The Revolutionary Lawyers Forum has said it was fully prepared to combat any illegal attempt by the Nigerian Government to suppress citizens’ rights during the October 1 protest scheduled to hold across the country.
Tope Akinyode, National President of the group, in a statement on Thursday asked Nigerians to exercise their fundamental rights of peaceful protest without any fear or hindrance.
He said, “Nigerians have the constitutional right to criticise the government and the repression of free speech, lawful protests and press freedom as we have keenly observed in this government, have no place under Nigeria’s constitutional democracy.
“For the avoidance of doubt, election is not the only means through which citizens can partake in governance, protest is also very valid way of partaking in governance
Protest is a civic right.
“In the case of I.G.P. v. A.N.P.P. (2007) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1066) 457 at 498 – 500, paras. B – B: 501, paras. G – H (CA), the Court warned the Nigerian President to realise that democracy admits of dissent, protest, marches, rallies and demonstrations.
“In present day Nigeria, clearly police permit has outlived its usefulness certainly in a democracy, it is the right of citizens to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations without seeking and obtaining permission from anybody. It is a right guranted by the 1999 constitution and any law that attempts to curtail such right is null and void and of no consequence.
“We wish to emphatically state that we are very much prepared to combat any illegal attempt to suppress citizens’ rights at the October 1 protest. We shall not hesitate to bring the full wight of the law against anybody that attempt to unsettle protesters.”