The Federal Capital Territory Security Committee says it has banned #EndSARS protests in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, due to alleged COVID-19 protocol violations.
The ban was disclosed in a statement on Wednesday titled,’COVID-19: FCT Security Committee prohibits street demonstrations,’ signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT minister, Mr Anthony Ogunleye.
The FCT Administration claimed it was concerned that despite the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, last Sunday, the demonstrations had continued, causing inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.
The statement read, “While the committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.
“These violations endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the COVID-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings recommend physical distancing, temperature checks, the use of facial coverings, amongst others.
“Clearly, all these guidelines were flouted by the protesters. Consequently, the committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT.”
However, the FCTA failed to cite legal authority that empowered it to ban peaceful protests in a democracy.