#BringBackOurGirls Protesters Sue CP Mbu Over Ban of Protests in Abuja
The #BringBackOurGirls protesters under the auspices of an Abuja-based group, Women for Peace and Justice (WPJ), has dragged the FCT Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja over his announcement banning protest in the FCT.
The Police Commissioner reportedly banned all forms of protest and rallies in relation to the abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno State by the Boko Haram sect.
The suit, a fundamental rights enforcement application, filed by 17 members of the group is challenging the powers of the Abuja Police Commissioner to ban any form of protest in the FCT.
The plaintiffs, led by Hadiza Bala Usman, argued that the directive by Mbu, banning protests and rallies, was a violation of their “freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association” guaranteed under sections 38, 39, 40 of the Constitution and Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004 (ACHPR).
They are praying the court for among others, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Police Commissioner and his agents form further preventing them and other aggrieved Nigerians from taking part in protests and rallies in exercise of their freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association as guaranteed by the Constitution and ACHPR.
The plaintiffs want an order directing the CP, Abuja to pay them N200million as damages for the violation of their rights; a declaration that the respondent is not competent to ban protests and rallies in the FCT in any manner without an order of a competent court.
They are also seeking a declaration that the Mbu’s decision to ban rallies and protests in the FCT from June 1 this year is illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the ACHPR.
The plaintiffs hinged their application on the grounds that Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Constitution and sections 8, 10 and 11 of the ACHPR guaranteed their freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association.
They argued that the Mbu has no power to violate the fundamental human rights and that his conduct, by placing a ban on rallies and protests was a violation of their guaranteed rights.
Mrs Bala Usman, in a supporting affidavit accused the police of abandoning their constitutional responsibility of providing security for all Nigerians, including those engaged in rallies and protests.
Other plaintiffs in the suit include Samuel Yaga, Rebecca Samuel Yaga, Mrs Sarah Ishaya, Mallam Dunama Mpur, Lawan Abana, Dr Pogu Bitrus, Dauda Iliya,Obiageli Ezekwesili, Maryam Uwais, Bashir Ibrahim Yusuf, Jibrin Ibrahim, Saudatu Mahdi,Bukky Shonibare, Rotimi Olawale, Florence Ozor and Kikaku Area Development Association (KADA).
Members of the group and their sympathizers, dressed in red shirts, were at the FCT High Court premises in large number, while their lawyers, from the law firm of Femi Falana (SAN) were filing the case in the court’s Registry. They insisted on proceeding with their rallies, which they have held for about 31 days now since the school girls were abducted last month.
They later moved to the office of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) located few meters away from the court in Maitaima to register their disaffection with the decision of the Abuja CP to ban rallies and protests.
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