Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has condemned the pulling out of troops to intimidate Nigerians who took part in the #RevolutionNow protest on Monday, saying the action of the police was unnecessary.
Mr. Falana said this in an interview with TVC, noting that the ideal course of action would have been for the Department of State Services (DSS) and the police to obtain court order and prevent the protest from holding if they had evidence that public peace would be disrupted.
The senior advocate of Nigeria cited an example of Ghana’s independence anniversary in 2007 and how the inspector general of police obtained an injunction to prevent the disruption of the celebration rather than stopping the protest.
He said, “Nigerians have the right to protest peacefully, whether you call it a revolution or whatever. The entire razzmatazz of police action is totally unnecessary,” Falana said.
“Since the state had the information for over two weeks that these guys were planning a protest, the police and the state security services have the right to go to court and ask for an order that this protest can not take place.
“To violate the provisions of chapter 4 of the Nigerian constitution on fundamental rights, it must be in accordance with the procedures of the law. In other words, if you’re going to detain Sowore, there has to be a court order.”
“That is how it should be done in Nigeria. We expected the police to find out. Was there a genuine move to have a revolutionary overthrow of the Nigerian state? Frankly speaking, I haven’t seen any,” he said.
“If the Nigerian state has information, you make it available to the court and obtain a court order. But this business of ‘Treason is being committed’ and moving out troops to intimidate people is totally uncalled for.”
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) had on Saturday arrested Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections, and convener of the #RevolutionNow protest.
Despite police and state intimidation, organizers of the protest had vowed that it will go ahead as planned not withstanding the arrest of Sowore.
And as early as 8am on Monday, Nigerians took to the streets to join the protest which held in different parts of the country. However, they were ruthlessly dispersed by officers of the Nigeria police and DSS.