A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja, on Wednesday held that the Nigeria Police Force lacks the powers to stop rallies for abducted female students of Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Justice Abubakar Talba, in his ruling, declared that the Public Order Act, Cap 382 Laws of Nigeria 1990, which the police purportedly relied on, “does not authorize policemen to disrupt rallies or procession on the abduction”.
The judgment was on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former House of Representatives member, Dino Melaye, challenging the disruption of the May 9 rally in Abuja.
The judge also declared unconstitutional, the assault on the ex-lawmaker turned activist by policemen on May 9.
The suit marked: CV/1521/14 and in which the Inspector General of Police and Commissioner of Police, FCT Command were listed, was not defended by the respondents.
Justice Talba held that since the respondents failed to file any counter process to the one filed by Melaye, it was an admission of the allegations made against them by the applicant.
He consequently ordered the IGP and FCT police commissioner to “tender a written apology to the applicant as provided for under Section 35(6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)”.
The judge also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from further “harassing, molesting, intimidating, abducting, arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant in respect of peaceful rallies or procession in Abuja or any part of Nigeria”.