Lawyer sues FG, Police over citizen’s right to protest
A Lagos based lawyer and rights-activist, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, has filed a suit before a Federal High Court, Lagos challenging the violation of his fundamental rights and that of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to protest.
Omirhobo filed the suit on behalf of himself, NBAIkeja branch and the general public, following the failed protest by the NBA Ikeja, against the reviewed land use charge by the state government.
Mentioned as respondents in the matter are the president of the Federal Republic, the attorney general of the Federation, Jnspector General of Folice and Lagos state commissioner of police.
Omirhobo said on March 12, 2018, the Lagos state government reviewed her land use charge by 200 percent in the face of economic hardship and biting effects of the recession of the Nigerian economy.
He said: “the review led a large section of the nigerian populace particularly lagosians, the organized private sector, residents, landlords, opposition political parties, business and professional associations to oppose it. at the vanguard of the opposition to the new rate is the nba ikeja branch and civil society groups.
“The NBA Ikeja branch scheduled to stage a peaceful protest against the Lagos state government’s reviewed land use charge on march 29, 2018, but unfortunately and regrettably on march 28, 2018, over 50 heavily armed servants, agents and/or privies of the 3rd and 4th respondents laid siege at the Nigerian Bar Association ikeja branch secretariat situate within the Lagos state High Court Ikeja premises in a bid to arrest officials of the body so as to frustrate and stop the protest”.
The applicant also said the 4th respondent issued a press statement to the public categorically warning the public that the police will not tolerate any group or persons to protest in Lagos state and environs because the president would be on a two days official visit to the state, alleging that the NBA Ikeja is being used by some disgruntled politicians.
He therefore urged the court to declare as undemocratic, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for the 3rd and 4th respondents their servants, agents and/or privies to frustrate and/or prevent members of the nba and by extension the generality of the nigerian public from carrying on their planned peaceful protest.
He maintained that the act of 3rd and 4th respondents, their servants, agents and/or privies is a flagrant violation and a breach of the fundamental rights.
Omirhobo also prayed the court for a declaration that in the face of the combined provisions of section 39, 40 and 41 of the 1999 constitution of nigeria (as amended), intending protesters needs only to notify the police and not to obtain the permission and/or approval of the 3rd and 4th respondents to embark on protest or demonstration.