Police Cannot Ban #EndSARS Protests – Falana

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, says the police lacks the power to ban public protests in Nigeria.

He made the remark in a statement obtained by Channels Television on Thursday.

The Lagos state police on Monday had warned that it will “suppress planned protests” in commemoration of last year’s #EndSARS protests.

According to the police, the planned protests may lead to a “breakdown of law and order.”

But Falana said the police’s stance is “illegal as they constitute a gross infringement of the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly guaranteed by sections 38 and 40 of the Nigerian Constitution as well as articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Act.”

READ ALSO: Falana Asks Malami To Enforce $62b Supreme Court Judgment

Falana stressed that since the police have been notified of the public rallies scheduled to hold on October 20, it is required to “make arrangements for the provision of adequate security for the participants at the venues of the rallies.”

The senior lawyer called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba Alkali, “to direct the Commissioners of Police in all the states of the Federation to ensure that adequate security is provided for all citizens who may wish to protest against the policies of the Government which are considered inimical to their interests.”

He added: “Since police permit has been outlawed and banned in Nigeria by the Federal High Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeal the Nigeria Police Force cannot be permitted to ban rallies without a repeal of the law on public meetings, rallies and processions in the country. In other words, the ban on public protests announced by the Police Authorities cannot obliterate the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians to assemble peacefully and express themselves.

“After all, it is public knowledge that General Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was) and other leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress who took part in public rallies against fuel hike in January 2012 and protests against insecurity in November 2014. To that extent, the Buhari administration ought to restrain the Police from banning peaceful rallies against police brutality on October 20, 2020 in any manner whatsoever and however.

“Finally, the Police and other security agencies should be reminded of the indisputable fact that neither the former British colonial police force nor the defunct neocolonial military junta succeeded in banning public protests in Nigeria.”

Falana Asks Malami To Enforce $62b Supreme Court Judgment

A photo combination of Mr Femi Falana and Mr Abubakar Malami.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to recover a $62 billion debt owed by six international oil companies.

In a letter dated October 8 and obtained by Channels Television on Sunday, Falana said the Supreme Court in 2018 had ordered the Federal Government to immediately recover the debt.

But, based on the posture of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, it appeared the Federal Government wasn’t committed to the recovery process, Falana said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s GDP To Grow By 2.4 Percent In 2021, Says World Bank

“We are Solicitors to Professor Omotoye Olorode and Jaye Gaskia of the People’s Alternative Political Movement (PAPM) on whose behalf we write this letter,” Falana’s letter said.

“Our clients have instructed us to remind you that the Federal Government has not enforced the above-mentioned Judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered on October 20, 2018.

“In the said Judgment the apex court had directed the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.

“Based on the aforesaid Judgment, you did request for the immediate payment of the sum of $62 billion owed by the six international oil companies with joint operating agreements with the NNPC namely Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, TotalElf Nigeria and Pan Ocean Oil Company.

“But to the utter dismay of our clients, Mr. Diepere Silva, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources publicly stated that ‘Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money, I mean we can’t get $62billion. We can maybe get something from them but not $62billion. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them but what is clear is that it is a lost opportunity really.’

“In view of the foregoing, we have the instructions of our client to request you to use your good offices to ensure that the said sum of $62 billion is recovered from the International Oil Companies and paid into the Federation Account without any further delay.”

Falana said his clients will be forced to approach the Federal High Court to seek a compelling order if the AGF fails or refuses to enforce the Supreme Court judgement.

People Must Be Mobilised To Take Charge Of Their Political Destiny – Falana

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has said that if Nigeria is to forge ahead in the right direction, then the citizens must be mobilised to take charge of their political destiny.

Falana who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said Nigeria has refused to get it right by adopting policies that maintain structures mounted by the British colonialists.

“For the majority of our people, 1960 provided an opportunity to start all over again but, unfortunately, the nationalist politicians who took over the reins of power from the British colonial regime did not decolonise the country and the psyche of our people.

“And all of them retained the colonial structures. The laws and ordinances were simply changed to an Act of Parliament. The institutions were left intact,” the senior advocate stated.

