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#EndSARS Remembrance: It’s Illegal For Police To Stop Protesters — Adegboruwa

October 12, 2021

This is not proper in a democracy, which is nurtured by the observance of the rule of law and due respect for human rights.

Human rights' lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, says it is illegal for the police to threaten protesters.

The lawyer added that the police threat against plans to commemorate the #EndSARS protest is not proper in a democracy and is against the Constitution.


He noted that the responsibility of the policemen is to offer protection to peaceful protesters.

He wrote, “My attention has been drawn to a statement made by the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, wherein he threatened to suppress the protests planned for the commemoration of EndSARS. The Commissioner stated that the police will do everything within its powers to stop the protests.

“This is not proper in a democracy, which is nurtured by the observance of the rule of law and due respect for human rights. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, grants to every citizen the freedom of expression without interference.

“The responsibility of the Police under the Police Act, 2020, is to offer protection to citizens who embark upon peaceful, civil and lawful protests and not to threaten them.

“The deliberate act of the Police to suppress lawful protests has no place in our Constitution and it should not be condoned at all. I am concerned that the Police and the government generally seem not to have learnt any lesson from the EndSARS protests of 2020, for the purpose of engaging citizens in lawful ways.

“Considering that the ruling All Progressive Congress is itself a child of protests, it is unimaginable that the same government is seeking to gag citizens from enjoying the same rights that its leaders deployed to full advantage when they were in the opposition.

“I, therefore, urge the Police to exercise restraint and work with the protesters to achieve a peaceful and orderly outing and to offer them protection.

“I urge the protesters to shun all acts of violence and disruptions of business or hindrance of movement of persons, in the course of the protests.”

Adegboruwa reacted to a statement by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, warning residents of the state to desist from participating in any form of protest planned in commemoration of the #EndSARS protest.

In October 2020, Nigerians across the country stormed the streets to demonstrate against police brutality and bad governance under the #EndSARS campaign.

However, on October 20, soldiers from the Bonny Camp, 81 Division, invaded the Lekki tollgate, where some demonstrators had gathered, and fired gunshots.

In his reaction to fresh plans by youth and groups to commemorate the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protest, the police commissioner urged the groups to shelve the idea.

Though the right to peaceful assembly and the right to protest are constitutional rights of Nigerians, the police have continued to clamp down on protesters.

Just recently, Nigeria police opened fire on members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) during a peaceful procession in Abuja.

Also, during a peaceful protest on Nigeria's independence day, men of the Nigeria Police Force fired tear gas canisters at protesters in Abuja.

The peaceful protesters could be seen chanting and displaying banners and placards saying 'Buhari Must Go'.

Six of them were arrested by the police, brutalised and detained for demanding the resignation of Buhari. They were later released.