5 June 2014

Nigeria: #BringBackOurGirls Campaigners Write IG

ABUJA--Following clarifications by the Inspector General of Police, IG, that the police did not ban protest in Abuja over the abducted Chibok Schoolgirls, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group that is leading the protest wrote a letter to police boss yesterday informing him of the resumption of its protest today.

The FCT Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Mbu had announced a ban on protest arguing that there was an intelligence report that the protest would be hijacked by hoodlums to unleash terror on Abuja residents.

The announcement elicited angry reactions from Nigerians. The IG later explained that the police merely issued an advisory notice enjoining citizens to apply caution during the rallies.

The campaigners' decision to write the letter, according to them was in line with the advice from their counsel, Femi Falana, SAN.

"In line with advice from our legal counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, We are writing a letter (today) to the Inspector General of Police on our seat-out proceedings given the advice from the police boss as a result of the overturn of CP Mbu's ban," they said in the letter.

With the letter sent to the IG, the group resolved to meet in the FCT High court tomorrow (today) before taking the next line of action on its meeting.

The group insisted that nobody has the power to stop them from holding peaceful meeting to press home its demand for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, and felt that it was only right to officially write the Police boss before resuming its usual seat-out meeting.

Citing the constitution, the group said: "Any action that violates our constitutionally guaranteed rights as citizens, particularly our rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, among others as enshrined in Chapter Four (Section 40) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) is illegal and unconstitutional.

"Our Movement is legitimate and lawful and cannot be arrested by the police whose responsibility is to enforce, not betray the law."

It will be recalled that the FCT Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu had on Monday, June 2, at a news conference in Abuja, issued an order banning all forms of protest for the release of the abducted Chibok girls, saying that such protests demanding the rescue of over 250 girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State, pose a serious security threat to the country.

The IGP's intervention came on the same day the #BringBackOurGirls group, that is behind the protest, filed a N200m suit at the Abuja High Court, challenging the powers of the Nigerian Police Force to ban any form of protest within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, after an outrage from members of the public greeted the decision of the FCT Police Commissioner.


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