While asserting that Nigeria has done badly in the last 61 years, Mr Falana explained that the nation was ahead of many countries in Asia as of 1960, including, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and others.

Some of these countries, he said, have become first-world nations but Nigeria has remained in the third-world.

In his opinion, the divide and rule order which was used by the colonial masters and handed down has only worked to exploit Nigerians and under-develop the nation.

 

A Dumping Ground?

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

For Falana, the moment the political class embraced the development paradigm of colonialism and imperialism, the country lost its way.

“Colonialism was in practice for over a hundred years; so, what you would have expected in 1960 was a radical departure from the colonial route that has led to the underdevelopment of our country.

“Unfortunately, when military adventurers in politics took over in 1960, the situation became worse. The country that was trying to practice federalism was turned into a unitary one,” the lawyer asserted.

Falana blamed members of the ruling class which he said have in connivance with imperialism embarked on systematic underdevelopment of the country.

He stated that “abandoning the constitutional model, the constitutional duties of the government, and embracing neo-liberal policies that are subversive of the constitution” have led the nation to where it is at the moment.

According to the senior lawyer, the way forward is to ensure that “our people are mobilised to take the political destiny of our country, their own political destiny, in their own hands, and you’re not going to do that by turning Nigeria into a dumping ground for all manners of boots”.

The senior advocate further stated that to get it right, the people must start forming groups in the country, adding that people must be mobilised to produce food and manufacture goods.

It was his viewpoint that Nigerians must be encouraged to a point that it becomes glaring that the country is truly being run by the people.

Stop Referring To Terrorists As Bandits, Falana Cautions Media, Nigerians

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has urged the media and Nigerians to stop branding terrorists as mere bandits.

Mr Falana made the appeal in a statement on Sunday while reacting to the Federal Government’s seeming silence on the calls to declare bandits as terrorists.

He made reference to the Chibok situation, as well as IPOB among others who the government was “quick to proscribe” as terrorists and yet has continued to treat banditry ‘lightly’.

“It is public knowledge that the dangerous criminal elements who kidnapped the Chibok and Dapchi secondary school girls in the North East Zone in 2014 and 2017 respectively were not referred to as bandits.

“They were called terrorists by the Federal Government and the media. The description was correct as the abductions carried out by the criminal elements were acts of terrorism. But for reasons best known to the Federal Government the criminal elements who are currently involved in the brutal killing of innocent people and abduction of thousands of people including primary school pupils in the North West Zone are called bandits and not terrorists.

“Embarrassed by the reluctance of the Federal Government to deal decisively with the so-called bandits the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, in separate sittings, unanimously passed resolutions last weekend requesting President Buhari to declare the dangerous criminal elements as terrorists and proscribe them in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act as amended without any further delay.

“The federal lawmakers also asked President Buhari to declare all the known leaders of the bandits wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution. So far, the Federal Government has ignored the resolutions.

“However, as the Federal Government is not prepared to declare them as terrorists we call on the media and the Nigerian people to stop referring to terrorists as bandits,” the Senior Advocate said.


Related:

Declare Bandits As Terrorists, Senate Tells Buhari
These Are Not Just Bandits, They Have Aligned With Terrorists – Gov Bello


The Senate had during the plenary last Wednesday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists.

The federal lawmakers also asked the President to declare all the known leaders of the bandits wanted and track them wherever they are for arrest and prosecution.

The resolutions followed a motion moved by the Senator representing Sokoto East, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir, and eight others.

There’s however, yet to be any reaction from the presidency.

The calls have come at a time when parts of the country are rife with banditry, wanton killings, and kidnap for ransoms.

But amid that is also the provision of amnesty for repentant bandits which has sharply divided opinions.

Olawunmi Honours DIA’s Invitation, Storms Agency With Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and retired Naval Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi at the DIA Headquarters in Abuja on August 31, 2021.

 

A retired Naval Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, on Tuesday, honoured the invitation of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) by appearing at the headquarters of the security agency.

The retired naval officer, who is currently the head of the department of criminology and security studies at Chrisland University, visited the DIA’s facility in company with a popular human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana.

