The former minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili; wife of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Mrs. Maryam Uwais and 15 others, yesterday, went to court to challenge the powers of the Nigerian Police Force to ban any form of protest within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, aimed at securing the release of the abducted schoolgirls.
They also asked the court to order the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, to pay them N200m as damages for violating their rights.
In an application for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights to peaceful assembly and association which they filed before an Abuja High Court at Maitama, the plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, they insisted that the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, does not have the constitutional powers to stop the #BringBackOurGirls protests.
They maintained that such action by the police would amount to a gross violation of their statutory rights and privileges as guaranteed by Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
Others behind the suit, yesterday, were Mrs. Hadiza Bala Usman, Samuel Yaga, Mrs. Rebecca Samuel Yaga, Mrs. Sarah Ishaya, Mallam Dunama Mfur, Lawan Abana, Dr. Fogu Bitrus, Dauda Iliya, Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA), Bashir Ibrahim Yusuf, Jibrin Ibrahim, Saudatu Mahdi, Bukky Shonibare, Rotimi Olawale and Florence Ozor.
The Commissioner of Police, FCT, Mr. Mbu was listed as the sole respondent in the suit.
Senate votes on Constitution amendment Wednesday
The Senate would today vote on new amendments to the Constitution.
The decision was taken yesterday which is two months after the upper chamber suspended the exercise as a result of controversy.
The outrage was due to a clause that sought to empower the President to initiate the Constitution amendment process.
Specifically the proposal sought to amend Section 3 (b) of the Constitution which deals with how a new constitution can be initiated.
The Chairman on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, had explained before withdrawing the controversial proposal “that Section 9 of the first Alteration Bill provided for how a new Constitution can come into being through the National Assembly.
“The aim of this insertion is to make provision for the President in addition to the National Assembly to initiate the process of a new constitution.”
Ekweremadu, however, announced on Tuesday that the Senate would on Wednesday vote on the other proposed amendments that were not considered before the previous withdrawal.
Some of the proposed amendments to be voted on include: The alteration of Section 68 and 109 to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Clerks of States Houses of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission in writing within seven days of the existence of a vacancy arising from death, resignation or defection of a member of the National Assembly or a member of the State House of Assembly respectively.
Alteration of Section 134 and 179 which aims to extend the time for conducting presidential and governorship re-run election from seven days to 21 days as contained in Clause 4 and 5.
The INEC is seeking for an extension of the seven days to 21 days after results have been announced.