Posted by News Express | 11 June 2014 | 4,915 times
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Gudu, Abuja, this morning ruled held that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) lacks the powers to prevent or stop rallies or possessions for the release of the abducted over 200 students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
According to Justice Abubakar Talba, the Public Order Act, Cap 382 Laws of Nigeria 1990, which the police relies on to stop rallies, “does authorise men of the NPF to disrupt rallies or possessions on the issue of the abducted Chibok girls.”
The judgment was on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network and former member of the House of Representatives, Otunba Dino Melaye. Melaye had headed for court on May 9 to challenge the disruption of the rally he led in Abuja seeking to compel government to act fast to rescue the Chibok schoolgirls abducted and held since April 14 by Boko Haram.
The judge declared unconstitutional the arrest of, and assault on Melaye by men of the NPF during the May 9 rally.
The suit marked No. CV/1521/14, which had the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, as defendant, was not defended by the respondents.
Justice Talba ruled thus: “The arrest of the applicant and threat to further arrest him in respect of rallies or possession is unlawful. The disruption of peaceful rallies and procession by agents of the 1st and 2nd respondents is illegal and unconstitutional.”
He judge held that since the respondents failed to file any counter process to the one filed by Melaye was an admission of the allegations made against them by the applicant.
The judge consequently ordered the IGP and CP, FCT, to “tender a written apology to the applicant as provided for under Section 35(6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
He also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from further “harassing, molesting, intimidating, abducting, arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant in respect of peaceful rallies or procession in Abuja or any part of Nigeria.”
Justice Talba went further to award N150,000 in damages and cost against the respondents and in favour of the applicant.
•Photo shows Dino Melaye on his bike, leading a protest.
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