Falana confirmed this to Channels Television via the telephone, adding that he represented the retired military officer at the “friendly chat” this afternoon in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: The Govt Knows Sponsors Of Boko Haram, Says Former Naval Officer

“I confirm that Commodore Kunle Olawunmi had a friendly chat with the officers at the Defence Intelligence Agency this afternoon,” he said.

“I represented the retired military officer during the chat in strict compliance with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”

Olawunmi’s meeting with the DIA is coming about a week after he granted an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

NDA Attack: Falana Asks FG To Secure Release Of Abducted Officer, Arrest Suspects

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

The interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana, has asked the Federal Government to secure the release of the officer abducted during an attack on the Nigerian Defence Academy.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Falana asked President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to unmask the killers and bring the perpetrators to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that by choosing to invade the military institution, the criminal elements have proven that nowhere is safe in Nigeria.

“The Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) strongly condemns the last week’s invasion of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna, the brutal killing of two officers and the abduction of another officer by a group of terrorists,” he said in the statement.

READ ALSO: Bandits Attack NDA, Kill Two Officers, Abduct One

“By attacking the military institution, the dangerous criminal elements had wanted to prove that nowhere is safe in Nigeria.

“To prove the criminals wrong the Federal Government should ensure the immediate release of the abducted officer and proceed to arrest the criminal elements who committed the heinous crimes.”

He recalled that the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had in April revealed that the government had concluded arrangements to arraign 400 sponsors of terrorists as well as 800 suspected terrorists at the Federal High Court.

Four months down the line, Falana knocked the current administration for allegedly failing to prosecute the terrorists’ sponsors.

He added, “ASCAB is sad to note that the Federal Government has refused to prosecute the sponsors of terrorists who were recently arrested and interrogated by the State Security Service.

“In particular, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation announced in April this year that arrangements had been concluded for the arraignment of 400 sponsors of terrorists and 800 terror suspects at the Federal High Court.

“But for reasons best known to the Federal Government, the arrested sponsors of terrorism and terror suspects have not been charged with terrorism and allied offences before any Court. Other sponsors of terrorism including a few traditional rulers indicted by some state governments have not been brought to book for their alleged involvement in the nefarious enterprise.”

Falana’s comments come five days after gunmen stormed the NDA Permanent Headquarters in Kaduna State, killing two officers and abducting one other officer, a situation that drew criticism with the military authorities vowing to apprehend the attackers.

Kaduna Govt Attempting To Frustrate El-Zakzaky’s Release – Falana

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria has condemned the Kaduna State Government for filing fresh terrorism charges against the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenat.

El-Zakzaky and his wife were freed of all charges levelled against them by the Kaduna State Government on July 28, five years after being detained by the Department of Security Service (DSS).

In a ruling that lasted over eight hours, the presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada upheld the no-case submission filed by Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife in an alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace levelled against them by the Kaduna state government.

However, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration filed a fresh seven charges against the IMN leader at the Federal High Court 24 hours later.

Falana, who is the lead counsel to El-Zakzaky, described the development as a “desperate bid by the Kaduna State Government to frustrate the release of the defendants from further incarceration.”

 

READ ALSO:

Kaduna Govt Files Fresh Charges Against El-Zakzaky

Court Frees El-Zakzaky, Wife

 

“The new charge was maliciously filed when the Kaduna State Government anticipated that the ruling fixed for July 28 in respect of our no case submission would succeed,” Falana said via a statement issued on Sunday.

The senior lawyer also praised the trial judge for “displaying exceptional courage and judicial independence amid what he described as intimidation by the forces of oppression”.

