Court chides Police over order on Chibok girls’ rallies

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Gudu, Abuja, has held that the police lack the powers to prevent or stop rallies or possessions held on the abducted over 200 schoolgirls of the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

Justice Abubakar Talba declared yesterday that the Public Order Act, Cap. 382, Laws of Nigeria, 1990, which the police purportedly relied on, “does not authorise men of the NPF to disrupt rallies or processions on the abducted Chibok girls”.

The judgment was on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former House of Representatives member, Dino Melaye.

The activist challenged the disruption, on May 9, of the rally he led in Abuja on the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram on April 14.

The judge described as unconstitutional the arrest of and assault on Melaye by policemen during the May 9 rally in Abuja.

The suit, which has the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the FCT Police Commissioner as defendants, was not defended by the respondents.

“The arrest of the applicant and the threat to further arrest in respect of rallies or processions is unlawful.

“The disruption of peaceful rallies and processions by agents of the first and second respondents is illegal and unconstitutional,” the judge held.

Justice Talba awarded N150,000 in damages and cost against the respondents.

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