Few days to the mass protest being organized by Nigeria’s pop act Tuface Idibia,the Inspector General of Police through his spokesman CSP Jimoh Moshood has appealed to the “My African Queen” crooner to shelve the protest .
Here is a press release from the Force Headquarters in Abuja
The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to publications in the media on the planned protests slated for 5th and 6th February, 2017 in Lagos and other States by different groups, one to be led by the popular musician INNOCENT IDIBIA aka TUFACEand other opposing groups.
Nigeria Police Force is deeply concerned with the security implications with regard to the planned protest/demonstrations, and as the lead security Agency in the country, is fully aware and recognizes the constitutional rights of every citizen (including Tuface and his group) to assemble and move freely in any part of the country.
In this regard, the Force is also cognizant of its constitutional responsibilities of taking any proactive/ preventive security measures:-
i. In the interest of public safety, public order, public morality or public health.
ii. For the purposes of protecting lives and property, as well as the constitutional rights and freedom of other citizens.
The Nigeria Police Force is currently in possession of credible intelligence reports that other interest groups are equally planning to hold a counter protest/matches on the same days at the same places/cities as the Tuface Group. If these various planned protests/ demonstrations are held as scheduled, that there may be breakdown of law and order, with attendant loss of lives and property.
To this end, the Nigeria Police Force deems it imperative to issue this press release:-
i. That Innocent Idibia (a.k.a Tuface) and his group are hereby advised strongly to shelve their planned peaceful protest/demonstration in the interest of peace and security.
ii. That the other opposing groups are equally advised strongly to shelve its planned counter protest/demonstration in the interest of peace and security.
iii. That the Nigeria Police Force is prepared to employ every possible legal means for the maintenance of law and order; and for the protection of lives and property.
Consequently, members of the public, parents and guardians, religious/opinion leaders and other interest groups are strongly advised to prevail on their children and wards, followers and adherents not to allow themselves to be used by any group to cause disturbance of public peace and break down of law and order.
Meanwhile ,human right lawyer Ebun Adegboruwa has reacted to the Police order.
“I have read in several news reports, of the statement credited to the Nigeria Police Force, advising that the mass rally against suffering and hunger in Nigeria, slated for Monday February 6, 2017, should be cancelled, purportedly in the interest of peace and security.
First, citizens do not require police advice to exercise their fundamental rights guaranteed to under the Constitution. However, it is gratifying that the police is gradually shifting from its previous position of feudal lords, by which it had threatened innocents citizens with brute force.
Second, the police has no power in law to countermand or indeed override the lawful directives of the Acting President, which has affirmed our constitutional right to assemble together freely, unhindered and unmolested, for a peaceful protest. Under section 5 of the Constitution, all executive powers of the Federation, are vested in the President, and in this present case, the Acting President, who is authorized to give lawful directives, as he has now done, to sanction peaceful and lawful protests.
Third, the Nigeria Police Force, is established under section 215(1) of the Constitution, as part and parcel of the Executive, headed by the President, in this case, the Acting President. By section 215(3), the President or Acting President shall give and issue lawful directives to the Police. By section 215(5), the directive of the President or Acting President, to the Police, cannot be questioned or disobeyed. This is so because under section 218(1), the President or Acting President, as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, has the overriding power, to determine the operational use of the Armed Forces of the Federation.
So, it is very disturbing, very alarming and indeed anarchronistic, for an institution, such as the Police, that was set up to be under the Executive, headed by the President or the Acting President, to be defying the lawful directives of the Acting President, openly and with such brazen impunity. And if there is any conflict between the lawful directives of the Acting President, which has sanctioned our Rally, and that of the unlawful and unconstitutional directives of the Police, advising us to shelve the Rally, we will readily and gladly comply with that of the Acting President and proceed with our Rally on Monday, as scheduled.
Fourth, by section 14 of the Constitution, sovereignty belongs to the PEOPLE of Nigeria, not the police. So, we hereby urge the Police to join us and offer protection and covering for us, in compliance with the lawful directives of the Acting President, to help ensure a peaceful rally.
So, come want may, the people of Nigeria shall hold this and many more rallies, in the days ahead, until Nigeria is totally rid of bad governance, of blackout all over the land, of unemployment, of galloping inflation, of non payment of salaries of workers and pensioners, of genocide and killing of innocent citizens, of the hypocrisy of change, of ineptitude and utter cluelessness, and of absentee leadership.
I urge all members of the press, to join us on Monday, with their massive presence, to expose the double standards of the APC ruling government, which climbed into power through the ladder of protest, and is now seeking to remove that same ladder from the people that helped it to climb to power.”