See the full statement issued by Falana below:

NEW TERRORISM CHARGE WAS HURRIEDLY FILED BY KADUNA STATE GOVERNMENT TO FRUSTRATE THE RELEASE OF MALLAM IBRAHIM ELZAKZAKY AND MALLAMA ZEENAT ELZAKZAKY FROM PRISON CUSTODY

It has been reported in the media that the Kaduna State Government filed a new charge of terrorism and treasonable felony against Mallam Ibrahim Elzakzaky and his wife, Mallama Zeenat Elzakzaky after the dismissal of the 8-count charge of conspiracy and abetment of culpable homicide by the Kaduna State High Court. But contrary to such reports the new charge was hurriedly filed in the Federal High Court holden at Kaduna on Tuesday, 26th July in a desperate bid by the Kaduna State Government to frustrate the release of the defendants from further incarceration. In other words, the new charge was maliciously filed when the Kaduna State Government anticipated that the ruling fixed for July 28 in respect our no case submission would succeed.

As soon as the new charge was filed the Bailiff of the Federal High Court twas commanded to rush to the Kaduna Correctional Centre to serve same on the defendants. But the defendants refused to accept service of the charge and directed the Bailiff to serve it on them through their Counsel.

But for reasons best known to the Kaduna State Government the charge was not served on the defence counsel. However, on July 28 the trial judge, the Honourable Justice Gideon Kurada refused to be intimidated by the forces of oppression   as he displayed exceptional courage and judicial independence. His Lordship dismissed the 8-count charge on the ground that it was filed under a law enacted in 2017 by the Kaduna State Government for offences that were alleged to have been committed in 2015. Alternatively, the learned trial examined the oral testimony of the 15 witnesses called by the Prosecution, upheld the no case submission of the defence and discharged the defendants.

In apparent disregard of the epochal judgment of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kurada the Kaduna State Government seeks to subject the defendants to trial under the Terrorism Prevention Act enacted in 2011 for offences that were committed as far back as 2008. But since the Kaduna State Government is not sure that the defendants would be convicted for terrorism the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Bayero has announced that an appeal would be filed at the Court of Appeal against the Ruling of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kadura. No doubt, the new charge constitutes the worst abuse of the process of the Federal High Court. Once the case charge is served on the defence we shall not hesitate to file the necessary application for the immediate termination of the prosecutorial charade.

In view of the foregoing, we wish to state, without any fear of contradiction, that the filing of the new charge of terrorism and treasonable felony by the Kaduna State Government has no effect whatsoever on the valid and subsisting order of the Honourable Justice Gideon Kudura for the unconditional release of the defendants from prison custody. In the same vein, the filing of the proposed notice of appeal by the Kaduna State Government will not constitute a stay of action with respect to the order for the release of the defendants. Therefore, as law abiding citizens the defendants are free to continue to breathe the air of freedom. However, since the new charge has failed to achieve its oppressive objective of frustrating the release of the couple from further incarceration we call on the Kaduna State Government to discontinue it without any delay.

Femi Falana SAN

Leader of the Defence Team

Nigeria Must Follow Due Process To Extradite Igboho, Says Falana

 

Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana has asked the Nigerian Government to follow due process in extraditing the Yoruba leader, Sunday Igboho, stating that the rule of law will guide the process.

Mr Falana stated this on Thursday during Channels Television Politics Today programme.

His statement comes after the arrest and detention of the Yoruba leader in the Benin Republic while trying to flee to Germany.

He said the Federal Government must always follow the appropriate legal process in dealing with such cases, adding that there were attempts to put him in a waiting plane to return to Nigeria.

“In the case of Sunday Igboho, despite my disagreement with him, you cannot just throw him into a waiting plane as we were told was attempted.

“You have to go to court, you have to make a request under international law, under the ECOWAS Convention on extradition, the government of Nigeria is requested to submit an extradition request to the government of Benin Republic”.

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

 

He explained that the former Chief of Army Staff  General Yusuf Buratai (retired), who at that time had not submitted his letters of credence asked that Igboho be handed over to him, he (Buratai )was told that they operate under the rule of law and that’s why the matter is still in court.

READ ALSO: Sunday Igboho Arrested In Benin Republic

Falana noted that he is opposed to the campaign of the division of the country but the law guarantees the rights of self-determination.

He, therefore, asked the federal government to respect human rights and always follow the legal process in dealing with those calling for secession so that the nation will be respected among other countries.

