The Nigeria Police has No power under the law to ban peaceful protest in Rivers State,the Trade Union Congress TUC has said.According to the union,” Sections 39 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives citizens of Nigeria including Rivers People the constitutional right to a freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. This is a guaranteed right and hence people may assemble and protest peacefully without approval from the Nigeria Police Force. This position has been upheld by the Court of Appeal in Inspector General of Police vs. All Nigeria People Party & Others when it ruled that the Public Order Act Laws Of The Federation is not consistent with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The union recalled that “In that judgement the Court of Appeal ruled that:that the requirement of police permit or other authority for the holding of rallies or procession in Nigeria is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
It also ensured ,said TUC “That the provisions of the Public Order Act, Cap. 382, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 which require police permit or any other authority for the holding of rallies or processions in any part of Nigeria is illegal and unconstitutional as they contravene section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. 1990; and
That “the Inspector General of Police and indeed the Nigeria Police Force are NOT competent under the Public Order Act (Cap. 382) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 or under any law whatsoever to issue or grant permit for the holding of rallies or processions in any part of Nigeria.
TUC insists, that “Moreover the right to peaceful assembly and protest is an inalienable right which has been acknowledged all over the world. It is therefore very worrisome that the Commissioner of Police Mr Mbu Joseph Mbu will choose to act ultra vires his powers. We therefore demand that the Commissioner of Police Mr.Joseph Mbu Joseph withdraws the illegal announcement and apologise to Rivers people for attempting to deny them their inalienable rights to peaceful protest and assembly in total disrespect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .