A human rights activist, Femi Falana, has warned the Nigeria Police Force against clamping down on members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and individuals protesting against the hardship in the country.

This is just as he called on the police authorities to give the protesters adequate protection.

The NLC had on February 16 declared a nationwide protest for February 27 and 28 in reaction to the economic hardship confronting the nation, following the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum given to the federal government to address the issue.

It was reported that the Lagos State Police Command vowed to clamp down on protesters who try to impede the free flow of traffic while protesting.

Already, the police have been arresting protesters expressing their displeasure over the high cost of living in the country.

On February 7, 25 persons were arrested in Niger State for protesting against the hardship in the country. ( https://punchng.com/niger-police-arrest-25-for-protesting-high-cost-of-living/)
There were also reports of the arrest of five Delta State residents who protested against the hardship in the country on February 23.

However, in a statement on Monday, Falana noted that according to Section 83(4) of the Police Act, the protesters have the right to be protected during their demonstrations.

The statement read, “In view of the threat of some police officers to clamp down on members of the Nigeria Labour Congress who have resolved to protest against hardship in the country from February 27 to 28, 2024, it is pertinent to point out that protesters are entitled to police protection. Specifically, Section 83(4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020 provides as follows:

“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 to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.”

He called on the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, to direct the various police commands in the country to protect the protesters.

Falana said, “We are compelled to call on the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that the protesters are given adequate security by the various police commands in the country. “



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