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Restriction of movement during election illegal, says Adegboruwa

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Human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa


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Restriction human and vehicular movements during elections by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is illegal, human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said.He stated that forcing people to stay indoors was contrary to the express provisions of the Nigerian constitution and other laws that guarantee freedom of movement to all citizens.

According to him, it is beyond the IGP’s powers to forcibly keep people at home because of elections, since there was no law in force in Nigeria presently authorising such restriction of movement. “The Federal High Court of Nigeria, had occasion to pronounce on a similar illegal directive in the case of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa v Inspector General of Police & five others, in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1690/2014,” he said in a statement.

He stressed that in striking down the ‘odious practice,’ Justice Mohammed Idris held that the restriction imposed on the applicant and other residents of Lagos State during the environmental sanitation day without a law prescribing such restrictions was unjustifiable and a gross infringement on the right to personal liberty and movement of the applicant.

“The IGP did not appeal against the judgment and yet he proceeded to hold people down at home on February 16, 2019, contrary to the express order of injunction granted by the court in this case against any repeated illegal practice of keeping citizens indoors.”“We will, therefore, not condone or agree with any attempt to restrict people’s movement illegally on February 23, 2019 or indeed any other day, by reason of elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins, has expressed reservations over the postponement of Presidential and National Assembly elections a few hours to their commencement.Martins in a statement issued in Lagos, said the sudden cancellation of the polls, apart from the negative consequences on the socio-political and economic lives of the citizens, further cast aspersions on INEC’s image.He wondered why Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, arrived at the sudden decision to suspend the elections when he had assured Nigerians of its preparedness to conduct free, fair and hitch-free elections, irrespective of pressures from any quarters.


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