Ezekwesili, 16 others drag FCT Police to court

Oby Ezekwezili

Oby Ezekwezili, one of the leaders, addresses #BringBackOurGirls protesters in Abuja

Nnamdi Felix/Abuja

Oby Ezekwezili addresses #BringBackOurGirls protesters
Oby Ezekwezili addresses #BringBackOurGirls protesters

Frontline activists campaigning for the rescue of the over 200 abducted Chibok school girls using the #BringBackOurGirls slogan, on Tuesday dragged the FCT Police Commissioner before a federal high court in Abuja following the ban announced by the police commissioner of all protests in connection with the abducted school girls.

In the suit filed on behalf of the activists by Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, they want the court to make an order for the enforcement of their fundamental human right to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association guaranteed under section 38, 39 and 40 of the Nigerian constitution and Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The activists who are plaintiffs in the matter alongside former education minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili, are Hadiza Bala Usman, Samuel Yaga, Rebecca Samuel Yaga, Sarah Ishaya, Dunamar Mpur, Lawan Abana, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, Dauda Iliya, Kibaku Area Development Association; KADA, Maryam Uwais, Bashir Usman Yusuf, Jibrin Ibrahim, Saudatu Mahdi, Bukky Shonibare, Rotimi Olawale and Florence Ozor.

The main relief being sought by the activists is for the court to make a declaration that the decision of the FCT Police Commissioner to ban protests and rallies in the federal capital territory with effect from Monday, 1 June 2014, is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void as it violates the fundamental rights of the activists to freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association guaranteed under section 38, 39 and 40 of the Nigerian constitution and Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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Furthermore, they want the court to hold that the FCT Police Commissioner is not competent to ban protests and rallies in the capital city without an order duly issued by a competent court.

They also want the court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the police commissioner from further preventing them or aggrieved Nigerians, from taking part in protests and rallies in exercise of their freedom which are constitutionally guaranteed.

For placing an illegal and unconstitutional ban on them, the activists seek an award of Two Hundred million Naira (200, 000, 000) only as damages for the said act of violation of their fundamental rights.

The suit which was filed at the federal high court’s registry at about 2:47 on pm Tuesday is yet to be assigned to any judge to hear the matter.