A former Second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani has described as illogical, efforts by the Nigeria Police and some state governments to stop gatherings in commemoration of the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest.
In a statement sent to SaharaReporters, Ubani argued that the plan by the youth to organise the protest is in accordance with the provision of the 1999 constitution.
He further advised the Nigeria Police Force, and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu to ensure the protection of protesters.
Ubani's statement comes amid warnings by the Lagos and Oyo states police commands against protests, saying such gatherings would be repelled.
He wrote, “My attention has been drawn to the threat both by the state government and the Nigerian Police to stop Nigerians from commemorating the EndSARS protest which allegedly claimed several lives last year.
“We emphasize these facts for the umpteenth time that such act of aggression against the citizens' rights that are guaranteed by the constitution is illegal, illogical and provocative.
“The rights to peaceful assembly and movement including expression are products of the 1999 constitution as amended which remains the grundnorm.
“If there is any law that is meant to derogate from those rights, it has to be a reasonable law made in a democratic society. For now, no such law exists that outlaws the peaceful gathering and free expression of the citizens of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Police represented by the current Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Odumosu is advised to ensure that those who really want to commemorate the great event in a peaceful manner are given adequate security protection to carry out that basic civic duty.
“May I remind the present government, in case they have forgotten, that governance is not a monologue but a dialogue between the led and their leaders.
“Effective participation and feedback mechanism are powerful instruments that precipitate good governance in a democratic society. Autocracy and unimaginative exclusion of the people in governance have terrible and negative consequences in the country.
“It is my belief that those who intend to commemorate the EndSARS anniversary are knowledgeable enough to know that there are legal consequences for riotous and destructive behaviour under our criminal code.
“Let the people be allowed to freely express themselves, especially now that nobody is sure of those promises the government made over a year ago to carry out reforms on the policing system in Nigeria.
“They need to hear the verdict of the people and it will enable the government to properly assess itself on whether they have kept to their promises.