Court declares ban on #BringBackOurGirls' rallies illegal

By The Citizen

An Abuja High Court yesterday declared the ban imposed on the peaceful rallies of the #BringBackOurGirls ‎group by the former Commissioner if Police, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Joseph Mbu as 'unconstitutional and illegal.

In a judgment delivered yesterday, Justice Sunday Aladetoyinbo held that the right to freedom of association and assembly was a constitutionally defined and guaranteed right which nobody had any authority to breach.

The trial Judge, Justice Aladetoyiinbo held that Mbu, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 7 was in breach of the constitution when he banned the group from their peaceful rallies.

The court held that the freedom of association and assembly is the bone of any democratic governance and such rights are constitutionally protected.

He declared that the police has no right to ban Nigerians from peaceful protest.

The Judge commended the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar for over-turning the ban and stating the correct position of the law.‎

However, the court cautioned the #BringBackOurGirls ‎group to be security conscious in staging peaceful gathering and dismissed the application by the group seeking N200 million as damages as a result of the ban.

The #BringBackOurGirls group had on June 2, 2014 dragged Mbu to court for allegedly banning protests, rallies and demonstrations over the abducted Chibok Secondary School girls.

The then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar however, overturned the ban the following day, saying, 'The force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests anywhere in Nigeria.'

Counsel to the #BringBackOurGirls group, Femi Falana (SAN), had argued that Mbu's ban on peaceful protests constituted an infringement of the rights of his client.

Defendant's counsel, Simon Lough, countered the argument, saying the court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Reacting to the judgment, Mbu's counsel, Lough told reporters that there was 'no victor, no vanquish' and that the defendant will look at the judgment and may appeal the court's decision on jurisdiction. - Guardian.