Mr. Fatai Owoseni, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, said that due to intelligence gathering, the command would not allow the Monday protest organized by music legend, 2Face Idibia alongside other artists to hold.
According to report, the police stated that 2Face does not have the capacity to handle the kind of crowd that would turnout for the protest and therefore banned the protest from holding.
“Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest and at such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos. We know that Tuface does not have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand,” Owoseni said.
He added that “no matter how good an intention is, hoodlums would always find a way to harass, rob and attack innocent members of the public who may wish to go about their lawful duties.
However, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a human rights lawyer, has noted that the position of the police is illegal.
According to him, the police cannot ban a lawful assembly based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“For the information of the police commissioner, Nigeria is a democratic country governed strictly in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution,” Mr. Adegboruwa said.
“Section 39 of the Constitution grants freedom of expression, including the right to be heard and to disseminate information and ideas.
“Section 40 grants the right to associate and gather together.
“Section 38 grants the right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly.
“I believe that Mr Fatai Owoseni has a copy of the Constitution, to guide his actions and utterances on this matter, instead of threatening innocent and law abiding citizens, who are responsible for his salary.”
He noted that the issue of getting permit from the police before citizens would be allowed to freely express their frustration is expired when the 1999 Constitution was enforced and “and we cannot now go back to the military era of shutting up citizens from legitimate expressions.”
“I therefore urge the good people of Nigeria, especially those who reside in Lagos, to join us en mass at Ikeja, for the rally on February 6, 2017,” he said.
“We cannot be intimidated in our own country, by the same people who are paid to protect us.
“This is not a rally by miscreants or thugs as to warrant the fears being expressed by the police commissioner. The statutory duty of the police is to offer us protection on Monday and help to maintain orderliness, throughout the period of the rally.”