Mr Igboho who was arrested on July 19 was declared wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he has since denied.

I Have Fundamental Disagreement With Those Calling For Nigeria’s Breakup – Falana

Human Rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, speaks during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has kicked against the breakup of Nigeria along ethnic lines.

Several groups including the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu and the Yoruba Nation agitators have campaigned for both Biafra and Oduduwa Republics.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, Falana said he has a fundamental disagreement with secessionist groups in the country.

“Personally, I am strenuously opposed to the campaign for the balkanisation of Nigeria because I believe the masses of our people are oppressed by the ruling class and imperialism.

“To that extent, I have a fundamental ideological disagreement with those who are calling for the breakup of the country along ethnic lines.”

Speaking further, the senior lawyer explained that amid the agitations in some quarters that the nation should split, the Federal Government owes it a duty to convince the agitators by reposing confidence on the corporate existence of Nigeria.

While noting that it is not a criminal offence for some persons to make separatists demands, Falana said the current administration should respect human rights in line with Article 20 of the African Charter on Human Rights.

He added, “If a group of people decides to fight for the breakup of the country, the duty of the government is to try as much as possible to convince them to repose confidence in the corporate existence of Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the two major separatists – Igboho and Kanu – have been arrested and are facing trial both in the Benin Republic and Nigeria respectively.

Police Should Apologise To Protesters Who Were Arrested On June 12

Withdraw Charges Against CJN, Falana Tells FG
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana has asked the Nigeria Police Force to apologise to protesters who were arrested during the June 12 nationwide protest on Saturday. 

Mr Falana who is the interim chair of the alliance on surviving COVID-19 and beyond accused the police of violating the fundamental right of expression of the protesters.

“The police should learn to respect the constitutional rights of protesters. It’s uncivilised for the police to be chasing and attacking unarmed protesters on the streets as if these citizens are criminals,” Falana noted in a communique on Sunday.

He however commended the protesters for conducting themselves in a mature and peaceful manner.

Mr Falana also condemned the explanation of the police that the tear gas shot was to prevent hoodlums and miscreants from hijacking the peaceful rallies adding that there are lessons to take from that incident which he describes as unfortunate.

The rights activist urged future protesters to inform the police ahead of their action as demanded by law.

Meanwhile the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba says no protester was arrested on June 12.

In an interview with Channels Television on Saturday, the police spokesman justified the use of tear gas on protesters who took to the streets to mark Democracy Day by voicing their grievances against the government of the day.

According to Mr Mba, the actions of officers were in line with international best practices of dispersing violent protests.

The police shot teargas at protesters in Lagos and Abuja however, the Channels Television correspondents who covered the protest in Abuja did not observe any sign of violence from the protesters before the police disrupted their parade.

‘An isolated case’

According to Mr. Mba, the use of teargas was an isolated case in Abuja where protesters turned violent.

“We had an isolated case in Abuja where some of the protesters became unruly and in line with international best practices, police fired teargas at them,” he said. “And that is an acceptable mode of engaging violent protesters anywhere in the world, whether it is in Abuja, Lagos, Paris, London, or New York or California. That is internationally accepted.

“We would have problems if we had fired live bullets at them, but when you fire teargas at protesters to disperse them, you are not in breach of any known code, either nationally or internationally.

“I also want to use this opportunity to state clearly that no citizen, either in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, or anywhere, is currently in detention as a result of this isolated incident.

“As long as protesters conduct themselves within the confines of the law; they do not constitute themselves into a nuisance, they do not breach the rights of other citizens, they do not obstruct traffic, they do not compel other citizens to join their protests, the police will largely work with them.

“When you protest in contravention of this set of conditions I have given, clearly you are coming in direct conflict with the laws of the land, and the police will never stand by idly and watch you create problems for the entire polity.”

Targeted at IMN

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Saturday, the police in Abuja said it had dispersed protesters in an attempt to foil attempts by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to “incite a public disturbance.”

“The FCT Police Command on Saturday, 12th June 2021 successfully restored calm at Apo-Gudu axis after professionally dispersing a protest by some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN)-Shiites and others targeted at inciting public disturbance and breaching public peace,” the statement, signed by spokesperson Yusuf Mariam, said.

