UPDATE: #BringBackOurGirls protesters demand N200 million damages as Nigeria Police reverses ban

The #BringBackOurGirls protesters had filed a suit demanding N200 million as damages from the police commissioner.

Less than 24 hours after the Abuja Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, announced a ban on all rallies relating to the kidnapped Chibok girls, and a few minutes after protesters filed a N200 million suit against him, the Nigeria Police reversed the ban.

Mr. Mbu had while addressing a press conference on Monday said “Protests on the Chibok girls are hereby banned with immediate effect.”

However, a statement on Tuesday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, faulted Mr. Mbu’s statement.
“The Police High Command wishes to inform the general public that the Force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests anywhere in Nigeria,” Mr. Mba said.

Mr. Mbu had on Monday said the ban was placed to deter dangerous persons from infiltrating the peaceful #BringBackOurGirls protest that has been going on daily in the Nigerian capital for about a month.

“Information reaching us is that too soon, dangerous elements will join groups under the guise of protest and detonate explosives aimed at embarrassing the government,’’ he had said. “As the FCT police boss, I cannot fold my hands and watch this lawlessness.”

Mr. Mba, however, said what the police issued was only an advisory.

“It (the police hierarchy) notes however that against the backdrop of current security challenges in the country, coupled with a recent intelligence report of a likely infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminal elements having links with insurgents, the Police only issued advisory notice, enjoining citizens to apply caution in the said rallies, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs,” he said.

A few hours before the police hierarchy distanced itself from the Abuja police chief, the #BringBackOurGirls protesters had challenged Mr. Mbu’s directive in court.

The protesters filed a suit in the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, against the Nigeria Police seeking N200 million in damages for banning protests in the Nigerian capital.

The protest co-coordinator, Hadiza Bala-Usman, filed the suit on behalf of the protesters, who were represented by their counsel, Femi Falana.
The group asked the court to declare the ban as illegal and unlawful.

Ms. Usman said that the Nigerian police violated the Nigerian Constitution by banning the protest and demanded that the “court restrains the Nigerian Police force from implementing this illegal ban.”

“We have drawn the attention of the fact that section 38, 39 and 40 are been violated by this ban our activities ,we are hoping to get an injunction against the police force from implementing this illegal act,” she said.

She said the protesters would not be intimidated and will continue protesting since there is a law protecting their rights to do so.
“We know our rights and we shall not be intimidated by anyone we are mindful of the fact that this is contained in our constitution we shall continue with our protest while at the same time we have filled our suit in the FCT high court,” she said.

Another protester and the Secretary General of the Women’s Right Advancement and Protection Alternative, WRAPA, Saudatu Mahdi, told journalists that what they asking for is the upholding of their “fundamental Human Rights, freedom of consciences, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as well as right to associate as guaranteed by section 38 39 and 40 of the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria”.

“We are also asking for declaration that the decision to ban protest and rallies relating to the Chibok girls is illegal unconstitutional and violates the fundamental rights in our constitution.”

The protesters asked the court to declare that Mr. Mbu is not competent to ban protests or rallies in city.

“We are asking for an order of perceptual injunction restraining him or his agents from further preventing us aggrieved Nigerians from taking part in any protest in exercise as the freedom of conscience extraction assembly. We are also asking for an order directing the respondent to pay to us the sum of N200 million as damages for the said act of violation,” Ms. Mahdi said.

Dogged protesters

After the protesters filled their suit, they proceeded from the Federal High Court to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, carrying placards with inscriptions ‘bring back our girls’. They also chanted solidarity songs with the same message.

Dino Melaye, a former Nigerian legislator, led the march.

At the NHRC, the Director of Human Rights Institute, Oti Ovrawah, addressed the protesters and assured them of redress.

“We also heard about the ban, there is no doubt that there is a right to peaceful protest as guaranteed by the constitution,” he said. “We have heard your protest and we also want our girls to come back alive, there is no doubt we are going to take this up definitely because the constitution is the bedrock of Nigeria, so go about your protest peacefully.”

It was while the protesters were at the NHRC, that Mr. Mba released his statement.

Mr. Mba said the police only issued an advisory notice asking citizens to apply caution in the protests especially in Abuja because they had information they had intelligence report of a possible infiltration by criminal elements.

Ms. Usman, reacting to the Mr. Mba’s statement, told PREMIUM TIMES that it is ironic and ridiculous that in Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police says a different thing and the Commissioner of Police says another.

