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Human rights expert opposes Abuja protests ban

03 June 2014, 08:38

Lagos – Prominent human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has condemned the purported order issued by the Commissioner of Police in Abuja, Joseph Mbu, banning all protests in respect of the over 200 school girls abducted by the Boko Haram.

Keyamo said the ban on the protests was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

He pointed out that the ban was against the "spirit and letter" of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The statutes guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.
"It is shocking that the Federal Government, hiding under the facade of the Police, has finally openly displayed its disdain for the public outcry over the kidnap of those innocent souls. The Federal Government would really have wished that we all went about our normal businesses and live in denial like it did for many weeks," Keyamo said.
"The Government has shown that it is more concerned about its image and self-preservation than the safety of those girls. This is the height of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the plight of the Chibok girls and their family members," he added.

"At a time when Government has not shown a capacity to protect lives and properties, it is even denying the citizens the basic right to cry out about Government’s inaction. It is like beating a child mercilessly and choking the child at the same time to prevent the child from crying out. It is inhuman, it is degrading and it is humiliating."
Keyam warned that the order should be rescinded immediately lest the Federal Government should be prepared to arrest and lock up all Nigerians.

He noted that even the military did not succeed in muzzling Nigerians like the Federal Government wants to do by the "feeble" order.

- CAJ News

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