Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has said that Nigerians have the right to protest against the President Muhammadu Buhari adminstration over the increasing rate of insecurity in the country.
The Presidency had in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, accused some opposition politicians of inciting Nigerians to hold protests against the service chiefs.
Falana said: “The operatives of the Nigeria Police Force must not harass Nigerians who seek to protest in the country.
“A group of citizens were allowed sometime last week to demonstrate in Abuja in support of the prosecution of the counter-insurgency operations by the service chiefs.
“The group told the Federal Government to expel Amnesty International from Nigeria for criticising the service chiefs.
“Now without any evidence whatsoever the Presidency has alleged that those who are calling for the replacement of the service chiefs are working for the Boko Haram sect
“But, since Nigerians have the fundamental right to demonstrate for or against the Federal Government without official fiat the Presidency has no power to stop any peaceful protest in the country.
“The court had earlier affirmed Nigerians have the right to assemble and protest peacefully in the case of All Nigerian People’s Party V. Inspector-General of Police (2008).
“It was in the exercise of the right of freedom of expression that APC leaders including General Muhammadu Buhari, Chief John Oyegun, and Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had participated in the protest held at Abuja on November 20, 2014 against insecurity under the erstwhile Jonathan administration.”