“It is important for us to note that these are within the Nigerian Police Force. We have the Inspector General of Police saying a different thing and the Commissioner of Police saying another thing. We appreciate that the IG office has realized that we are protected under the Nigerian Constitution section 38, 39 and 40 which allows us to engage in peaceful processions.”

Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and counsel to the #BringBackOurGirls protesters, condemned the ban as announced by Mr. Mbu and called on the government to prosecute him for violating the constitution.

“I have made it clear to the police authority that because they have allowed Mr. Joseph Mbu to get away with a lot of illegalities in Rivers; he has now come to Abuja believing that he can continue with it.

“What Mbu did yesterday is not only illegal but contemptuous and therefore a criminal offence. We are also laying a complaint towards the Attorney General of the Federation to have Mbu prosecuted for violating the order from the Court of Appeal,” Mr. Falana said.


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  • Aderemi Adesokan Alao

    Comissioner of Police Mr. Mbu is a collaborator in the destruction of the Nigerian Police as an Instutution. The IG should immediately transfer him to Borno State to face the barbaric Boko-Haram.

    • Onyekwere

      Very correct. Since he is a tough guy his services are desperately needed in Bornu State. Please IG do Nigerians a favor redeploy Mbu to Bornu State.

    • redeem

      I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job. I cannot be in a party in which the role of one of it’s governors is not clear on the Chibok issue: this is a governor that has not been able to explain to the world why he insisted that the girls should do their exams in that school and remain in Chibok for the night even though WAEC and the Federal Government had warned them about the dangers of doing so. Fani kayode-animals

  • Thepeople

    At last Nigerians are waking up and fighting the tyranny of the police force. The Police is an institution that should know, uphold and protect the law and the constitution. But they trample on it. #MbuforBornuState.

    • Mrs. Ade

      Yeah! That is the latest. Please spread the massage #MbuforBornuState.

      • AT&T

        I concur. #MbuforBornuState.

        • redeem

          what about the governor-for Dubai abi

      • redeem

        obasanjo for borno state–not mbu whose father made it possible for u to be where u are-

    • redeem

      which tranny-mumu APC hot dog- it was not tranny when FASHOLA and tinubu used the police to block protesters over the toll gate issue in lagos–abi–look at ibo woman Oby looking for 200m fro my oil revenue-monkey

  • Dabalari

    Please our leaders need help. It is almost becoming a tradition that each time the police wants to crack down on peaceful protests (without official nod), they first unleash mayhem on protesters. Tben police comes up with intelligence reports of possible hijack by hooligans and finally a ban. Yet raw intelligence gathering which is most needed in the fight against the haramites has continued to embarrass nigerians. Why is our government always jittery. When shall our leaders learn from past mistkes?

    • walejohnson

      The confusions come from Madam Peace. She instructs Mbu. When the President or the attack dogs say one thing, Madam Peace instructs them including the President to change the idea. That is why the denials every time from Presidency. Untill we vote them out, we shall continue to experience this type of embarrassments. We only have to wake up and change things ourselves so that our children can live in peace.

      • redeem

        I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue. Wanting to use the girls to make money and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job. I cannot be in a party in which the role of one of it’s governors is not clear on the Chibok issue: this is a governor that has not been able to explain to the world why he insisted that the girls should do their exams in that school and remain in Chibok for the night even though WAEC and the Federal Government had warned them about the dangers of doing so. Flew abroad and stayed for weeks without giving thought to the missing chibok girls.Fani kayode

    • redeem

      (I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job) -Fani Kayode–was correct when he made this assertions–now APC janjaweeds wants to use the blood of the girls to steal my oil revenue in the SS–while Gordon Brown the former British Prime Minister has on his own raised over 10m dollars for the girls and other Nigerians who cannot go to school-APC -thieves

  • Anthony Igweze

    Mbu has become an embarasment to the Nigerian police force. It’s time the lG do something about this man before he does more damage to the force. Abuja is not Rivers State.

    • redeem

      I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job. I cannot be in a party in which the role of one of it’s governors is not clear on the Chibok issue: this is a governor that has not been able to explain to the world why he insisted that the girls should do their exams in that school and remain in Chibok for the night even though WAEC and the Federal Government had warned them about the dangers of doing so. Fani kayode

  • ifebuche

    Let them continue with the protest. They want 200millon Naira while we r looking for the girls. Shameless protesters. Tomorrow something will happen n u blame it on poor security. You have been warned but u prefer walking and chanting in the streets. Ndo ara.

    Oya bring on the insult. Cheap attention seekers.