“Consequently, the action of the Command was necessitated by the concerns of some agitated residents. However, no arrest was made.

“In view of the above, the Command wishes to state that it is committed to ensuring that FCT residents enjoy a hitch-free Democracy Day Celebration and will not hesitate to bring to book every person or entity that attempts to breach the peace or cause a breakdown of law and order in the Federal Capital Territory.

“The Command implores residents to remain calm and law-abiding while reaffirming its unwavering commitment to the protection of lives and property within the FCT.”

Falana, Falz Join CSOs To Protest Insecurity, Unemployment

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana speaks during a protest at the Lagos State Government House, Ikeja on May 31, 2021.

 

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and his son, Falz on Monday joined civil society organisations, labour unions and youth bodies to protest against insecurity, unemployment, mass poverty and bad governance.

Bearing placards with different inscriptions, the groups took the peaceful protest which had the theme “National Day Of Action Against Insecurity in Nigeria” to the Lagos State Government House in Alausa, Ikeja.

They were received by members of the State House of Assembly.

Falana told the lawmakers that there was a need to provide for the poor so that peace could be guaranteed in the country.

He called on states that had not adopted the Child Rights Act to urgently do so and take all the children off the streets so that they could get an education.

READ ALSO: IPOB Cannot Give Sit-At-Home Order In Rivers – Wike

“South-West has 54 universities, graduates are being churned out daily and nobody is planning for their future,” he said.

“We are asking you because Lagos is where everybody comes to. This is the home of every Nigerian and we are asking you to intensify your efforts and increase the budget of the poor so that there will be peace.

“It is now clear in our country that without peace for the poor, there cannot be peace for the rich. For those who want to fight banditry and terrorism, we must put all our children in school.”

The protesters, which included trade unions, civil society, students, farmers and peasants, were led by Jaye Gaskiya, a foremost activist.

Gaskiya said the protest was organised to express displeasure over how badly the country had degenerated.

He expressed worry that Nigeria, characterised by extreme poverty, arms proliferation, religious intolerance, the rise of hate and ethnic nationalism is moving towards social upheavals due to exploitation of the people, greed and avarice of a spineless political class that has reached its end.

El-Rufai Lacks Power To Declare NLC Chairman Wanted – Falana

A file photo of Femi Falana SAN

 

Human Rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has slammed Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for declaring President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba and other union leaders wanted.

The NLC had on Monday embarked on a protest and strike to press home their demand bordering on the mass sack of workers in the state. The strike has paralysed critical sectors of the economy in the state.

Kaduna State government in response declared Wabba and other NLC leaders wanted for economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure in Kaduna State under the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

Reacting to El-Rufai’s declaration, Falana described as ‘laughable’ the claim that the labour leaders contravened the provisions of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Governors’ Forum Calls For Calm As Labour, Kaduna Govt Disagree

“The statement is laughable as it is common knowledge that Comrade Wabba and his colleagues are on the streets of Kaduna leading the peaceful protests embarked upon by the entire workers in the State since yesterday. The order of the Governor cannot be enforced for the following reasons:

“1. By the combined effect of the Trade Union Act and the Nigerian Constitution, Comrade Wabba and other labour leaders have the unquestionable rights to participate in the peaceful warning strike and mass protests against further retrenchment of workers in the Kaduna State public service.

“2. The Miscellaneous Offences Act is not a state statute but a federal enactment. To that extent, if Governor El Rufai has evidence that Comrade Wabba and other labour leaders have contravened any provisions of the Act he is required to lodge a complaint in any of the police stations in Kaduna State. The Governor lacks the power to declare any alleged offender wanted under the Act or any other law whatsoever.

“3. Furthermore, since Comrade Wabba and other labour leaders are entitled to the fundamental right of fair hearing including the presumption of innocence guaranteed by section 36 of the Constitution the Governor of Kaduna lacks the power to declare them wanted.”

Falana, therefore, called on the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ignore the “illegal statement” by Governor El Rufai.