The Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has warned against the blockage of roads as a form of protest in the state.
Onigbanjo said while the state recognises the rights to peaceful protests, the same cannot extend to blockage of roads including preventing other members of the public from enjoying their fundamental rights to move freely within the state.
He said this in a statement issued on Thursday ahead of a Saturday demonstration at the Lekki tollgate which is organised by some youths against the reopening of the tollgate under the control of Lekki Concession Company.
The statement read, “Our attention is drawn to the planned protest scheduled for Saturday, February 13, 2021, at the Lekki Toll Gate for and against the opening of the Admiralty Toll Gate.
“The State is aware of Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which guarantees the Rights to Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly. However, such right does not permit the violation of the Rights of other citizens in the State.
“While the State recognises the importance of exercising the Rights to Peaceful protests, same cannot extend to blockage of roads and or preventing other members of the public from enjoying their Fundamental Rights to move freely within the State.
“Any person or group with such desire to protest must also bear in mind the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Regulations 2021 which prevents any gathering beyond 50 and other safety measures including but not limited to maintaining Social Distancing and the use of face mask.
“The Attorney General hereby enjoins everyone to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 Regulations and any other extant laws in the state. The right to protest peacefully does not exempt anyone from violating laws. Any violator will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“While the state recognises the importance of exercising the Rights to Peaceful protests, same cannot extend to blockage of roads and or preventing other members of the public from enjoying their Fundamental Rights to move freely within the state.
“Furthermore, any individual or corporate body who incites or condones any act leading to the destruction of public and private properties shall be prosecuted under the extant laws and in addition to any penalty the court might pronounce such person or body will be liable to compensate for any damage which is as a result of the action or inaction of such person or body.
“The Nigeria Police is equally urged, that in responding to any protest, it should respect the rights of the citizen as guaranteed under the 1999Constitution (as amended) and carry out their duties in accordance with the law.”
It was reported that the Lagos State Police Command has said that no protest is permitted to hold on Saturday.
This is according to the state Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu who spoke during a press conference in Lagos on Thursday.