Falana & Falana Chambers, the firm of human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has written to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, seeking police protection for #EndSARS protesters holding the anniversary protest on October 20.
A copy of the letter, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Saturday, was signed by Marshal Abubakar on behalf of the firm.
The letter to the IGP stated that the law firm sought protection for the protesters considering attempts by unscrupulous elements to hijack similar events in the past.
The letter cited Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act, 2020 to support the call for police protection. It reads:
“We are a law firm committed to the enthronement of justice, constitutionalism and rule of law in Africa.
“We are counsel to a number of compatriots who have resolved to hold an event in commemoration of the 1st Anniversary of the #ENDSARS# Protests at the Unity Fountain, Maitama, Abuja on October 20, 2021, at 10am.
“Mindful of attempts to hijack similar events in the past, we hereby notify the Police and request for adequate police protection at the venue of the event in accordance with Section 83 (4) of the Police Establishment Act, 2020 which provides thus:
“Where a person or organisation notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilise personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.
”As Adekeye JCA professed in the celebrated case of IGP V ANPP & 11 ORS (2008) 12 W.R.N 65-112 Democracy admits of dissent, protest, marches, rallies and demonstrations. True democracy ensures that these are done responsibly and peacefully without violence, destruction or even unduly disturbing any citizen and with the guidance and control of law enforcement agencies. Peaceful rallies are replacing strikes and violent demonstrations of the past.
“The Police Order Act relating to the issuance of police permit cannot be used as a camouflage to stifle the citizens’ fundamental rights in the course of maintaining law and order. The right to right to demonstrate and the right to protest on matters of public concern are rights which are in the public interest and that which individuals must possess, and which they should exercise without impediment as long as no wrongful act is done.
“Whilst anticipating your prompt favourable cooperation, please accept the kind regards of our professional esteem.”
The October 20 EndSARS anniversary protest across the country is being planned, among other things, to demand for justice and compensation for the police brutality victims who have yet to hear anything from the government.
Already some of the police commands in flagrant disregard of human rights had threatened to stop any protest on October 20, while warning that it would arrest anyone who indulges in violence.