    • Adeyi

      Please educate yourself with the fact that it is the duty of the police and other security agencies to give the protesters security cover as they express their fundamental rights to peacefully associate and express their feelings. Or is someone feeling threatened by their actions?

      You claim to be looking for the girls as if it wasn’t the protests that brought prominent attention to the cause, which spurred the presidency into hypocritically taking action after ‘you people’ initially thought the girls weren’t missing at all.

      • AT&T

        …and instead of providing security to #bring back our girls, CP Mbu men stood watching with fun how Hoodlums, Thugs and Miscreants attack them last week, leaving behind broken chairs and pains. Mr. Ifebuche it is people like you that are shameless and indeed not the peaceful protesters.

      • redeem

        APC thugs never mind them–most of the comments are coming from wahala

    • redeem

      I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job. I cannot be in a party in which the role of one of it’s governors is not clear on the Chibok issue: this is a governor that has not been able to explain to the world why he insisted that the girls should do their exams in that school and remain in Chibok for the night even though WAEC and the Federal Government had warned them about the dangers of doing so. Fani kayode

      • redeem

        these are APC thugs-

    • redeem

      look at a mumu Ibo man–another ABN –human are talking u sef wan open mouth–. go ask yr sister oby to look for a job-to do————is she no longer interested in the biafran cause-shameless ibo people–yr tribe men over 40 of them were killed-in Jos yet u do not care-akaluka is beheaded wetin concern-me–iBO MAN WILL SAY NA MY BROTHER–
      –but when u are sent on a useless errand that is when u vibrate like a cow under the knife of boko haram- –tomorrow u will be here to talk about biafra–less the SS-SHA——monkey

  • Shola

    When an average Nigerian thinks,it is likely irrational. So no commenter on this forum sees the hypocrisy and attention-seeking tendency in this greedy protesters? You accuse the government of corruption,yet you demand #200 million. Where will such money come from? Now I see the thief in the protesters. I see that the protest is about what you can gain.

    • Adeyi

      Talk is cheap. Exhaust it

    • redeem

      they are all sponsored by APC–sadly the comments are coming for wahala–

  • Nwa Aba #Lets Break Up Now

    Terrorist protesters are asking for N200 million, their plan was to remit the money to boko haram

  • Omo Oodua

    I have always known from the start that this protest is more political than it main objective. Are you telling me all these people protesting everyday of the week dont have jobs or personal things to attend to? And who are the people that printed the t-shirts used in this shameless protests? surely the company or companies that printed these t-shirts didnt print them for free, some politicians behind these protests must have paid for them. And now, these shameless and jobless people are asking for N200m damages, from who? I think the main objective of this stage managed protests is beginning to showcase. U think the police will allow you to continue with these protests without supervising it? And who exactly is this ugly Ezekwesilli working for? She is either working for some evil minded people like her or she is using this protest to score cheap political points. The next we will hear now is that She has be nominated as the Vice Presidential Candidate of APC. All these will never work, Jonathan has told you the bitter truth….Take your protests to boko haram to release your girls or are the protesters and their sponsors afraid to protest against Boko Haram? Why hasnt a single blame been put on the Boko Borno governor who masterminded this abduction in the first place?

    • Embee

      You are just pathetic!

    • Adeyi

      You took time to write so much and I see no content in what you wrote. Pity. This is no forum for pedestrian talk pls.

      • AT&T

        Indeed. Thank you Sir. Omo is a Fraud.

        • Omo Oodua

          What kind of fraud are u talking about moron?

      • Omo Oodua

        You cannot see any content in my write-up because you so senseless, dumb and irresponsible.

      • Concerned_9ja

        Omo Oodua took time to write some interesting points which you called pedestrian. However, you who seem so sensible haven’t made ANY point! How sad for you…next time make valid points or counter his points to show too that you have got some brains! Capsice?

    • redeem

      I cannot be in a party which appears to have politicised the whole of the Chibok issue and who are not sincere in trying to get the girls back. I cannot be in a party where a few of it’s leaders are more interested in playing politics with the whole Chibok issue and hurling bricks at our military for not doing a better job. I cannot be in a party in which the role of one of it’s governors is not clear on the Chibok issue: this is a governor that has not been able to explain to the world why he insisted that the girls should do their exams in that school and remain in Chibok for the night even though WAEC and the Federal Government had warned them about the dangers of doing so. Fani kayode

    • ifebuche

      I am with you on this one. Let them abuse here alll they want. It’s a clear issue.

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  • BlackieUmukoro

    Cursed boko haram protesters, they all are