freedom of expression without interference.
“The responsibility of the Police under the Police Act, 2020, is to offer protection to citizens who embark upon peaceful, civil, and lawful protests and not to threaten them.
“The deliberate act of the Police to suppress lawful protests has no place in our Constitution and it should not be condoned at all. I am concerned that the Police and the government generally seem not to have learnt any lesson from the EndSARS protests of 2020, to engage citizens in lawful ways.
“Considering that the ruling All Progressive Congress is itself a child of protests, it is unimaginable that the same government is seeking to gag citizens from enjoying the same rights that its leaders deployed to full advantage when they were in the opposition.
“I, therefore, urge the Police to exercise restrain and work with the protesters to achieve a peaceful and orderly outing and to offer them protection.
“I urge the protesters to shun all acts of violence and disruptions of business or hindrance of movement of persons, in the course of the protests.”