EKITI State Governor and Chairman, Governors’ Forum of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the Federal Government and the Nigeria Police on alleged move to stop a planned mass protest advocating for good governance and condemning failure of responsible leadership by successive government which is set to be led by world Nigeria’s ace musician, Mr Innocent Idibia, popularly known as TuFace.
Reacting to Owoseni’s position, Governor Fayose reminded the commissioner that “the duty of the police to secure Nigerians is mandatory, not optional. Therefore, if there is any intelligence report suggesting the possibility of criminals hijacking the process, it is the duty of the police to provide security cover for the protesters.”
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose noted that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government must be made to understand that leadership is about accountability and to be accountable, leaders must listen to public opinion either by civil or peaceful protest.”
Fayose continuing, said: “Court of Appeal affirmed in its judgment in Inspector General of Police Vs All Nigerians Peoples Party that protest or gathering do not require police permit or interference as obtainable in an advanced democracy.
“Most importantly, the protest is said to be for and about good governance. So who is afraid of the protest? Who does the police represent or is representing in this issue?”
Justifying the protest, the governor said: “Nigerians are hungry and angry, our currency is now above N500 to $1. If Nigerians want to show their anger, no one should prevent them. Nepotism, extra judicial killings, disobedience to court order and human rights abuses must stop.
“The conscience is an open wound and the guilty is afraid. If the APC-led Federal Government is now acting as if the protest is against it, it means the federal government has accepted to be guilty as charged. Like I said before, I support the protest.
Also, lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa called the bluff of the Police Commissioner, asking him to get a copy of the Nigerian constitution to guide his actions instead of threatening to cut short the wishes of the masses.
This is also as Niger Delta ex militants have pledged support to the protest, saying it is the best way to go. The ex militants vowed to heed the 2Face call for peaceful protest if it would call the attention of the government to the plight of Nigerians.
Adegboruwa said: “I have read reports credited to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police declaring that the rally slated for Lagos on Monday February 6, 2017, will not hold. I consider this to be an attempt to intimidate those who wish to partake in the rally, otherwise it cannot be a message for us veterans and indeed the deprived, oppressed and hungry people of Nigeria.
“For the information of the Police Commissioner, Nigeria is a democratic country governed strictly in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Section 39 of the Constitution grants freedom of expression, including the right to be heard and to disseminate information and ideas. Section 40 grants the right to associate and gather together. Section 38 grants the right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly. I believe that Mr Fatai Owoseni has a copy of the Constitution, to guide his actions and utterances on this matter, instead of threatening 2Baba and law abiding citizens, who are responsible for his salary.”
He reminded Owoseni that the issue of police permit for citizens to gather freely expired with the coming into force of the 1999 Constitution and that hinging on it to deny people right to gather was like going back to the military era of shutting up citizens from legitimate expressions.
“I therefore, urge the good people of Nigeria, especially those who reside in Lagos, to join us en mass at Ikeja, for the rally on February 6, 2017. We cannot be intimidated in our own country, by the same people who are paid to protect us.
“This is not a rally by miscreants or thugs as to warrant the fears being expressed by the police commissioner. The statutory duty of the police is to offer us protection on Monday and help to maintain orderliness, throughout the period of the rally.
So come rain or shine, we shall hold the rally on Monday, as scheduled, because it is illegal for the police to seek to ban a lawful assembly,” Adegboruwa added