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Nigeria Police "unbans" the ban on #BringBackOurGirls rallies in Abuja
| June 04, 2014
One day after the Commissioner of Police for the Federal Capital Territory, Joseph Mbu, announced a ban on Bring Back Our Girls protests in Abuja, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, denied that the Police had issued an order banning protest rallies in the city. Yesterday, the Commissioner of Police said, The trend is now posing a serious security threat to those living around, and as the FCT police boss, I cannot fold my hands and watch this lawlessness. Information reaching us is that too soon, dangerous elements will join the groups under the guise of protest and detonate explosives aimed at embarrassing the government. Accordingly, protests on the Chibok Girls are hereby banned with immediate effectâ The Commissioner of Police's announcement was meet with strong condemnation and today the Inspector-General of Police said the Nigeria Police Force had not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests. Addressing reporters on behalf of the IG, a police spokesman, Frank Mba, said the IGP reassures Nigerians of the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to the protection of lives and property and the advancement of democracy. He also said, "The Police high command wishes to inform the general public that the force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests anywhere in Nigeria. "Coupled with a recent intelligence report of a likely infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminal elements having links with insurgents, the police only issued advisory notice, enjoining citizens to apply caution in the said rallies, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs. âReminding citizens of the earlier position of the Force on peaceful rallies, which the police high command regards as the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerians, the Inspector-General of Police stresses the need for the organizers of such rallies to ensure that they seek proper advice and guidance from the Police before engaging in any such exercise so as to avoid any unpleasant circumstances. âThe IGP calls on the general public to see the present position of the Force as a necessary sacrifice for the peace our nation needs, as security is a collective responsibility. âConsequently, citizens are strongly advised to reconsider their positions on the issues of rallies and protests in FCT until the existing threats are appropriately neutralized and removed from our midst by relevant security agenciesâ. Before the announcement by the IGP, members of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) Abuja Family had filed a suit at the Federal High Court in the FCT asking for N200m in damages for the violation of their fundamental rights to freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association as guaranteed by sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution. In a statement, the BBOG Coordinators said, âWe are members of the #BringBackOurGirls Abuja Family, a citizenâs movement advocating the speedy rescue of the over 200 girls abducted from Chibok Secondary School, Borno state. Ours has been a single-issue campaign for the safe return of the abducted girls. In the last 34 days we have done so through peaceful daily sit-outs, and some marches to key governmental actors urging them to act swiftly to rescue the girls from the terrorists. âWe received with shock the statement credited to the FCT Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu that ââ¦all protests about the Chibok Girls is hereby banned with immediate effect.â âWe wish to remind the Commissioner of Police Mbu that he cannot take any action that violates our constitutionally guaranteed rights as citizens, particularly our rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, amongst others as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria âWe are puzzled about the inconsistencies in the communication emanating from the Nigerian Police. We recall that on 12th May, 2014, the Nigeria Police Force on its website published a news item with the title: âPolice Not Against Peaceful Assembliesâ in which the Inspector-General of Police, M.D. Abubakar restated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to the protection and enforcement of the fundamental rights of citizens. âOver the last 34 days, we have been widely acknowledged, including by the Police and the Federal Government delegation, which represented President Jonathan at one of our meetings for the peaceful, disciplined, and decorous manner we have always conducted the activities of our movement. âIn consonance with our approach, we shall be in court with our lawyers, Femi Falana SAN to file a suit challenging this purported ban by C.P. Mbu. We hope to obtain an immediate restraint on this unconstitutional, undemocratic and repressive act. Our movement is legitimate and lawful and cannot be arrested by the police whose responsibility is to enforce, not betray the law. âWe, the members of the #BringBackOurGirls Abuja Family, remain resolute and will persist in using all lawful means to sustain our peaceful advocacy for the safe rescue of the Chibok Girls. âWe, therefore, encourage all those in Nigeria and other Nations that have similarly taken a stand for the cause of the girls to continue to do so with the clarion call: BRING BACK OUR GIRLS, NOW AND ALIVE!!!â

(1) Comment


"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
OMOTAYO, J. A.    Accra, GHANA    June 04, 2014
Humm! The CP may be right in his judgement but wrong in the delivery of same. If his intention was to prevent any further loss of lives and properties, he was right. If his intention was to make the group keep their mouths shut, he then he was wrong.

Bombs have exploded in mere motor parks and bus stops in Abuja. Who is sure that such cannot occur where the group could innocently pass through? Better for both the Police and the group to work together rather than oppose themselves.
But can the protests bring back the girls? I think otherwise. It is only to create an alarm.

Boko Haram cannot be calmed down by the protests to release the girls. Government on the other hand is helpless. So many solutions including "State of Emergency" laws have been put in place. The military have maimed and killed in return. Yet Boko Haram is still waxing stronger. Is it not time we started to think of better ways of dealing with the issue?

God save Nigeria.
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