Human rights lawyer Femi Falana says the police have no constitutional authority to permit or ban public assemblies, rallies, or protests as the authority is vested in governors.
“State governors are in charge of rallies and not the police,” Mr Falana said Tuesday at an #EndSARS memorial organised by the African Center for Media and Information Literacy.
He said the question of the right to ban protests was settled by the courts in the case between the All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) vs. Inspector General of Police.
Mr Falana said the police had appealed the ruling and in 2007 the appeal court upheld the rights lawyer’s argument and ordered a permanent injunction restraining the police from preventing citizens from convening peaceful rallies across the country.
Mr Falana cited section 1 of the Police Public Order Act, and also section 40 of the 1999 constitution that gives Nigerians the right to assembly freely and associate with others.
He also cited articles 10 and 11 of the African charter on human and peoples rights to peaceful assembly and association, stating that no one can prohibit protesters from exercising their right to demonstrate.