We'll Not Allow Any Protest In Lagos For Now - Police Commissioner - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Friday, November 6, 2020

We'll Not Allow Any Protest In Lagos For Now - Police Commissioner

LAGOS - The police in Lagos said on Thursday said it would resist any protest or demonstration anywhere in the state.

The warning came on the heels of plans by some groups to begin “the mother of all protest” across the country to drive home their demands against police brutality, bad governance and insecurity.

But the police said it would not allow any demonstration under any guise because Lagosians were still nursing the wounds of the violence that trailed the #ENDSARS protest.

Lagos police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the command received intelligence on another planned protest.

He said: “Unpatriotic elements or group of people have concluded plans to orchestrate another set of violence in the state in furtherance to the recent #ENDSARS violence, which has been analysed as dangerous and counterproductive.

“Premised on this, the command, therefore, wishes to warn individuals, group of students or any group who might want to stage any form of protest, either ‘peaceful’ or violent, or gathering whatsoever, to desist.

“The police and other security agencies will collectively and tactically resist any security threat or threats to public peace which might be triggered by protest or protesters in Lagos State.

“The police command, emphatically, warns parents and guardians to discourage their children or wards from embarking on any protest in the state. 

e as the possibility of hijacking it by armed hoodlums to cause grieve and pains like the recent past is evident.

“We encourage the public to ignore any call for protest and go about their lawful businesses as all hands are on deck to maintain law and order and public safety across the length and breadth of the state.”

But lawyers faulted the police, saying peaceful protest is a democratic right, and that protesters ought to be provided with security rather than being harrassed by security agencies.

Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Publicity Secretary Dr Rapuluchukwu Nduka and a former NBA Ikeja Chairman Adesina Ogunlana noted that the right to peaceful assembly is constitutionally guaranteed.

They advised the Command to fulfil its duty of protecting rather than clamping down on such gatherings.

Nduka said: “Every law enforcement agency must understand that every Nigerian citizen has the right to protest peacefully. We can’t take away.”

He urged security agencies to ensure that peaceful protests are not hijacked.

“What the security agencies should be talking about is how to ensure that people protesting peacefully are protected and then those who are being violent are dissuaded from doing that.

“If they get better intelligence, it will enable them to make informed decisions on that.”

Ogunlana said protesters do not need a police permit.

He said: “It is the police that should provide security. If people want to protest, it means they want to exercise their rights. It is the duty of the police to ensure that they are within their rights and not to stop their rights.

“If there is a court order, if the police had gone to court to get a court order that says ‘don’t do any protest’, that would be a different thing. And then people who want to protest can go to that court to vacate the order.

“It is not for the police to say they don’t even want any protest, whether peaceful or not. That is wrong. We will encourage anyone who wants to protest, to do so, but peacefully.”

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