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#OtvNEWS: Court declares ban on #BringBackOurGirls rallies illegal

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A Federal Capital Territory High Court in
Maitama, Abuja, on Thursday declared illegal
and unconstitutional the police ban of

BringBackOurGirls peaceful protests.

Justice Sunday Aladetoyinbo made the ruling
while delivering judgment in the suit filed by
the #BringBackOurGirls protesters to challenge
the ban on their rallies by the then FCT
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, on
June 1, 2014.
Mbu, who is now an Assistant Inspector General
of Police in charge of Zone 7, Abuja, had
banned the daily protests by the group, though
the ban was subsequently reversed by the then
Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed
Abubakar, but the protesters insisted on
proceeding with the suit.
Justice Aladetoyinbo in his judgment on
Thursday upheld the argument of the plaintiffs’
lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and declared
that the pronouncement by Mbu was a
violation of the applicants’ “fundamental rights
to freedom of conscience, expression, assembly
and association as guaranteed by sections 38,
39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution.”
He also held that the ban violated the
provisions of Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
(Ratification and Enforcement) Act, 2004.
The court declared that Mbu’s decision to ban
protests and rallies in the FCT with effect from
June 1 was illegal, unconstitutional, and null
and void.
The judge, who described freedom of
association and assembly as the pillar of any
democratic governance, commended the
former IG, Abubakar, for promptly over-ruling
Mbu’s directive.
However, following the withdrawal of one of
their prayers seeking N200m against Mbu as
compensation for violating their rights, the
court struck out the prayer in its judgment on
Thursday.
The court therefore made “An order of
perpetual injunction restraining the respondent,
his agents and privies from further preventing
the applicants or aggrieved Nigerians from
taking part in protests and rallies in exercise of
their freedom of expression, assembly and
association as guaranteed by sections 38, 39
and 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles
8, 9, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and
Enforcement) Act, 2004.”
The court dismissed all the objections of the
police as canvassed by the their lawyer, Mr.
Samuel Lough, who had argued that the court
lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit on the
grounds that only the Federal High Court could
entertain the suit.
The lawyer had argued that the FCT High Court,
an equivalent of a state High Court, lacked
jurisdiction to entertain a suit in which the
police, a federal agency, were sued as a party.
The plaintiffs in the suit included a former
Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is
the 10th plaintiff; Hadiza Bala Usman, Mr.
Samuel Yaga, Mrs. Rebecca Yaga, Mrs. Sarah
Ishaya, Mallam Dunama Mpur, Lawan Abana,
Dr. Pogu Bitrus and Dauda Iliya.
Others are the Kibaku Area Development
Association, Maryam Uwais, Bashir Yusuf,
Jibrin Ibrahim, Jibrin Ibrahim, Saudatu Mahdi,
Bukky Shonibare, Rotimi Olawale and Florence
Ozor. Read full story on Punch.

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