A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Gudu, Abuja, has ruled that the police lacks the powers to prevent rallies to protest government’s handling of the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls of the Government Girls’ Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.
Justice Abubakar Talba yesterday declared 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.
He had gone to court to challenge the disruption of protest held in Abuja on May 9.
The Judge described as unconstitutional the arrest of and assault on Melaye and other campaigners by policemen during the said date.
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 also awarded N150,000 in damages and cost against the respondents.