“The constitution has given us that authority” | Police commissioner continues to oppose protests

The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni has explained why the planned February 6 protest led by 2face cannot be allowed to hold.

In a chat with LIB, Owoseni said the police brought the provisions of the Constitution to the attention of the organizers of the protest.

He said, “What the police in the command has done is to bring attention of the organizers of the protest to the provision of the constitution. The constitution does allow right to freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly and the same constitution in section 45 also puts what is called restriction to the fundamental rights.”

The Police commissioner said as much as there are rights to assembly and freedom of expression, they are not absolute.

“The implication of that is that the right to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly are not absolute. The constitution has given us that authority to act when those two rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are going to affect the right and freedom of other persons and of course if they are going to affect safety, public order and security.

“We have met with the organizers of the 2face rally. The other group that also want to do pro-government rally, we have brought their attention to the provisions of the constitution and its on the bases of that that we are advising them to shelve whatever rallies as a respect to the constitution. It is not power or the take of the police commissioner to say he is banning a rally. I am not the law.

“Everything the police do is within the confines of the law. We only brought their attention to those provisions of the law and advised them to abide with the constitution.

“After seeing all the controversies surrounding what they want to do, we also have a duty to protect the rights and freedom of other persons. Since its going to affect public safety and order, it is a mandate that where every other persons want to go to work, so we have advised them on the basis of what the constitution says and that is our position”

Asked if the force would put up any resistance should the protest go ahead on Monday, Owoseni said “We believe that they are very responsible people and they will abide by the provision of that constitution that makes their rights not to be absolute to respect the rights of other citizens. We are assuring the members of the public that we would do the needful to ensure everybody goes about his or her lawful business without any injuries”.

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